Italy – Heading Home

Thursday, 29 March


When we checked out of the hotel the clerk said the beach water in Ostia-Fiumicino area is not very good. I wonder what the locals do in the summer? We gassed up the rental car on the way to the airport. We found the Hertz drop off building the first time around the airport complex. The inspection of the car found no issues. Now we just wait 2-4 months to see if there are any traffic tickets. [Valerie: As of June 30, we received two traffic ticket notices, one from Rome the first day, and one from the Saturday in Naples.]

There were two luggage carts nearby that we used to slept our luggage into the terminal. I believe we were the third building from the terminal so there was a walk. The Air Canada check-in was some distance from where we entered the terminal. Fortunately Valerie had scored us an upgrade for the return flight so our line was very short. Another benefit was it got us into the Fast Track lane at security which proved to be a painless process. After clearing customs control we had a train ride and a long walk to gate 41 and the Alitalia lounge. I ate and drank too much. When we got on the plane the cabin steward was surprised that all I wanted was a ginger ale. I binge watched a Canadian TV show Kim’s Convenience. Arrived in Toronto the only issue clearing customs was we somehow missed step 2. We had access to the Maple Leaf lounge. I do not believe it was good as Alitalia. Our flight was late coming out of Canada but I was still in bed by 11:45 PM. Long day.

Italy – Day 14

Wednesday, 28 March – Naples to Rome



Last day in Napoli. Left some Euro notes under our plates in the breakfast area for the staff that took care of us. Also, gave the desk man a bottle of American wine. This proved helpful as he was then inclined to assist Valerie in loading the car and getting the gate up so I could bring the car to the front door. Normal traffic on the Tang. We stopped at the Navy Base and did laundry. Then onward to Fiumicino/Ostia and the hotel. We had lunch at Ristorante Monumento. For dessert had pastiera and a complementary glass of homemade grappa. I thought the front house guy was a BSer and Valerie kept urging me to overlook this trait. I was almost tempted to ask him where his still was to make the grappa. The food was very good. I would go back. The BSer turned away some people who wanted to set at the tables outside. As we walked back to the car we saw them setting outside at nearby restaurant.
Late afternoon we drove into Rome to meet Francesca and Massimo for drinks. The navigation system gave us a good directions to miss most of the rush hour traffic parking the car at EUR Palasport and taking the subway to Termini. The subway trip was easy. Finding the place to meet (Mercato Centrale) was more difficult but we finally found it. We arrived first and got our drinks. Valerie passed on a suppli. Francesca and Massimo arrived and we gossiped. When it was time for their train we left retracing our route back to Fiumicino.

Italy – Day 13

Tuesday, 27 March – Last day in Naples


Today, we went to Franco and Maria’s again for noon meal. Maria served us a huge plate of pasta. I wish I could have eaten it all, but it was too much. Then veal cutlets, asparagus and fried artichoke. This is the big season for artichokes, and it is on the menu everywhere. It was a sad goodbye, since Roger will probably not see Franco and Maria again.

Roger is slowly accepting that the trip has been very difficult for him, even after recovering from the stomach issues. He was very solemn this afternoon and some tears were shed.

Roger was stationed in Naples while he was in the Navy, and he was the opposite of the rest of his mates…he lived off base when allowed, and he liked liked to eat Italian food. F & M owned an Italian restaurant. Maria cooked, and Franco was the front person. Roger ate many meals there over the years. The restaurant eventually closed, but the three of them have kept up the long distance relationship for close to 50 years.

So, when we are in Naples, they would like to feed us every day, if we were so inclined. We saw them three of six days, each visit just the right amount of time, about two hours. Conversation can be difficult, with Franco speaking some English, mostly restaurant parlance, and Roger speaking tourist Italian. Maria doesn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Italian, but I learned what mangia, mangia meant very quickly. Eat, eat!

We were aided by google translate on the iPad.

Anyway, so much food at noon, that we have stayed in this evening and are working on the travel logs.


Our last day in Naples I believe we went to our favorite appliance store for a TV cable. I did better at parking. Then we drove to Franco and Maria’s street and parked on the sidewalk. Being early we walked slowly up the hill to a nautical store. They were having a closeout on winter items. Valerie saw a coat that she liked. We told them we would come back later. On to the important stuff. We stopped for cookies at Pasticceria Albino. Waddled away with 7 Euros worth of assorted cookies returning to Capo Horn for the jacket purchase. The store was odd in that I could have also purchased a small boat anchor. I have never seen a boat trailer in the Vomero. Next stop is lunch. Franco had his technical guru, a neighbor, come to setup the TV so that the channel numbers are the same as before. Maria remembers that paglia e fieno is my favorite pasta dish so Valerie and I each had a large portion that we could not finish. The leftovers are not wasted. Maria, for another meal, will make a frittata with the leftovers. Main course was veal cutlets, asparagus and fried artichoke. During the meal Franco spoke optimistically about Team Napoli’s chances of winning Serie A. They just needed to beat Juventus. Valerie showed them a video of the Lailah playing the violin and pictures of Pepper and Barney. I had caffe and cookies at the end of the meal. It was sad to depart. Maria and I hugged. Out on the street Boris was being riled by Valerie’s taunts. Back to the hotel for a nap.

Italy – Day 12

Monday, 26 March


Off to Caserta to check out the castle. The drive alone was enough for Roger, so we headed to the nearby mall for lunch and gelato. “Street” food for lunch. The rice ball had too much meat in it, where I prefer them to be a less savory. The gelato place had 72 different flavors. I had Mars bar and another flavor, though the Limone looked delicious. They actually had two different lemon flavors. Sort of wished I had been a piggy and gone back for more.

After a stop at the navy base, we headed back to the hotel for a nap. Then, it was back to the local pizza place for a folded pizza and beer. No rice balls this evening. Eating in the pizza place is like eating with a big, noisy, family. It was quite entertaining.

The hot water situation at the hotel fascinates me. It pours out everywhere, and Roger says it has been that way for years. I sure hope it is being recycled or something.

Off to Caserta for Valerie to run an orienteering course that had previously been used. The drive was normal. Stop and go traffic on the Tangenziale until we got to the Corso Malta exit. The fun began in Caserta as we tried to get to a spot near the Royal Palace. The entrances to the grounds where the orienteering event was held were closed. Possibly elaborate on this. We scratched the idea of orienteering and went to the mall. We got a trey of food and beverage at Frittoline for ten Euros. Then we stopped for ice cream at La Scimmietta. Valerie got something at the Carrefour grocery store. Then returned to Napoli. That night went to our neighborhood dive for dinner. Valerie assisted me in parking the car. The parking at Rosso Sapore always seemed to be a challenge. I always want to park in such a way that no one can block me and that I do not block them.

Italy – Day 11

Sunday, 25 March


Palm Sunday
Valerie wanted to eat seafood. Online I found a seafood restaurant (La Pulperia) in Pozzuoli. Pozzuoli is one of the big entry points for seafood in the Naples area. I thought the drive would be uneventful but I would be wrong. Come to find out Valerie was using her guidance system and the car’s guidance system was also running. I was getting conflicting commands. At one point Valerie was telling me we could not get there from here even though I could see the Bay of Naples. Once we got down to one navigation system we made it to the restaurant. There were no legal parking spots available so Valerie allowed me to be Italian and I parked the car. We were the first customer in the restaurant (typical) so Valerie had the pick of the tables. She picked one with a nice view. We could see families returning from church carrying their palm branches. It was a beautiful day to be out. The restaurant toilet had no seat but they used colorful tiles on the floor and wall. Had a pricey (47 Euros) bottle of white wine. I had one dish the seafood soup. I liked it. If I had it again would tell them to forget the snails. Too much work to get the snail meat out. Valerie started with a plate of three items (meatball, arancini, and seafood stuffed in a pastry). She was not excited with the stuffed pastry. Then she had a risotto di mare. No dessert.

Was going to walk to a nearby tourist attraction but I ran out of steam and we walked back to the car. We encountered a family with a Beagle. Valerie and them compared notes about Beagles. I believe they were impressed that Pepper always comes home when she is out running free. I did not tell them the problems I have getting here hooked up when I believe we are finished at the dog park. For some reason no picture of the Beagle. Next part of that day’s adventure was watching this guy park cars in the municipal parking lot. For money and the car keys he would allow them to double park their car and then move the cars when the people who owned the blocked cars returned. There seemed to be action all over the parking lot. Years ago in Naples they had white hats that performed this function. Unknown whatever happened to the white hats.

Back to the hotel and Valerie sat outside working on orienteering results. When I came out to shoot the picture some guy was bending Valerie’s ear about pickel ball and the game came from Argentina.

That night we went to our nearby dive (Rosso Sapore). I had ainsalatacaprese and half a ripieno (calzone) pizza. Valerie had arancini and the other half of my pizza. There was salame and ricotta inside the ripieno. Parking at night in the lot at Rosso Sapore was a challenge. Would have Valerie get out and guide me into a parking spot. Nothing was stripped. It was free form parking.

Italy – Day 10

Saturday, 24 March


Drove to an area of Naples called Spaca. The car guidance system did not take into consideration there was some street work that blocked us but we eventually made it to Via Duomo and found a legal parking spot. A beggar gave me hand signals to assist in backing into the space. Valerie gave him a Euro for his assistance. First stop was the church that is big time for San Gennaro the saint of Napoli. Valerie found the pay toilet. Next stop was nearby in Via Tribunali and see Christmas scenes. Bought nothing. Valerie took a picture with Pulcinella. Did come across a place that makes ten types of frittate (street food). Took away the menu which showed a second shop near Franco and Maria’s. Returned to the car and Valerie gave the beggar another Euro for watching the car. Sunday we would see the parking maneuvers on a grander scale.
Over the years we have had many meals and hospitality from Franco and Maria. We decided to buy them a flat screen TV. They had a small tube TV with a converter box. We found an appliance store near their home that had client parking. In the parking lot I almost ran over one of the parking lot attendants. The parking was cramped and they parked the car for me. The purchase was painless. Interesting the dimensions of the screens were in inches. If you ever need a TV while in Naples Dino Galiano is the place with a large selection and easy parking. Valerie was looking for the bathroom in the store. Come to find out it was off the parking lot so she made a pit stop while I found the car. We drove to Franco and Maria’s and parked the car on the sidewalk. Boris, the neighborhood German Shepard, barked at us. We walked up the hill to Pasticceria Albino. This is maybe not the best bakery in the area but several years ago the owner’s elementary age daughter who was learning English assisted me with my purchases. So I always go back. Today her mother assisted us and we made it through without English. The purchase cost 10.80. Valerie gave the lady a 20 Euro note not understanding the importance of change in Italy. When she gave the lady a one Euro coin to go with the 20 things went better. As a side bar we used the toll machines on the A56 (Tangenziale) for change. Put a 10 Euro note in the machine and get coins for the change. Of course if I did not have the car near the machine I would have problems retrieving the coins from the hopper.

We tried to find the second frittate place. I ran out of gas so Valerie walked to the address. The location was still under renovation for opening. We walked back to Franco and Maria’s. Valerie got the flat screen out of the car. Valerie and Franco setup the new TV. It did not require the converter box and had high definition channels. While all the channels were available there was some issue with the numbering.
For lunch we had a huge plate of gnocchi to start. Then sausage and friarielli. Had a great local wine. The bottle had no label. It cost Franco a little under two euros a bottle. Two buck Chuck? Finish the meal with the sweets we had purchased and Maria made me a caffe.

Back to the hotel for a nap.

That night we went to a nearby dive for insalatacaprese, arancini (rice balls), and beer. By the way, in Rome the rice balls are called suppli.

Italy – Day 9

Friday, 23 March



Our goal today was the winery Masseria Frattasi in Montesarchio. I picked this winery because the award winning whites (Falanghina) they make. To get there would require dealing with the morning rush hour going east on the Tangenziale, which was always slow until you got to the Corso Malta exit. Once past that, you pretty much do the speed limit. We were a little late for our appointment with Pasquale Clemente, due to a few recalculations. Also, on one of self-imposed detours, we encountered a road blocked by strikers [V: further adding to Roger’s frustration]. The police were at the scene, and we were turned around. Our late arrival was not an issue as Mr. Clemente was also late.

The winery dog initially greeted us. An employee (Anna?) tried to keep us entertain until he arrived. First she showed Valerie the bathroom. I wanted to sample the 2016 Falanghina. Using a ladder she went and retrieved a bottle from a tall stack. At one point we had three bottles open, at which time Mr. Clemente arrived.

He was very engaging, and I would characterize him as an environmentalist. He prefers using cork over plastic. The whites had 13-14% alcohol. After I asked about the 2017 harvest, he drew a glass of red from a nearby steel vat. For being a very young wine, it did not have a lot of tannin. I do not remember what he said about the future possibilities for that particular wine. If we came back another time, Pasquale offered to show us the mountain vineyards, which currently had snow. My interest was when they picked the mountain grapes they hang them to dry for some period of time before crushing. We bought some wine, and we were on our way. It was not until I audited the tab back at the hotel that I realized the tasting was 44 Euros. He did box up the three bottles that we tasted. Gave those bottles to Franco and Maria. On the way back stopped at a hole-in-the-all for arancini to go. Made another stop at the naval base for cash, and purchased ceramic street numbers.

Back at the hotel – nap time.

Evening meal (Abraxas Osteria) was out in the suburbs. We missed the turnoff and due to the road being narrow, we had to drive some distance to find a turn around. Coming back, we made the turn too early and had to back around to get going in the correct direction. Finally made the correct turn and drove up a single lane road to the restaurant. Then I was given grief from the parking lot guy for parking too far from the adjacent vehicle, so Valerie re-parked the car to his satisfaction [V: Only after I had to be reminded how to get the car into reverse].

We finally make it to the table. Valerie was enamored with the art work behind me. We started with an appetizer plate. Then pasta. Valerie thought her ravioli delplin was so-so. I had a Naples favorite pasta alla Genovese. For the final course Valerie had Kobe beef hamburger with potatoes and I had sausage and friarielli. When we arrived, the restaurant was empty. When we left, the place was full. What was interesting were the families with young children arriving in the 9 o’clock hour. Passed on dessert.

Started the car and the sensor buzzer came on indicating something nearby. Valerie’s park job. Backed out slowly and made our way down hill. On the drive down the hill to the road we encountered a car coming up. Ducked into a driveway. Took a little bit of maneuvering to get back on the down hill. After we got onto the road I thought it would be smooth sailing, but the on ramp to the Tangenziale was closed, so we did some recalculation. We made it back to the hotel. Valerie says she has no desire to visit that restaurant again. Plenty of other choices [V: easier to get to, and with better food].

Italy – Day 8

Thursday, 22 March


Had our last breakfast at Danieli. Angelo checked us out of the Airbnb. We lucked out in that morning a transportation strike (sciopero) was beginning. There would be no subway, tram, or bus operation in Rome that day. We slowly made our way out of town eventually picking up speed on the way to Naples. The rush hour coming into Rome was grim. We only made two bathroom stops on the autostrada. The toll at the end was around 17 Euros. We stopped at the Navy base, did laundry and bought American wine for Maria. Checked into the Tennis Hotel. Had an issue in that I had requested a shower (doccia) and the room they were going to give us had a bathtub. Fortunately I knew the desk man and he switched us to a room with shower. After a brief nap off to Franco and Maria’s for an early (5 o’clock) dinner. We were supposed to meet them for late lunch at 4 but that did not happen. So they fed us later. Part of the reason for delay was a major accident on the highway. The navigation software did a great job of giving us a new route to the hotel and I believe we executed it with no recalculations.

More for 22 March
Earlier in the day outside of Danieli a woman was cleaning the sidewalk and there was a sign asking for donations. Showed this to Franco and he confirmed that this also happens in Naples. Maria made arancini and pork for our meal. In the one picture notice the TV. Valerie was not successful in convincing them that we drink our wine at home out of a water glass. So they got the good drinking glasses and we got wine glasses. Notice the no label wine bottles. The American wine which they drank was the only one with a label. The last picture was at the toll booth on the Tangenziale with a beggar.

Italy – Day 7

Wednesday, 21 March


Another leisurely start to the day dictated by the fact that Roger doesn’t have the stamina to do something physical every hour of the day. If he would like to think that we aren’t eating breakfast until 8:30 because I am slow to get going, then I am OK with that.

Back to apartment
Public transportation to Spanish Steps
Villa Borghese
A long, for Roger, painful walk, to the main street to get a taxi
Empty taxi…person is in the lavatory. So, ask another taxi to take us to lunch location. Too close to be worth his time and effort, so he says he is on break. Person comes back to empty taxi…younger woman, who doesn’t hesitate to take us to Via Alessandria location. Fare was 7.6, gave her 15. We were both very happy. Thank you!
Lunch at 1 pm at a quick food place. Not the best choice, since it was crazy with business people trying to get fed quickly, but an interesting experience. (Not to be repeated on purpose though).
Walked back to apartment.
Computer time.
Leftovers for Roger.
Tram to Gelato shop.
Back to apartment and bed at 9 pm.


After breakfast at Danieli took the subway to Spanish Steps. We would have taken the Linea B from Policlinico to Termini and then transferred to the A line to Spagna station. Is during the transfer when encountered the guy breaking the glass? Coming out of the station Valerie paid a beggar a Euro to pet his dog. Unknown if that was a fair price. We walked out into Piazza di Spagna which was very crowded. After the fact was made aware the Keats-Shelley House was here. Began the ascent up the steps with the ultimate goal of reaching Villa Borghese Park and PasseggiatadelPincio. Had to stop twice to rest. At the top saw a subway entrance. Possibly there was an escalator in the subway station we could have taken to Trinitadei Monti. We saw a modeling shoot on a wall. Very slowly we made our way to the Borghese. We wondered around the area. I really do not know if we made our objective. There were youth groups singing in the park. Eventually made our way out of the park to find a taxi. The first cab we encountered was empty. Did we flag down the woman driver? Took the cab to the restaurant Pronto Pizza e Cucina that had fried food. I believe we mailed the postcards that never arrived. We ordered a selection of fried food at the restaurant. Then all hell broke loose. Evidently this place is frequented by office workers and they descended on the place. It was full. They must use the honor system because it was not clear to me how the bills were paid by the groups. Valerie paid our bill. Would not go back for noon meal Monday thru Friday. Walked back to the apartment for nap time. That night we had leftovers and then went out for ice cream. Took the trolley up the street to a different ice cream shop. We liked it better as they had toppings. There are many orange trees in Rome. The fruit seems to be damaged by the recent snow. Walked up to take the trolley back to Piazza Galeno. No trolley came so we walked back to the apartment. In Piazza Galeno we observed all the trolleys making U turns.

Italy – Day 6

Tuesday, 20 March


Danieli for pastries and espresso
Back to apartment
Then bus to San Silvestri for lunch – was this where we had issues with the taxi driver?
Back for nap
Gelato shop

For Tuesday did we maybe take the Metro from Policlinco to Termini and change to the A line for
Barberini Station? Was this the day the guy busted the window? We walked from Piazza Barberini maybe in the rain to HostariaRomana. Am I remembering this correctly? For some reason you left early without the check?

The reason we did not take the trolley in the picture was it was full. You had a hot chocolate for breakfast along with raisin Danish. For lunch I had the pasta e fagioli and spezzatino di vitella. This is the place you left the check behind. You signed our names on a wall. I do not remember what dessert we had. I do not remember if we took the bus or taxi home. I do remember we waited a long time at the bus stop. You do have a picture of a dog on public transportation. Was the dog on the subway? That night I had leftovers (sausage and beans) from Armando al Pantheon. Cannot tell what leftovers you are having. After dinner we took the trolley to a gelateria and walked around. Is this the night you had a slice of pizza? Was this the gelateria we liked?