We are having a great time. The afternoon of our arrival, we had our first tour of the city. It was basically an overview until we got to the Coliseum and Roman Forum. Our tour ended at the Pantheon but there was a service going on, so we couldn't go in. The Pantheon is right next to our hotel, so we can try again.
We met our tour guide and driver in the lobby. We went to the catacombs and Appian Way. That was really interesting to me since I had never done either. Our guide took us to lunch in the Jewish ghetto. I learned that "ghetto" is not a "bad"word after all. I've always equated that with "slums."
We just let our guide choose the food. We had fried artichokes, fried zucchini flowers (reminiscent of what our grandmother used to make) and a couple of different pastas. We really enjoyed that.
After lunch, our tour continued on foot. We went to the Trevi Fountain---which was disappointing to me. I had already been there, but this time, it was so crowded, you could barely move. Joyce and I opted not to fight the crowd to get down to the fountain. After a brief stop there, we got in line at the best gelato place. That was quite chaotic too. You pay first and then join the masses trying to get their cones. This is one place where you really have to be aggressive. I'd say at least 10 people shoved ahead of me. Our tour guide waved to the servers and said something in Italian an aggravated way. I sorta think that made the server madder as he continued to overlook me. But I finally got my cone---pistacio and black cherry with pane (cream). It was really good---and I'm not a huge fan of gelato. Next time I'm getting the amaretto. I had a taste of Jennifer's and it was the best.
We ended our walking tour at Piazza Navonne. As I recalled, it was one of my favorite places to have a drink and enjoy the local craftsmen. It was packed. We had our drinks, but I was very unhappy to find that my diet Coke cost the same as the local beer---5 Euros!!
Last night we went to dinner at a place that Jennifer's friend recommended. The food was delicious, but the man that served us was just plain rude. I don't think that's ever happened to me before in Italy. I usually always find people very nice and friendly. We had the feeling that they wanted us to eat and go so they could turn the table. Still, the food was worth it. We got a couple of salads to share and 3 different pastas to share. We had learned our lesson the day before as the portions were so huge. This time the servings were average. We contemplated ordering more food, but decided not to.
Here's what I've learned so far:
1. We need to designate one person to be the picture taker for the group. We're going to have 5000 photos. Plus, personally, I think it's rude to ask someone to take our picture and then hand them 4 cameras. The girls are telling me to "chill out" about that.
2. The twins---Janice and Jennifer---could never live together. The rest of us are getting along fine with our roommates. Jennifer has suggested we switch up already!! I said it might be fun to put all 7 names in a hat and see who you get. Janice said she's too used to living alone and didn't like water splashed on the vanity. Jennifer said she was the one who "did" it! Those twins. Somehow, they've intertwined their money too. They always did that as kids, but I have no idea how they are keeping it straight now. It's hilarious to watch them.
3. The money part is going well. I collected 200 Euros from each of the sisters to cover combined expenses---tips, some meals and cab rides.
4. I've learned that none of my sisters know what a pashmina is! My girls and I can't live without them! I tie one on to my purse when traveling and always have it if needed. I also learned that if you loan it to your sister in Italy, she's going to get spaghetti sauce on it. I already had to do laundry!
5. If you order a "big" beer, you get a "BIG" beer!
Off to Pompei today!