Thursday, October 25, 2012

ROME, DAY ONE .........

In Which the Travelin' Lundburys Get Lost, and Then Get CRANKY!

After a few delays and two looong days of traveling, we are finally in Rome!

Our flight from Seattle to New York was great--right on time and quite uneventful.  We landed at JFK  airport 40 minutes early, and had a 4 hour layover---or so we thought.

After a 4 1/2 hour flight,  we thought a nice walk was in order so we set off to explore the airport and find a nice restaurant for a relaxing late lunch/dinner.  Hmmmmmm-the options at JFK are very limited.   We finally chose a small bistro and had a very mediocre dinner of Kobe Hamburgers for the guys and a Pastrami and Kim Chee Sauerkraut sandwich for me.  Our taste buds weren't exactly delighted, but our tummies were full,  and our wallets were lighter!

We headed back to our gate and settled in to wait for our flight to Rome.  After several announcements  and a gate change we were finally told our flight was to depart at 10 pm-almost 3 hours late.  It was a long 7 hours at JFK, and then an 8 1/2 hour flight to Rome.  We were very happy when we finally landed Italy, it was sunny and 74 degrees!

After a nice 40 minute drive to the old historic area of central Rome we arrived at our apartment and met our friendly greeter, Mr. Louis.  He gave us a brief tour and collected the rent for our 5 night stay.  We're very happy with our apartment, which is in a great location just a couple of (very convoluted) blocks from the Pantheon.  We have two roomy bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living dining area, and a tiny, but adequate kitchen.  The only downside:  4 steep, winding flights of stairs--no elevator.   Maybe we'll work off some of that pizza and pasta!

At this point Matt had been up for 48 hours with very little sleep, so he took a 1 1/2 hour "power nap" while  Dave and I unpacked and organized.  Matt woke rested and refreshed, and we were ready to hit the streets and explore a bit. Our plan was to find our way to a supermarket and buy some groceries for a few meals.

Before leaving the apartment I carefully marked on our map the location of our apartment, and as we walked we even noted a few landmarks so we'd to know exactly where to turn on our way back.  If only I'd been like Hansel and Gretel and left a trail of breadcrumbs.............

Mr. Louis had given us (vague) directions to a large supermarket "Carrefour", gesturing in a slightly westerly direction, and assuring us it was only 100-105 meters from the Pantheon.  Well, we walked and walked,  stopping several times to ask for directions.  My Italian must be rusty, because no one seemed to know where the Carrefour was, and instead directed us to Despar Market.  After several blocks, we still had not found ANY supermarket, let alone Carrefour or Despar.  We were beginning to feel just a wee bit frustrated...........maybe a touch of jet-lag setting in?

We found a nice small sidewalk cafe, and decided we'd relax for a few minutes, have a nice cold beer, and consult our maps.  While we were sitting and gazing about--we spotted a small sign RIGHT NEXT DOOR to our cafe:  Despar Market!  Feeling a little foolish and much relieved, we finished our drinks and managed to get next door to Despar without getting lost again!

Grocery shopping was great--we stocked up on fresh pasta and sauce, cheese, yummy Italian hard salami, a head of that delicious romanesco, and even a small carton of fresh brussell sprouts, Matt's favorite.  Throw in some yogurt for breakfast, and a nice loaf of bread and a bottle of wine, and we are set for a few days of meals.

Back out to those windy, narrow streets of Rome, where we once again consulted our map.  By now it was dark, and we were having trouble reading the teeny tiny print on the map.

I'll spare you the many gory details, but just picture 3 tired, extremely jet-lagged, cranky, snarling travelers wandering those lovely narrow winding streets in the dark, lugging heavy bags of groceries, making wrong turn after wrong turn............

After wrong turn #27 or so, we found ourselves in a nice piazza (plaza or square) on a somewhat major street.  While Matt and David were trying (in vain) to read our worthless map and figure out our location, I spied the most BEAUTIFUL sight of the day:  a taxi stand!

Problem solved!  We "cried uncle" and plopped our very tired, jet-lagged selves in a taxi, gave the driver our address, and sat back while he used his GPS to navigate the confusing maze! Several blocks and many turns later,  he pulled right up to our small street.   We piled out and gratefully paid him 6 Euros--worth every penny and then some!

We lugged our groceries up those 4 flights of stairs, unlocked our door and sighed a huge sigh of relief to be "home" at last!  We quickly put away our groceries and prepared our first meal in Rome, slices of crusty bread, cheese, yummy Italian salami, a sliced apple and a glass of red wine. We enjoyed every bite, all the while chatting about our eventful day.  And, yes, we did have a good laugh at ourselves for getting so lost and cranky!

Tomorrow in Rome:  We don't have a set itinerary, but will probably include a visit to the Pantheon,  exploring the Trastevere area, and maybe even a visit to the Capuchin Crypts.

And I'm sure we'll get lost!

Stay tuned......


  1. Fourth time is a charm? my comment keeps disappearing rather than posting---The adventures in Rome for the three of you have begun. It sounds like your first outing may have been more than you bargained for but it ended with a great sounding dinner---quick, easy and red wine. We will be watching to see what comes next.

  2. Whew, looks like fourth time was the charm! Hope your second day is going well.

  3. Hello Di - I've been waiting for your post. Hope things have settled down and that you all were able to get some rest. Sounds like a frantic first day.... I am finally home and settled. Went out today and bought myself an espresso machine - it's a long story but will tell you when you return. Orofino was wonderful - I added three new birds to my "bucket list." I missed you before your left but we will share stories when you return. I hope you have a fabulous trip and enjoy the time with Matt and Dave - you are blessed with a wonderful family. I look forward to your posts and pictures. Hugs from Spudville to all.