After our train stopping for an hour and a half due to fire on the tracks, I arrived in Rome around 730pm. I quickly found a taxi (taxi stands are well marked in Rome) and made my way to the convent where I would be staying. Did you know that there are certain orders of nuns that have a mission of hospitality? There are quite a few that have “bed and breakfast” type hotels to encourage people to come to Rome. They are very inexpensive to stay at and the care and attention you receive is unparalleled. You have to sacrifice a little…..watching tv in a communal room instead of your room. They have great WiFi. My Sisters, whose mother House is in Madrid, we’re mostly from Puerto Rico and a few had even lived in Miami. I really can’t tell you just how loving and helpful they were. I will definitely visit again. Here are pictures of my room.
Each morning, when you enter the breakfast dining room, there is a table with your room number. It’s already set with dishes, coffee cup bread basket (sweet croissant and hard roll). On the buffet was fruit, yogurt, cereal, juices, tomatoes, coffee and tea. More than enough to get you going for a day of touring. In the background there is a tv softly playing Christian 🎶 music. There were families from Spain and France visiting while I was there.
For my first full day I had booked two experiences. The first of which was “Must have pictures of Rome and walk tour”. Renato gave the tour and he was very knowledgeable. He is a professional photographer as well and took pictures of me and the other gentleman on the trip. This was a great bonus for someone traveling alone. Back to the tour…. we met at Piazza Campidoglio, where he explained the history of each of the buildings and showed us how each was from a different period in the history of Rome. I especially liked hearing about the recycling of the columns inside the church. Each pair was from someplace different. We also visited the ruins behind the government building and the monument to the unknown soldier. Continued below the pictures…
Next, we walked through some back alleys and around the Jewish Ghetto. We crossed the bridge onto the island with the 2 hospitals and then into Trastevere (which I seem to have a mental block pronouncing). Renato took us for coffee and it was obvious this area means a lot to him. It was a great tour and I recommend it. We three parted friends and with his permission and credit , I will post his pictures this weekend (here and instagram). If you would like to try it, I found his tour on Airbnb experiences.
I found a little place for lunch and had pizza, something that usually wreaks havoc on my blood sugar, but I’m walking so much things went well. For the better part of the afternoon I wandered, just taking it all in.
Next up was another Airbnb experience. This time “Grandma Sauce, a cooking experience ” . This experience was with Andrea at his loft and we had a blast. He has crafted an out door kitchen and dining area on his rooftop that was incredible. His love of cooking and the ingredients is evident right away. There were two couple and myself. The couples were from Northern Virginia and North Carolina. We learned to make 2 sauces, meatballs and how to use them….a gnocchi bake, over meatball, and over pasta. If you look at our picture, it’s obvious how much fun we had! Please look Andrea’s experience when you come to Rome, you’ll love it.
One of my random discoveries before going to cooking classs was a cat rescue. Rome is filled with cats, so their work is appreciated and needed.
When I got back to the convent that night, Sister was waiting for me with a ticket to the Papal audience the next morning. I was so excited I could barely sleep!
And that’s it for this day! Tomorrow, my experience with the Papal audience.