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Old May 11th, 2008, 12:37 PM
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Default A VERY Special Day in Rome

Rome -Hop 0n-Hop Off Bus, Without the Bus
A Special Day!

Mrs. Kuki and I slept in this morning. We couldn’t have helped to have a great sleep in the luxurious bedding of the St. Regis. However, we knew the breakfast room only served until 10 AM, and we made it just in time to have a wonderful breakfast, with fabulous breads and breakfast pastries.

Then we set out to tour Rome. We did the Hop-on Hop-off Bus, but we left out the bus. We hopped on and off our feet all day; no taxis, no metro, no buses. And we covered a lot of ground! But it proved well worth the effort, and more, as we were rewarded with a spectacular accidental surprise that we’d have never stumbled across if we hadn’t just been wandering. We’d left the hotel about 10:30 AM, and we walked back into our room at 6 PM, totally exhausted, and totally delighted!

The kids had slept until much later than we did. About 1 PM I text messaged them letting them know we were at Plaza Navonna, after having already visited Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, and trekked through much of the central area of Rome. They had earlier mentioned the “best sandwich store” in Europe, which they’d read about, so I asked if they wanted to meet us there for lunch. They agreed to meet us there so Mrs. Kuki began to search for it. As we searched the kids arrived, and eventually we found the location together, but the restaurant was closed, as it was Sunday.

All of us were disappointed, but the disappointment was soon to turn to delight. The four of us stumbled around looking to choose another spot for lunch from the multitude of restaurants, cafes, bars and Trattorias available.

Our choice ended up giving us the most lovely “real Italian” afternoon. We stumbled into Trattoria Der Pallaro. It’s located at #15 and 16 on the small Largo Del Pallaro, just off of Via Dei Chiavari – which is just a bit south of the Plaza Navonna.

As we attempted to be seated we were told there’d be a 20 minute wait for a table outside. We almost walked away to try another spot, but decided we’d sit indoors.

You enter the restaurant through the cluttered, busy, and hustling kitchen, before entering the seating area. It was Sunday afternoon, and the place was busy! Soon we found out we were the only non Italians in the restaurant. The rest were locals coming for their Sunday meal out. We knew this spot had to be authentic when we saw a large table of Priests among the diners.

We spoke no Italian, and no one there spoke any English. We sat for a bit, wondering why we hadn’t even got a menu, until one of the waiters came by and made a “hmm?” sort of motion. We responded with a “mmm!” sort of motion, and before you could say “chow”, the feast began.

The first round was the presentation of a huge plate of antipasto ( prosciutto, salami, olives) as well as a bowl of cooked lentil, and some sort of potato or ground vegetable balls. It was delicious, and I could have left the table satisfied after eating just the antipastos.

But that was just the beginning… which was followed by enormous bowls of Rigatoni pasta in a cheese sauce that blew my socks off! The taste was amazing, but the portion so large I couldn’t finish it. The waiter did look at me rather oddly when I he removed the dishes, and saw I hadn’t eaten it all. I motioned that I was too full, and he smiled… because moments later he was delivering large portions of veal, along with a battered eggplant dish, and hot, freshly made crisp potato chips.

I sampled the veal and the chips, and they were outstanding, but I was already so stuffed I simply couldn’t eat any more. I was kicking myself for eating too much of the antipasto, but I had no idea we were attending an Italian Sunday Feast.

To make matters even worse, after the veal entrée, they served home-made dessert pastry.
All of this, including a large jug of wine placed on the table, a bottle of water, and two cokes cost a total of 100 Euro for the FOUR of us! That’s about $160, but without doubt the best value deal I’ve had for a meal in all the travels I can remember.

It was so delightful to experience an authentic Italian afternoon meal, in such down home ambience, in what was obviously a real Mama and Papa restaurant operation. I was just sorry there was a language barrier so I couldn’t communicate with the chef (Papa) and Mama and the rest of the family to thank them, and tell them how much we all loved the experience.

It was even more special to me because today is the last day of the vacation we’ve been sharing with my son Judd, and our future daughter-in-law Shira. Yes, once we all get home, there’s no doubt we’ll get to spend lots of time with them, but they’ll be starting new jobs, and starting new lives, and trying to settle in to what will be their lives. And we’ll be back to doing what we do in our lives.

But this, being our first “family” vacation together, will always have a very special place in my heart! We were able to forget about the stresses of day to day life at home; forget about what problems and challenges await each of us when we get home; some which we’ll share, some which we’ll all have to deal with individually. While I know there’s many, many happy moments ahead of us (because they really are two wonderful young people), sharing today’s experience will always be dear to me… with many thanks to Mario Fazi, and the family at Trattoria der Pallaro.

If you get to Rome, do your very best to visit the Fazi family. It may also turn out to be your surprising highlight of your visit to Rome.
There are pictures of our day in the Photogalleries… titled Rome.
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=4713
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Old May 11th, 2008, 01:07 PM
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It's on my list for our November trip. I can't wait! Kuki this has been a wonderful trip to follow you on, thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 01:12 PM
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I loved the tattooed Bubbe:):)
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Old May 11th, 2008, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: A VERY Special Day in Rome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
Mrs. Kuki and I slept in this morning. We couldn’t have helped to have a great sleep in the luxurious bedding of the St. Regis.
Hi Kuki,

We know what you mean about the St. Regis. We stayed at the one in Dana Point, California a few weeks ago. What a great line of lodging they are.

I (Phil) was in Rome on Veterans weekend 1988 and really enjoyed it.
They were "making Cardinals" that day at St. Peters....lots of red smoke then a sea of red hats and robes came out of the doors and into the square.

I remember eating a wonderful meal at a little restaurant in Catania, Sicily, with all courses and beer/wine/water for less than $10 USD !!!
Load up my man !!! Its not often you get to eat liek that for so little $$.


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Old May 11th, 2008, 06:32 PM
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Oh Kuki,
All that food sounds, to die for, enjoy it....There goes the diet :-)
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Old May 11th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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Ahh, the memories of Italy and the wonderful food! :-) Enjoyed your post and while the sightseeing is great, the food is to die for, awesome!

Thanks for the details, great reading and I can almost taste the food!
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Old May 12th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Thanks for the travelogue, Kuki. I've so enjoyed your posts about this wonderful trip..... these are indeed the memories you will cherish for a lifetime.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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Great job thanks a lot. Mike
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Old May 12th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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What a wonderful day for you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

Laura
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