Thursday, May 25, 2023

May 9, 2023 – Rome, Italy – Mostly Sunny – 75F

Today is the exact opposite of yesterday – beautiful sunny skies, no wind, and no rain.

The room was quiet but the cleaning crew gets in early so we get up when they start cleaning.

We went up to breakfast at around 7:30 AM again and this time, there were hardly any people up there.  I wanted to try something different today, so I asked the cook for two pancakes and two eggs over medium.  The pancakes were made earlier and microwaved to heat them up.  The pancakes were still soft and tasty post waving (when I do this, the pancakes don’t always come back to life).  The syrup available was imported from Canada and was really good.  

While the pancakes and eggs were in progress, I had my bowl of cornflakes, strawberries, and milk (still yummy).  I can’t do this at home because we don’t have any milk in the house. The pancakes and eggs were great, and the coffee was, again, excellent.  Simply a great breakfast.  You can even make your own mimosas using Prosecco and orange juice (passed on that).

Our plan to day is to use the hop-on-hop-off bus to take us to the Jewish Ghetto, where we will have another wonderful kosher meal (most likely a hamburger), and also check out what has happened to that area of Rome over the last several years. Here's where we want to go.

Ellen had recalled that Stop 5 was the best option for the Ghetto. Stop 5 is Teatro Marcellus and Monument Vittoria Emanuel II and from our past walking experiences, those are good access points.  And, besides, Ellen is always right. 

We used a different route to get to the bus stop today going down the second street from the Courthouse – that put us on a diagonal which ended up at the Castel Sant’Angelo.  

We went across the bridge (full of kids again today) and we were there.  Much shorter.

We caught the brown line bus today (the two lines have pretty much the same stops in a slightly different order) and our stop is still No. 5.

Sat on the top level because it was covered and took some more pictures on our way to our stop.  We got off at No. 5 and crossed a multi-laned street to the Teatro Marcello.

The Teatro, which looks like a mini-Colosseum (and may have been an inspiration for the larger structure, is actually the start of an archeological dig that ultimately leads to the Jewish Ghetto (it all came back to me).  The dig contains such interesting structures as The Roman Temple of the Portico D’Ottavia.  Before the first Century CE, this was a popular passageway in Rome.  Emperor Augustus named the area after his sister Ottavia.

We also passed by the Chiesa di Santangelo in Pescheria, so named because of its location next to the ancient fish market in the Portico.  Shots of the Chiesa are below.

I also got a nice picture of the Portico as we made our way to the entrance to the Ghetto.

We found ourselves in a sea of school kids visiting the archeological site and went up a small ramp to the level of the Ghetto. 

The place was saturated with diners – perhaps it was the time of day – near lunch.  

The food looked interesting, and the prices were not crazy, but we were really looking for something a little less formal.  At the end of the Ghetto main street, we found Fonzie the Burger House, the burger place we had eaten at five years ago.  The menu had some more items on it and we planned to come back here a little later in the day.

Across the street from Fonzies was a new place – a spa – “Sum Up” - that offered esthetic services including a Thai Massage Special at 45 Euros for an hour.  Michelle, the owner, indicated that the special was no longer available and quoted a price of 80 Euros.  We told her that that was pricier than back home, and she said she would charge us 60 Euros a piece for an hour.  She was just finishing up with other customers and said we should come back in 20 minutes.  We spent the 20 minutes walking through the side streets of the Ghetto.  Just a few blocks in from the main street we found La Fontana de la Tartarughe ("Turtle Fountain") (ca. late sixteenth century).  

We could not leave the ghetto without visiting the Great Synagogue of Rome.  

The structure was draped – of course – and undergoing some kind of renovation. 

We went back to the Spa and Michelle’s assistant led me down some very tight stairs to the room downstairs.  The room was clean, the place was clean, and there was no smell (not even cigarette smoke – I guess the techs didn’t smoke).  All I can say, is that the massage was the best I have had in all the time I’ve been in Europe.  It was perfect in every way and it went the full hour.  Ellen said that Michelle’s massage was also perfect.  We tipped them each 10 Euros and they were thrilled for such a large tip – the customers before us tipped them 5 Euros.  Should we return to Rome, this place will be on our list to visit.

After the massage, we went across the path to Fonzies and ordered Thai Chicken Salad and a Steak Sandwich along with fries and a Coke Zero.  

It would have been perfect had the steak sandwich not had mustard on it.  They bring ketchup and mayo on the side, but they put mustard on as part of the preparation.  Ellen removed as much mustard as she could.  I liked both dishes, but I think a standard hamburger might have been better.  Next time.

Price for lunch: 29.50 Euros; $32.61.  Very reasonable considering the amount of food.

We went back through the archeological dig to Stop 5 and caught our bus back to the Hotel.  We were too stuffed for any dinner, so we went up to the bar and were offered complimentary glasses of prosecco and orange juice.  It was nice and warm up on the roof and I liked the drink.  While up there, I took some nighttime pictures of the area - Basilica of St Peter and Castel Sant'Angelo.

Our ride to the airport is set up for tomorrow at 8:20 AM so we went to our room to do any last-minute packing.

I went to the desk to check out so I would save some time in the morning.

The room is quiet and we hope it stays that way.

My smartwatch documented our day.  More riding than walking.

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