We made it back to Rome relatively uneventfully, although we did have to buy 1st class train tickets as 2nd class was sold out. To the best of my observation, 1st class means you sit with men in suits and your air conditioning works. We also had to wait about an hour for our train from Salerno, but that just means that you can stop at the AutoGrill in the terminal. AutoGrill is the Italian reststop/highway/travel food and its delicious!! We had mozzarella and prosciutto sandwiches. So much better than McDonalds…
We arrived at Hotel Centro in Rome only to be told they were oversold and be escorted to Le Petit Hotel around the corner. For a brief moment I was worried that we might not have A/C (that’s why I booked Centro, that, and its near the train station), but all was well and Le Petit Hotel was even cheaper than Centro. Our room also came with a small man’s suit in the closet. Seems that housekeeping may not be doing their job very well.
Our primary objective tonight is Tavernetta 48. It was closed last week, and while we may have rose-colored glasses about its quality, we really wanted to eat there. Of course, our first stop was the enoteca (Novecento) around the corner for a bottle of wine and bruschetta. I’m rethinking my love for this place. Their wine is really pretty expensive compared to other enotecas, and its seriously caught on with the American flight crews with lay overs in Rome. Anyway, Jake made his way around the corner to see if Tavernetta was open and yippee! it was! He also made a reservation for a patio table, just in case.
Dinner at Tavernetta is basic and hearty and while not up to the standards of Il Pino, Il Bacaro, or Da Gemma, its good food and its inexpensive. We had house wine, bruschetta with mussels, and two pasta dishes for 30 Euros. You can’t beat it. Then we had one last stop at Giolitti for gelato and it was time to sleep.
This is where I learned how spoiled we were by staying in the historic center rather than near the train station. Last year we were right around the corner from the train station and really thought nothing of it, but tonight, we were complaining the whole way, missing Baldassini from last week! Maybe we were fuller, or more tired, or too sunburned. In any case, its Baldassini B&B for me from now on. Le Petit Hotel failed us in one other way (well, two, if you count the suit): the mattress was like a rock. Seriously, like a box spring would feel. Neither of us slept well and consequently we were cranky for our the trip to the airport.
Coming home from a foreign country is always a longer process than you want it to be, first the passport control and then the baggage check, and then the security. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait. We really were just not happy people when we finally got to our security line only to discover it wasn’t moving, at all. I noticed a man who seemed to be the problem, TSA (or the Italian version of TSA anyway) was searching his bags and he was arguing with them and nothing seemed to be happening. The conversation went on for several minutes, and the man was increasingly frustrated. We couldn’t hear what they were saying to each other, but the facial expressions told the story. As Jake and I are watching this situation, the reason for the hold up becomes clear. The TSA agent finally becomes completely exasperated with the man and holds up the item that is causing the disruption. She holds it up in the way you hold and wave something when you are making a point and have had it with the person you speaking to.
She was holding an anchor.
Seriously, an anchor. The guy wanted to carry on an anchor. Sir, you’ll have to check your harpoon too. An anchor? Finally the guy agreed to go back to the baggage check area and check the bag with the anchor in it. Once we laughed about that we were happy again and the trip home went very smoothly.
Every night for the last four nights I’ve dreamed I was in a hotel room in Italy. I know we said that we won’t go back next year, that its time for another destination, but I think we’ll be hard pressed to do that.