The challenge of driving into Rome and finding the address of the apartment was significant.  The combination of the car GPS and Google maps on the cell phone got us in the vicinity.  Traffic was nuts.  Scooters and motorcycles fly by within inches on either side.  Somehow they zip between cars  and then abruptly cut in front of you. We knew we were close to the apartment so took the first space we found on a quiet side street.  Marcia directed effort from the curb.  It took at least 7 forward/backward moves to finally park it.  There was a most 6 inches in the front and 6 inches in the back. Even after we were parked the alarms for being too close in the front and in the rear were ringing loudly.  (Once parked I figured out how to turn off the alarms.) It was a big relief to have the car parked so we could find the doors to the apartment and get settled.

On our first outing we headed to the Spanish steps.  Since the girls had done some homework in the morning, we ran into the big afternoons crowds around the fountain at the base of the step. It was a beautiful day.  Since we were not to be in Rome very long, on the first day we decided to take a double-decker bus that allows you to hop on and hop off at 10 or so stops around the city.  They gave us earphones to allow us to listen information about what we could see at the various stops.  After several stops, the people who had the front seats on the second level departed.  The girls jumped to move to the front seats.  Marcia and I followed and enjoyed the 270 degree view.  The sun went in and it started to drizzle, making it a chilly ride.  The previous afternoon had been sunny in the ’70s, so the cold was not welcome. We had hoped we had left the cold behind.

Panoramic view from the top of the Spanish Steps

When I saw a Burger King sign, I suggested we go for some classic American food.  It was in part a gesture to the girls, but there was some self-interest involved as well.  It was a hoot eating amongst a crowd of Italians in a Burger King.  I think we were the only ones in the place whose native language was not Italian. There were families with kids and couples on a date. In the second floor dining room almost every seat was full.

Ella always asks for catsup and the rest of us use too much salt so I had to return to the counter and ask for catsup and salt.  The girl at the counter said the catsup was 10 cents a packet.  With .5 eur we had 5 packets.  The salt was free.

Our second day coincided with the Rome Marathon. From the website we learned the runners were to pass directly in front of our apartment.

It was quite a scene with a continuous flow of thousands of runners.  From where we were standing I could not get a decent shot of the runners because of the strong sunlight.  The runners were backlit and it wasn’t until much later that I got to position to obtain a picture that you could actually see the runners.  As time passed the pace of the runners slowed and we headed back up to our fourth floor apartment (fifth floor in the US  because our first floor is floor is zero, not first).  DSCN1578After a quick snack we headed out to lunch. It was a challenge to get to the restaurant because we had to cross race course several times. Nevertheless, we arrived at Ba’Ghetto to have a grilled dish for two.  Excellent preparation.  As a late appetizer we had their speciality a grilled artichoke.

After the meal, the kids were not up for the museum that Marcia wanted to see. So we walked to a bridge that crossed the Tiber River.  We took the stairs that led to the river level on the island between the banks of the river.  There were a lot couples relaxing in the sun.  We walked the full circle around the island.  We sat for 15 minutes and watched the river.

When we walked back up to the bridge, there were the usual individuals selling knock off Prada and high end purses.  I made the mistake of being too obvious when looking at purses while walking by.  The salesman was polite when I shook my head to signal, no. No sooner than passed the another individual with purses for sale, two guys ahead of us who had been selling jewelry and purses gathered the sheets on which their goods were placed. With all their goods quickly scooped up, they ran to the edge of the bridge and tossed their goods over.  Then they disappeared as they ran off the bridge.  The were motivated by the presence of uniformed and plainclothes police.  The below picture shows the police below the bridge gathering up the goods.  We were not sure what motivated the police; selling without a license, failure to collect tax, or trafficking counterfeit goods.