NB: SINCE THERE WILL BE A NUMBER OF THESE THREADS I THOUGHT IT EXPEDIENT TO CREATE AN ACRONYM: WTDGAP (When Things Don’t Go As Planned)
Todays divertissement centers around a simple premise- getting from point A to point B. As straight forward as that sounds, it has often resulted in some “challenging” options. Since my traveling (and general life) mantra has always been: “life is a journey, not a destination,” (courtesy of Ralph Waldo Emerson) I try to embrace these off-road paths as they often bring unforeseen frisson that enrich my life.
But enough of philosophy, let me illustrate with an excursion to Rome, Italy. One of my favorite countries, Italy has always provided glorious vistas, food, wine, people and adventures (not necessarily in that order). This particular visit came on the back-end of a larger, epochal birthday celebration in Tuscany (more on that in another post). We decided to stay at the De La Ville Roma, a 17th century landmark hotel situated at the top of the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna) overlooking the entire Eternal City:
The hotel is within walking distance of many of Rome’s premiere sites – and we took advantage of that fact to revisit many of our favorites – see if you recognize this selection of venues (if not leave a comment and I will reveal all:
One additional and most welcome discovery was that the hotel also housed a rooftop restaurant – aptly named The Emperor Terrace, with a literal bird’s-eye view of 3000 years of Roman history. Not ony was the view spectacular, but this restaurant served the most scrumptious appetizers – in fact dinner for us often consisted of multiple apps and a bottle or two of prosecco:
The De la Villa Roma/Spanish Steps was a prime location for another reason that fit perfectly with our “plan” ( uh oh – “best laid..often go astray”). Besides visiting the traditional tourist spots we also wanted to travel down memory lane and visit an awesome boutique hotel we had stayed at on a previous journey to Italy.
The Hotel Albani Roma, built in 1978 was in a quiet, residential area and its brochure description stated “modern decor and architecture.” “Modern” turned out to mean a la 1970’s but we loved the kitsch:
The bar area also had a number of televisions scattered along the walls – and more than once a visit to the bar for a drink or two turned into an all-nighter with the bartender supplying extremely generous drinks (his own creation – only remember there was a lot of vodka in them) along with delicious home-made sandwiches. It was a hoot sitting there watching programs on Animal Planet (animals don’t need translation into English).
The Hotel Albani Roma was also just a hop, skip and a jump from the Borghese Estate Park which plays a large role in the core subject of this post. On our first visit to the Hotel Albani Roma we took a few-minutes walk into the Borghese Estate Park – a voluptuous park full of lush landscaping, ponds, lakes, fountains, temples, statues and several museums. Trivia: The area started as a vineyard in the 16th Century until 1605 when Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a nephew of Pope Paul V turned it into a park. The Borghese Estate Park abuts the Spanish Steps, so it seems a simple but brilliant plan to retrace our steps and visit the Hotel Albani Roma, hoping the same bartender would be there to serve us oversize drinks and sandwiches.
With all our travel savvy and big New York City smarts we still didn’t take into account that the Borghese Estate Park IS THE LARGEST PUBLIC PARK in Rome with some 148 acres to traverse – certainly not just a “walk in the park.” But, as this blog’s mission statement implies it’s not about the destination but the journey. With a good deal of big New York City stubbornness included, we spent over three hours navigating through Borghese Estate Park trying to find that same entrance that would take us back to the Hotel Albani Roma. Along the way, of course we enjoyed the breathtaking beauty of the park and took a number of in my opinion, outstanding photos:
Lo and Behold, our three+ hour trek finally got us miraculously back to the Hotel Albani Roma, and while we weren’t sure that the bartender was the same as before, we sat on “our” orange couch, watched the latest programs on Animal Planet in Italian and quenched our thirst and appetite with copious cocktails and sandwiches.
La Dolce Vita, indeed!!!
Arriverderci, Roma – and onto the next journey.