Tuesday, May 05, 2009


So, Friday was the day that we left the Costieria Amalfitana and headed back to Rome.
Boo Boo was sad to be leaving the Hotel Santa Caterina, especially since "cat" is in its name. He felt very at home.

But, before making the drive back we did decide to stop off in Positano for a quick jaunt while the weather was cooperating...

It was a beautiful day, and Positano is lovely. Not only is the village scenic, but it's also a great place to do a little shopping! I picked up a fab hat for the Mom and I also scored a handmade pair of ballet flats!

After leaving Positano we hit the A1 and started our journey back. Unfortunately it rained most of the way, but that didn't stop the Husband from trying to get the Mondeo wagon up to Le Mans speeds. Thankfully, I was asleep for most of that.

Once we managed to navigate back in to Rome we had to find our way to our new hotel, the Villa Spaletti Trivelli. Yowzers. It's a nice place, but its in kind of a weird location on the Via Piacenza. Apparently (near the President's house in the Quirinale) this is a nice neighborhood... as one of our cab drivers sighed "Mamma Mia!" when we gave him the address, it is a bit out of the way. I liked the location of the Inn at the Spanish Steps better.

But, more on the hotel. Okay, so it's in this palazzo. The building, rooms and furnishings are all gorgeous. You really do feel like your staying in someone's home. Someone's very fancy home, where being made to "feel at home" feels more like you're going to get in trouble before your stay is over for having broken something or left a drink ring on the nightstand.

When we arrived we were running late... we had a 4pm meeting with our tour guide from Context Tours (for our private guided tour of the Colosseum and Forum) well, we arrive and we attempt to communicate this to the girl at the reception desk (noting that, the Husband SPEAKS ITALIAN)... yeah, she was having none of it. We're trying to get her to call Context for us while we go up to our room to freshen up (and raid the mini-bar since we hadn't had lunch...) and she just is focused on taking away our passports, filing out some sort of paperwork because we brought the rental car into the "restricted" traffic zone and some other such nonsense. She tells us, "yes, you can call your appointment once you get to your room".... thanks! We know, but we want you to call our appointment NOW! Okay, finally we get to our room, wolf down a bag of potato chips, jar of biscotti and two cokes (the mini bar is complementary...) we're ready to get to the forum. Well... easier said than done. Will the receptionist order us a taxi? Not until we park our own car. Apparently, the folks at the Villa will only direct you to their parking lot (which is in the garden of the villa), they won't actually park your car. Why? Well, because the gate to the garden is a bit too small for most cars. I found this out the hard way.

While the Husband was talking to Context on the phone, I go outside to the car. The receptionist and the bellman are both trying to tell me how I have to go around the block to get to the car park. I'm thinking... the gate to the car park is 10 feet behind where my car is and I'm on a one way street with no traffic. I'm not going around the block! I've lived in Manhattan! I'm backing this piece-of-crap up!! Fine. The two Italians wave me backwards. I go to pull through the gate. I've got the bellman trying to give me directions.... and then I hear the scraping sound. Most of the Mondeo made it through the gate. It was the back passenger door and wheel well that didn't fare as well. All I can say is...That's why we get the zero deductible!

The bellman directs me to put the car in the corner of the garden... done, and off we are in a cab to the forum.

At the forum we met Saskia, our tour guide from Context. Saskia had just finished her PhD in Archaeology and she had even done work at Pompei! She was very knowledgeable and she gave a great tour. The Forum is a really neat place, but without doing major research on your own, or visiting with someone who knows the site you really are just standing and staring at a big pile of rubble. I highly recommend Context. The tours can be a bit pricey but it's great to get to visit these types of sites with someone who really knows their stuff and can actually cater the tour to your interests and answer detailed questions (in advance of our visit the Husband had sent many detailed questions...) and more than a couple of times during our two hours there were other people trying to listen in! :)

After our tour was done we walked around a bit and even caught sight of a couple of brides/wedding parties doing their wedding photos at the Colosseum.
Then it was back to the Villa to freshen up before dinner.
Again, it was an adventure with the rental car. This time, upon entering the hotel... (which, by the way, you have to ring a bell in order to be let in.... a bit too exclusive for my tastes!) the Husband was taken aside and asked to MOVE the rental car! (Yes, we need to move it from where they told me to put it because another guest was expected to arrive later that evening and they wanted our parking space). Okay, I really don't care where the hell the Mondeo is parked, but can you explain to me why the hotel staff didn't retain our car keys and just move the damn car as they needed? (Yes, I'm sure it has to do with their level of liability insurance, but COME ON! When we were in Amalfi Antonio at the hotel had our car keys and would pull the car up for us whenever we needed it-- even if he only had to move it like 5 feet each time! Not to mention that there our car was the lamest one-- there were Maserati, BMWs, Porsche... but still, Antonio didn't seem to mind... we were never once asked to move our own car! Once we gave it to them it was like it didn't exist until we asked for it again! They even laundered the car seat after the wild-boar-mcnugget vomit incident (god knows how much that cost us!)) ANYWAY!
After the Husband moved the car we chilled out for a bit and then went down to the Campo dei Fiori for dinner. It was a lovely evening, after which we strolled around to the Piazza Navona to check out the fountains and finally cabbed it back to the Villa.

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