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Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Not being able to sleep this morning, I decided to post the highlights from our trip to Rome.

Capri
Our trip from Rome to Carpri took us on a taxi, train, boat and funiculare.

Eurostar - 10:45
Rome Termini to Naples (Napoli Centrale)

When making reservations, make sure you ask for non-smoking if you want it. There is plenty of room to take your luggage with you. Sometimes the trains are really crowded, sometimes they aren't. Make a reservation prior to the day you want to travel to make sure you get a seat.

Our taxi ride from Naples to the port could have been filmed and made into a video game. You know how if you're playing a video game, people walk out in front of you and you aren't supposed to hit them? Well our cab driver got a good score, he didn't hit any people, or other cars!

The cab driver put a finger to his eye, pulled down on the eyelid and pinted to his watch. At first we thought he meant to watch the time so we didn't miss our boat, but later we figured out he meant to watch out for pick pockets who might steal our watch off our arms. We took off all watches and jewlery and put them in our pockets.

We took the LN - Navigazione Libera Del Golfo hydrofoil, $10.00, from Naples to Capri. It was a nice ride with open air seating up top.

After landing in Capri, you need to take the Funicolare from the port, up to the main part of Capri.

The Funicolare is a little train that climbs up the island at a 45 degree angle. The cars are built at an angle to go up to Capri. There is room to take your luggage in the car too. Here's a picture of the Funiculare that I took for you, because prior to going to Capri, I had no clue as to what it was and what it looked like..

We stayed at what I feel is the best hotel on Capri, the Hotel Luna, 011-39-81-837-0433. We had an amzing room with an ocean view.

Ristorante Pizzaria Aurora
Via Fuorlovado
Tel 837-0181

Down a narrow street this restaurant wasn't too busy at 7:00, but by 8:00 all the tables were full. Make a reservation if you plan to eat late. Grilled vegetables to start $8, eggplant and pasta $15, Amorone Wine costs 10 times more than the meal, but was a nice Italian wine. It seemed like a local clientele until we founds our those eating next to us were from Belgium and Russia. The people from Belgium told us they checked out of the Quissisana because it was too impersonal and large. We are used to impersonal and large, but could get used to personal and small.

La Capannia
Via Le Botteghe 12 B

Many rooms make up this authentic restaurant. We enjoyed the veal with a light oil and vegetables.

Ristorante "da Paolino"
di De Martino Michele
Via Palazzo a Mare
Tel 081 837 61 02

One of the highlights of Capri, this reatuarant is in the middle of a lemon grove. YOu dine at a table with lemons hanging over your head.

Take the Funicular down to Marina Grande. After getting off the Funicular, tkae a left and follow the street until you start to see signs for da Paolino.

Before you order, take a look at the Antipasto salad bar and desert bar. You might want to make that your meal.

Start with a Bomba. It's a homemade pasta ball with a brown crust filled with cheese. It seemed more like bread than pasta. Awesome!

Linguini with Large Scampi. Wow! The shrimp were the size of Twin Lobsters!

At the end of the meal they served a local drink called Limonella. Lemony...

Grotta Azzura
There are boat tours of the island which take you to the big tourist attraction, Grotto Azzura. We think a better way to get to Grotto Azzura, also known as Blue Grotto, is to take the bus. Get a 24 hour bus pass that also includes two trips on the Funiculare.

Here's my step by step instructions for you take the bus to the Blue Grotto.
1. Take the bus from Capri to Anacapri
2. Walk down Via DeTommaso to the bus stop on the left.
3. Get on a bus to G. Azzura
4. Once there, take the staircase down, where a rowboat will pick you up.
5. A small rowboat will pull up and take four people at a time.
6. The row boat will pull up to a floating cashier where you pay a fee.
7. After you pay, you'll lie flat down and prepare to enter the grotto.
8. Once inside you'll float around and experience the amazing clear blue water inside the cave lit up by the reflected outside sunlight.
9. After you leave, you'll be pulled back to the same staircase you entered on. Make sure you are careful leaving the boat by placing you foot firmly on the dock.


SNAV hydrofoil - 11:10 AM
Capri to Napoli
$10.00

Here are my step by step instructions for getting from the SNAV dock to the Mergellina Train station.

1, After getting off the boat, go straight up the hill to the train station.
2. Once in the station, watch the monitors for your track number. There's only about four tracks, so it won't be hard for you to get to your track.

This is both a local train station and a high speed rail stop. Don't be concerned when a local train shows up where you Eurostar high speed train should be. The trains run on time, so make sure you are on time.

Eurostar - 1:06 PM
Napoli Mergellina to Rome Termini

Once you get on the train, luggage can be stored at the rnd of hte train car if it won't fit on top. You might also be able to fit the luggage between two back to back seats.

Florence
The Leather School is inside the Convento di Santa Croce.

coin is a department store in the middle of town.

Galleria dell'Academy is the museum where David is.

Rome
St. Regis Grand
Via V.E. Orlando 3
011-39-06-47091

www.easyeverything.com is on
Via Barberini. It has over 200 internet terminals for hourly use at a great price.

Changing money in Rome is easy. Depending where you change it you might pay a service charge and/or a commission.

Little change booths charge both a sevice charge and a percentage commission. Thier exchage rates might look good at first but you need to figure out the service charge.

Banks only charge a flat service charge when you get in an go to a teller. I did this a couple of times. Here's how you do it:

1. Remove metal objects and put htem in a keyed safe outside the front door.
2. Push button to enter a tube. The tube is a person sized test tube that opens after you press the button.
3. Once inside the tube, the opposite side will open if your scan for metal objects is clean, otherwise the rear door will open and you'll need to remove metal objects.
4. You to the teller and say Bojourno, change US?
5. After taking a puff of his cigarette, he'll change your money for you and give you a reciept.

ATM's don't charge a service charge or a commission. Your bank might charge you though for using a really foreign ATM.

Eating In Rome
Eating in Rome is a done at a leisurely pace. You order a bottle of water as aqua con gas which means water with bubbles. If you don't want bubble you can get water without gas.

The portions are smaller than American size. I'd say just enough for a typical eater. It's great because you can have an appetizer and also the meal without getting full.

Dolce Vita is a nice open air restaurant on the Piazza Navona.

The Spanish Steps neighborbood is a maze of twisty little streets all looking alike. This is a nice area for walking around, seeing adn being seens. The most popular street in Rome from 6-8 PM for walking.

La Fontanella
Via Fontanella di Borghese
Tel - 687-1582 Call first for reservations

You eat outside just off Via del Corso. Homemade fresh pasta was a highlight.

In Trastevere, Birreria della Scala On Piazza Santa Maria della Scala is a great place for a beer. They have Leffe Blonde on tap, a nice Belgian beer.

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