Rome, Pesaro and Venice travelogue.
Holiday in Rome, Pesaro and Venice
This is the travel diary from a two weeks holiday in Italy, June 2007. We spent five days in Rome, five days in Pesaro on the Adriatic coast and four days in Venice.
Being your own travel agent allows you to do as you please, and cheap flights and hotels were booked well in advance via the Internet.
We arrive to Rome
Saturday June 9th, 2007
The Leonardo express from the airport arrives to Termini at 12:10. We'll stay in Rome for five days, before the trip continues to Pesaro and Venice on the Adriatic coast. Hotel Domus Nova Bethlem is within walking distance on Via Cavour. We check in and go out for lunch.
Pursued by president Bush
There are cops in battledress everywhere near the Santa Maria Maggiore church. The carabinieri in black with bullet-proof vests and submachine guns give me the creeps. What is going on?
An electronic sign by a bus stop provides the answer: President Bush is in Rome. Why does he pursue us? Last summer he followed us to Budapest.
We find a café with a view to the impressive church. Teams of carabinieri drop in and have coffee by the bar. They have nothing to do and probably kill time comparing batons. In a sense you feel very secure (show me the pickpocket who'd work here), but on the other hand breaking wind could make you a terrorist suspect.
Retreat from the front
More buses spew their cargo of more battle-ready cops, and with no sudden movements we retreat towards Piazza d. Madonna dei Monti where Bush and his successors are unlikely to come in this interglacial period.
The old Monti district has true Roman atmosphere; painted houses with shutters, streets with cobblestones, workshops and small shops. It is hot now, and at about three we home for siesta. We were up early and are tired.
The receptionist asks if I speak Italian. I answer: "Un pocino" (a bit), and then he says that the street doors will be closed for some hours, because a demonstration will pass by. He apologizes, but it can be a bit dangerous. I feel like saying something about the American president, but answer that it does not matter, because it is siesta time. "Ah, siesta!", he says enviously.
Sleep comes quickly. At five I wake up to a distant noise. The hotel has windows facing Via Cavour, and the demonstration is passing. It looks like a mix of a giant party and a carnival. Of course there are banners and slogans, but also open trucks playing music with a tail of dancing people behind.
Click for larger image
A Danish lady by the window asks, if I am the guy who spoke Italian with the receptionist. I confirm this and don't point to the fact that the receptionist did most of the talking. To the ladies he had explained in poor English that there would be "a strike".
It takes the demonstration more than an hour to pass, and it makes Aalborg's carnival ("The biggest in Northern Europe") look like a kindergarten birthday party. Armoured vehicles and carabinieri in ordered ranks form the rear guard.
Supper at Ristorante La Carbonara
Ristorante La Carbonara is recommended in a Danish book about restaurants in Rome. It is in the neighbourhood, so we pop in and make a reservation for later. I know from experience that "Bentzen" is an utterly impossible word for Italians, so when the waiter asks what name to write, I say: "Petersen". He writes "Petersson", and that is close enough.
We have a glass of wine at La Piazzetta at Piazza d. Madonna dei Monti. Here is a dense Roman atmosphere. The locals go for their passegiata (promenade), meet, talk and have a drink. Tourists are outnumbered. We say cheers and "Down with the cold!", because Helle has hardly recovered from the cold she caught a few days ago.
At La Carbonara we are seated by a small table. Water and fresh bread is served at once. We order spaghetti carbonara as first course and thinly sliced beef in balsamico sauce as second. With this green asparagus, a tomato salad and the house red.
The spaghetti is good and the beef piquant, although the sauce is a bit too vinegar-sharp for our taste. The green asparagus are (s)boiled softer than the spaghetti, which is food vandalism. The bill says 52 €.
The evening is warm and velvety as we walk home.
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