Thursday, June 11, 2009

In the Heart of Rome

What a wonderfully-located apartment we had in Rome. 

I found it as Residenza Lucina online but it is also called Teichner Suites. It is located in the "Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina", a little piazza right around the corner from the Spanish Steps--or basically a 5 minute walk.  Our suite (couldn't really be called an apartment because it had no kitchen!) was right above the Bar Teichner and I think the three suites above are owned by the same family that owns the Bar Teichner. 

Bar Teichner shares a building with the Carabinieri office--but I hardly saw the carabinieris. Tsk tsk, too bad. In the piazza also is the Basilica di San Lorenzo, where we heard mass.

There are two other bars in the piazza and were told the one across the street had the best gelato in Rome. Unfortunately, we weren't able to try it because we were so busy walking away from the piazza to try things far away.

This location was perfect for the kids. In the mornings, the hubby and I could come down from the suite at our leisure and while waiting for each other, the kids could play around the piazza. We didn't need to worry about cars or that they would get lost because they would always be within sight.

This is the view outside our first floor window. Our place had free wifi, and the cafe below also had free wifi.  My cousin Bea, who was  also in Rome the same week we were, actually wandered into the piazza and sat down at this cafe and caught up with all her email. The apartment she rented had no internet connection. She did this without knowing that we were staying in a suite upstairs (this window is actually right above the Bottega Veneta store!)

The suite is not plush but it was very spacious for the four of us. The kids slept down in the living room--one on a rollaway bed, and the other on the sofa. We had a very comfortable queen bed up a few steps.

The bathroom was spacious and new too!. The tiles on the floor were glazed tho--they should have used matte tiles with a rougher texture. I think it would be safer. But it was nice and bright.

Oops, this is our unmade bed. They had maid service and our beds were made and towels changed everyday.

This is the view  of the Piazza San Lorenzo from the Spanish Steps side. The umbrella on the far left is Bar Teichner. If you walked through the square and and out the far end, that road would lead you to the Pantheon and the famous ice cream stores: Giolitti, De la Parma and San Crispino.

note: The Teichner Suite site doesn't seem to link to a correct email address.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moving In...and Feng Shui

Someone told me that January 29 was a good day to move, according to the Feng Shui calendar. We're not Chinese, but I thought that it wouldn't hurt to target that day--since we needed a deadline anyway! Then someone told me that the best time to move was between 6 to 9 am. What?!?! How do I move into a house in 3 hours? Even if I started at 6 am (which the village association is NOT going to allow anyway) I will be moving things starting at the lucky hour, and then overlap into the unlucky hour, and probably end the move during a bad day!  This was all too confusing.

I was pacified when my cousin told me that it was just a "symbolic move", or just the start of the move, and the symbolic thing was to bring into the new house: a container of rice, salt, sugar and water, plus a religious symbol. I don't know if she just lumped  a whole bunch of Chinese/Filipino/Spanish beliefs together, but that's what I did.

The kids had to be in school at 7:15 am, so we left our old place at 6:30, dropped our  "moving symbols" in the new house, looked around a bit and then we were off to school. We definitely made our symbolic move within the luckiest hours of the luckiest day of the month. I was belatedly told that I should've included a container of coins too.

Soon this dusty, empty (there was still minor work going on in different parts of the house) house was going to be full of boxes and junk that I didn't have the time and energy to sort out before moving.

Now these "moving symbols" are all sitting on top of the upper cabinet, and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to use them or if I'm supposed to keep them there forever. Maybe it should've been the first thing I consumed during my first days here? Who knows? Good thing were not Chinese, or Spanish, and we really don't believe in these things anyway.

Knowing an "auspicious date" got us to make that move, and that was the whole point anyway.

Roman Holiday with Kids

It was fun having the kids in Rome. We were able to find a brilliantly located and  spacious apartment for the four of us (wifi and CNN included!) for the 5 nights we were there.

Before the trip, which also brought us to London and Amsterdam, we made sure the kids read Vacation under the Volcano and also the Ancient Rome Research Guide of the Magic Tree House series. Of course  Roman Holiday was  our feature presentation during one of our Friday movie nights at home. Required watching before this trip also included My Fair Lady. I also got them a simple version of Anne Frank's Diary for the Amsterdam part.

I had to condition myself that this was going to be a "kid trip" meaning no late-night dining and no leisurely shopping.

 But I found that in Rome, so many things interest small kids. Just playing in the piazza with a balloon kept them entertained while we sat for coffee.

They had a great time trying out all the gelatos we passed, making special stops in Giolitti, dela Parma and San Crispino. For them gelato was gelato and they were just thrilled that they got to eat so much ice cream in one day. Food was easy with the 6-year-old preferring cream sauce or olive oil pastas, and the 8-year-old preferring red sauces. 

We had lots of pizzas too. The nice thin-crusted ones hot and crisp from the oven.

I read somewhere that water that comes from fountains in Rome is potable. I didn't remember this until I saw tourists filling water bottles from the fountain in front of the Spanish Steps, as well as drinking from the many hydrant-looking fountains around town. The kids were thrilled to follow them.

And of course since the kids loved this part of Roman Holiday, we had to visit La Boca dela Verita, something I never visited in any of my previous trips to Rome. We had to fall in line and when we got to the front, the guy controlling the front would take only a couple of shots. It made the line move fast and it was obviously only for photo ops. No time to do a little skit about asking a question and seeing if one is telling the truth--which the kids were expecting.

Too bad, but we got a nice shot of the family anyway.

The Colosseum was very interesting for them because they knew a lot about it already from their books, and because B brought things to life for them as he described how gladiators and animals were made to fight during those times.

Actually children are really easy to please and can entertain themselves with the simplest things. They're lucky to have grandparents who like to bring them along on their trips!


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