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Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

Step away from the fridge!

“Step away from the fridge! ” I barked at my husband.  “It’s wired!” I continued.

“You’ve just picked up the bottle of water.  We’ve got five seconds before we’re charged.  We can still salvage the situation.  Put the bottle down and slowly close the fridge.” I added.

And this begins our first day in Paris.

(more…)

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Planning your perfect holiday can be stressful. I am guilty of that, stressing out so often that I spent weeks agonizing over what would make this the perfect holiday. First I tried to make a list of restaurants to try, then I worked out which sites we’d like to see, then day trips, then shopping, and the list goes on and on. A week prior to leaving I still could not make up my mind. Too many websites and guide books said too many different things. The only one thing that I kept reading over and over was to try and stay at the Daphne Inn.

Having stumbled upon many first class reviews about the Daphne Inn, we decided to book a 5 night stay at this boutique hotel at the center of Rome. Even before we arrived at the hotel, I knew we were in for first-class service. A few days prior to our departure I wrote and asked for some restaurant recommendations. A day later I received not only a list of 10 of their favourite restaurants, complete with personalized comments including what to order or what was the house speciality. The next day, another email! This time they went through their recommendations of what sites to see during our stay.

Right then and there I decided to throw caution to the wind and show up in Rome without any plans and let the wonderful team at Daphne decide my perfect Roman Holiday. I have no regrets whatsoever. Whoever plans to go to Rome and cannot be bothered with planning their trip ahead of time, I highly recommend the Daphne Inn.

So here it is… my top 5 reasons to put your vacation in Daphne’s hands…

1. Location, location – Daphne Inn has two locations, each location around a 3 minute walk from each other and both located at the Piazza Barberini (read: near the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps). Both are at the center of Rome, walking distance to some of Rome’s best sites and easily accessible via public transportation to others. If you are lazy, less than 10 euros can get you almost anywhere from the Vatican to the Colosseo or Foro Romano. It is also right next door to my favorite Italian restaurant (but more about that another time)

2. Recommendation, recommendation – The staff at Daphne (I had the pleasure to meet Rina, Luisa and Franco) are always ready to provide you with excellent recommendations on walking tours, restaurants, day trips, and even a list of their favorite things to do in Rome (yes, including having a gelato twice a day!).
Franco and Luisa

Rina

3. The cel phone – is a great idea. Basically there is no 24 hour concierge service at Daphne Inn. In you aren’t too fussy then you will like the cel phone idea which is provided to contact the owners or staff outside the concierge hours. Each guest is provided with a cel phone that has emergency numbers you can call in case you need to reach them. Also a great idea if you have asked them to make a booking for you for dinner since they will happily give you a call or text you to confirm the reservation.

4. Rooms – clean, modern, have internet access, air condition and includes a simple breakfast. Best of all, a bargain at around 200 euro during peak season in Rome.

Our breakfast nook

5. It’s the little things that count – Celebrated my birthday the other day. When we got back from a day of touring, we were surprised to find a bottle of wine and a card from the staff sending their best wishes.
Best Wishes from Daphne Inn…

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Colline Emiliane

“You wanna learn to make da pasta?” Asked our waiter at Colline Emiliane, a tiny, family run restaurant serving cuisine from Emilia Romanga. To those interested in Italian cuisine, Emilia Romagna is sometimes referred to as “Italy’s food basket” and is home to many speciality foods (such as Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar) that makes Italy, well… Italy.

For me, the crowning glory of cuisine from the region has to be the fresh pasta in the Emilia Romanga style.

So, I shamelessly asked for a quick 101 on pasta making. “Le-mee ask da chef.” A minute or two later the waiter is back to take me on a quick tour around the kitchen. “Ees beesee tonight bat I will take you on a tour.”

“Dees ees da pasta drawer”, he said, where they store the pasta that is made daily.

I also managed to meet Guilio, and Rocco who were part of the kitchen crew (and Fonz from the front of the house). Guilio’s speciality of the night was a leg of veal in a creamy sauce. Apparently the secret was that the veal was slow cooked in milk until the veal was meltingly tender and the milk had curdled into a rich creamy sauce.

The pasta however is what everyone comes back for. It is exquisite and heavenly and for me, another masterpiece in Rome that is not to be missed!

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Tortelli di Zucca (Pasta stuffed with Pumpkin)


Tortellini in a Cream Sauce

If you have room for dessert and they have it that day, try the Tiramisu.

It is a great ending to a great meal.

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My Roman Holiday

7:00 am – After travelling 31 hours, we finally touch down at Rome’s Fuimicino Airport. We are met by Maximillian who takes us to our hotel.

8:00 am – We check in and Rina, the concierge, gives us some suggestions for day trips and tours we can take. She mentions that the room may be ready at half past ten but I am praying we can get it sooner. I am craving for a good shower and a good nap.

Luckily, the room is ready!

1:30 pm – The nap turns into a long deep sleep and by this time I am well rested and ready to explore. The angles must be smiling down on us as we are blessed with really beautiful weather which is perfect for just taking in the sights and lazing around. I am guessing that everyone must be feeling the same way which is why everywhere we go – there are hundreds of people.

4:00 pm – I am starving now. Looking for a place to grab a quick bite. We head to the Pantheon but don’t even bother taking a photo. We are hunting down Cafe Sant’ Eustachio (http://www.santeustachioilcaffe.it/) in the Piazza with the same name nearby. We were told that the best coffee in Rome can be found here. We brave the lines and are rewarded with two cups of Rome’s best cappuccino which we leisurely sip on chairs outside the Cafe.

The waiter tells us that we have only paid for “standing up” coffee so we are politely asked to leave. Luckily, we are done with our drinks and leave.
Best cappuccino in Rome

Across is a fast food pizza joint where we grab something to eat. We order two ham, cheese and mushroom and basil pizzas. This pizza is probably the cheapest food option in Rome. A bargain at 5 euros including two bottles of water and enough to fill us up until dinner time.


7:30 pm – We are told that this is early for dinner in Rome but we have been looking forward to this meal the whole day. The restaurant we’ve choosen for tonight is called Colline Emiliane. I am told this family run restaurant makes the best pasta in all of Rome and serves cuisine from Emilia Romanga.

9:00 pm – Time for bed. It’s been a very long two days of travelling and touring and I’m beat. Tired but very content after a great meal at the restaurant. If our meal at Colline Emiliane is any indication of how well we are going to eat in Italy – then we are on the right track for a Perfect Roman Holiday!

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