Europe 5 – A Roma 

A two hour flight takes all day, of course, or at least well into the evening. Within thirty minutes of landing in Italy, I know two things. At the airport (!) an espresso costs €1.10. Also, these people have completely recovered from fascism – our train was late. Well, cancelled, more accurately, so we got on the next one, the Leonardo Express, which then sat in the station for fifteen minutes, including three public announcements advising those who did not wish to travel that it was time to leave the train.

Everything was very modern and clean, however, including the 2D bar code on the tickets that checked us in through the turnstiles. Why, therefore, twelve seconds after we left the platform a conductor came and punched two holes in everyone’s ticket – without once glancing at them – I do not know. Perhaps he was charged with checking whether, despite the three announcements, anyone somehow remained on the train without having formed an intention to travel.

Our instructions for our apartment, at Via del Pellegrino 105, involved collecting the keys from the café at Pellegrino 87. At Barnum Café no-one knew anything about it, for a moment, but eventually found the envelope. Asked whether, to find number 105, we should walk west or east along the way, the barwoman was again nonplussed, but helpfully came out with us to look at the numbers, going up the street on one side and down on the other, so that we could all shrug our shoulders together.

Eventually, of course, the universe fell into order. Dinner was pizza and pasta in Campo de’ Fiori, five minutes walk away. The boys took less time than that to declare prosciutto a very poor substitute for Barossa Fine Foods Gypsy Ham and the Romans not a patch on their father where making a decent pizza is concerned. They must have been disappointed, because they both ate my all’amatriciana, a rare excursion into the unknown.

The family all safely put to bed, I snuck out again for a walk. It’s Saturday, so the campo was pumping, and so was the south bank of the Tiber for quite some distance. I made it all the way down to the Ponte Sublicio and back along the north bank to Campo de’ Fiori at midnight. An interesting detour through the Jewish quarter, full of kosher restaurants and tables of families out late.


5 responses to “Europe 5 – A Roma ”

  1. So wonderful to see you dining in the Campo Di Fiori – we were staying in the Jewish quarter sept last year, so this is “our patch”. Was about to tell you to find the church of Sant’ Angelo in Pescheria – built on the C13th fish market site (on which our apartment looked out) – and walk right around the Teatro Marcello next door to see the modern windows built high up into the ancient stones (I still haven’t discovered if people Actually Live there. I like to think they do), but then I remembered I am reading this after the fact, and you have moved on.

    1. Nick Fryer Avatar
      Nick Fryer

      Thanks, Seals. Any tips for Paris or Berlin would still be in time, and enthusiastically received.

      1. Paris : visit La Musée de Magique in the Marais and when you buy your entry ticket buy also for “le spectacle” if you can — the magic show. It is little and sweet and great fun. Interactive.

        Our boys adored the Musée de l’Armé (it’s big) – we went twice and only saw two wings plus napoleon’s tomb.

        They also loved the Musée du Moyen Age (metro stop is Cluny Sorbonne).

        I’d suggest Musée d’Orsay over the Louvre.

        And the Rodin museum was great. We invested in the audio guides, and the kid’s audio guide for the ten year old, who loved it.

        If you are planning lots of museums and galleries get the museum pass (check what is included)

        Check if there are visiting exhibitions — we never got to the Eiffel Tower but spent half a day in the Hergé exhibition at the Grand Palais that we only learned of from metro posters once we arrived.

        Download the Next Stop Paris app, for how to get where you want from where you are via metro.

        If you want grass to run around, etc, go to the Luxembourg Gardens. Nice description here (scroll down a bit):

        Our other Paris tip is not walk 1.1km to get THE baguette from THE boulangerie the blog post recommended. Just go to the nearest place that doesn’t look like a tourist trap 😉
        But I bet you’ve worked that out by now.

  2. PS if nothing else, download the app, and do the magic museum.

    1. Nick Fryer Avatar
      Nick Fryer

      Many thanks. Will take a look.

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