American Gladiators Invade Rome

July 12, 2010

Chris and John at Trevi Fountain, RomeThe flight from Copenhagen to Rome was great, the airport was easy and the people polite. SAS airlines was wondeful, we flew “coach plus”…it was comfortable and the crew accommodating. The “plus” gave us a breakfast of cheese, liverwurst, bread, yogurt, orange juice and a hard boiled egg half. Yum! Not good for your blood sugar. I am still shocked at the HIGH CARB diet, all the breads and pasta and rolls and pastry and the only thing I can figure is this…little or no fast food. Most of what I see are thin to medium normal looking people…just like the US once was. The only fatsos I see are tourist and they appear to be from the U.S. My research has put the blame on the fast food industry. What else can it be….all they do here is eat bread and donut foods and BUTTER! And have good looks.

We land at the airport and the taxi ride is our first Italian experience and it’s just as you see on tv, lunacy in a Fiat! We are moving fast and I see we are inches from a bumper when Mr. Taxi flashes his lights and the bumper moves over. Unlike in the U.S. you flash and the SOB gives you the finger or just continues to cruise and hold up traffic. The Italian taxis are hugely famous for ripping off tourists, this from Italian law enforcement and Giuseppe at the front desk. I was told horror stories of Canadians being charged 95 Euros each to get to the hotel, or stopping in the middle of the road and asking for more euros. Our driver did not disappoint, the fee from the airport to the hotel should be 45-50 Euros that was fine, until this pirate in a Fiat wanted 1.5 Euro for each bag….I got banged for 60 euros, not bad after hearing the horror stories.

Giussepe e GianniThe Hotel we are at is very nice, Pinewood Hotel Rome is located on Via Della Pineta Sacchetti 43 Rome, Italy. Our room was cool and tomb-like but a better shower could not be found at the baths. And the TV had no English except for the BBC and CNN, all the other channels were all in Italian. The two bright spots for me and the boys were Giuseppe and Mauro, these two guys made our stay comfortable and entertaining. Giuseppe was the first voice of intelligence I heard when he told me to watch the taxi driver and if I had any problems to call him and he would come out. Giuseppe is as Italian as you are going to get and if you are having a problem he is going to make it all go away. Mauro is a bit softer spoken than Giuseppe and as engaging and always ready for a good laugh. Both of the young men are credits to the Pinewood Hotel and are going to be my only real bright spots in Rome. Neither of these two people tried to take advantage of us in anyway and at all times tried to look out for our best interests. Before I forget there was also Roberto, who I hired to be my personal driver while in Rome, great kid…he made visiting the old crumbling stone buildings easy, comfortable and fun.

John and Chris at the ColiseumI am a little disappointed that the Pope did not have time for an audience this morning as I would have asked him a favor. Would perhaps he and his papal congress speak to god and see where the pull chain is to give this wonderful city a good “flush.” Rome is an obviously very interesting city and the Vatican! And the Coliseum! Circus Maximus which would be a great title for my European experience. However, filthy…the streets have not been swept since Nero was playing the fiddle. Oh for sure certain areas were cleaner than others, however, at times the odor was so bad I thought I was in Malibu. I am sure his Holiness was busy reviewing and looking at the numbers as to what this “boys will be boys” issue was going to cost the corporation…I mean the church. As is my mantra, nothing is free in this life and if you are going to be chasing alter boys and the rest you will have to pay, almost like a good divorce! It is reported that no other entity in the entire world has more gold than the vaults of the Vatican. The millions who flock here leave as much at the door and that is dribs and drabs when compared to the real wealth…I should have bought a church out of high school.

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