Category: Rome


Roaming around Rome

Being a Gemini, my world is comprised of two opposing forces: one that knows I have to get the job done and one that just likes to have fun. You can read more about my writing life and other musings on my writer’s blog. But here … we travel, meet amazing people, eat great food, drink tantalizing wine and eat the best chocolate you will find anywhere on the planet. So … on to the next adventure.

It’s hard for me to write this post as it is the final jaunt on last fall’s tasting extravaganza. What a trip that was! Virginia and I had spent 2 weeks making our way through Holland, Spain and Italy in search of the best chocolate. And then we had one day in Rome before flying back across the pond to Canada.

Good thing she’s organized! We managed to do a whirlwind tour of the Coloseum, Venice Square, the Fountain of Trevi, the Spanish Steps, the Vatican and St. Peter’s Square. Whew! It’s amazing how we managed to at least see all of those landmarks in a mere 7 hours!

So I won’t get into any kind of analysis here on those. And as you know, my mind is primarily fed by the sensual pleasures of food, wine and chocolate. Historic landmarks might be nice to see, but for me, do not a visit make.

Rome is great for daytripping. You can leave your luggage at the train station for a fairly reasonable fee. It cost us 15 euros each to store 3 bags each for roughly 7 hours. But beware! They only take cash for this service. No credit cards.

The Coloseum was remarkably close (via The Metro) to the train station, and after getting rejuvenated with yet another amazing Italian meal, we strolled down Via Di S. Gregorio and happened upon Biodomenica, an organic farmer’s market with so many wonderful local things to taste.

your tastebuds can’t help but be tempted at Biodomenica

After retrieving our luggage, we took the airport train from the Central train station to the airport. We conveniently had booked the Rome Airport Hilton Hotel which is connected to the airport terminal by moving sidewalks, so as tired and loaded down with luggage as we were … we managed to get to the Hilton where we could crash for the night and rise early for our overseas flight. They have a good restaurant on-site, and the rooms are spacious and comfortable. Highly recommended if your flight times are less than convenient as ours were.

Please share your thoughts on Rome and this post.  And please join us back here the week of March 28th, when we’ll discover some amazing chocolate makers in Florida. You’ll be surprised. The Old World has trained the New World well, just as with wine makers. New and innovative can be equally as enticing as tried and true.

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Since I’d rather be tasting (chocolate, wine, great cuisine …) than typing while overseas — and can you blame me? … I’m posting the end of the month entry now, and will post again after October 5th, on my return.

Quite a few of you have asked for details about our itinerary. There are a few small details still being ironed out, but here are the confirmed stops we’re looking forward to:

September 20: Fly via British Airways from Toronto to London, and on to Amsterdam. We’ll be staying at the Hotel King’s Villa, a Hampshire Classic Hotel, from Sept 21 until the morning of September 24th. Check out the hotel at: http://www.kingsvillahotel.nl. We’ll be meeting plenty of chocolate makers and discovering the sweet side of this fair city.

September 24th, we fly via Iberia Airlines from Amsterdam to Barcelona. I’ve flown Iberia before and had no complaints. In fact, their business class is awesome! And a 2-hour flight beats 16 hours on the train when you have limited time to play with. Barcelona will be a real treat.  We’re staying at the amazing W Barcelona, one of Starwood’s chic new hotels.  It doesn’t get any better than this. http://www.w-barcelona.com/. A couple of days in Barcelona will give us time to check out the Chocolate Museum, meet a prominent chocolate maker and have some fun.

September 26 will be a day of transition, as we make our way from Spain to Turin, Italy, the birthplace of  hot chocolate and the Italian city that most strongly identifies itself with chocolate. Take a look here and tell me it doesn’t look inviting: http://www.turismotorino.org/interna.aspx?idA=47.

On Sept 29 we head south to Tuscany. We’ll be staying in and around Florence for a couple of days, and then head to Pisa for a chocolate festival called Dolcemente. Looking forward to discovering Pisa and enjoying the hospitality at the NH Cavalieri, an “NH Hotel.” I’m not familiar with this chain, but it certainly looks welcoming and well-situated, as it’s close to the train station and also the site of the festival . Take a look at: http://www.nh-hotels.com/nh/en/hotels/italy/pisa/nh-cavalieri.html?action=search&type. If the rest of Pisa’s residents are as friendly as those I’ve met so far via e-mail, I know it will be an amazing visit.

Then on to Rome on October 3rd for a quick day of discovery before flying home to Canada. We’re looking forward to the convenience of the Rome Airport Hilton as our flight leaves at 8 am the next day and it will be great to have a short walk to the terminal instead of trying to fight traffic getting to the airport. There’s no doubt we’ll be sharing a “Goodbye Europe” toast in the hotel’s bar shown on this page: http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/ROMAPTW-Hilton-Rome-Airport-hotel/index.do.

Back to Toronto and on to Winnipeg on Oct 4th. We’ll be thinking about you, and wish that you could all be along with us as we take the next installment of the Chocolatour.

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