Day 1 in Italy - Beginnings

Trip Start Aug 14, 1992
Trip End Aug 26, 1992

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Where I stayed
Hotel Anglo-American

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Saturday, August 15, 1992

I won't say very much about the day we left New York's JFK International Airport, except to say that Wendy and I had packed one suitcase each, and Jen was instructed to do the same. She came down from her room lugging two heavy, large suitcases, and we immediately said, Jen, only one per person ! She was horrified, but consented and off we went, I believe driving to JFK and parking in a long term lot. The flight was scheduled to take off at 9 PM, but was delayed an hour. We arrived at Rome's Fiumicino Airport safely and immediately we went off the budget and took a taxi to our hotel, just off Piazza Barberini. I sat in the front with the driver who was traveling about 100 miles per hour, but my terror quickly abated as the taxi pulled into Rome Centro passing right by the Palatine Hill, then around the corner passed Teatro Marcello, The Campodoglio, into Piazza Venezia, up via Tritone, into Piazza Barberini, and right to the Hotel Anglo-Americano on via Quattro Fontane, with a lovely lobby, in a large hotel, opposite an apartment building with 2 policemen outside with machine guns. I asked the reception fellow why the guns and he said they are guarding a politician who lives in that building. The first room we were assigned had low A/C, so we changed to exactly a similar room also with horrific A/C. Nonetheless, we all took a 3 hr nap, the last time I ever napped upon entrance into Italy. We awoke and left the hotel at 4:30 PM and walked into Piazza Barberini, with Wendy taking a picture of Jen and me standing in front of Bernini's Tritone Fountain with hundreds of cars whizzing around the piazza. Just before we left heading towards the Spanish Steps down via Sistina, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a 24/7 drug store across the piazza. A stroll down via Sistina is an excellent start to a sightseeing tour of Rome, and I have done that many, many times over the years. We passed the famous Hotel Hassler and right to the top of the steps, just below the church. Down into the piazza below, took some more photos, along with the multitude of people, and then feeling hungry spotted a McDonald's and went in to have some hamburgers. Imagine that !!! Here we are in the land of great Italian food, and we had McDonald's. I still cannot figure that one out. The food was weird, however, and we were very jetlagged so it didn't really matter what we ate. We then walked to The Trevi Fountain, and had a gelato  with the masses on a very, very warm Saturday evening. I recall this being the best gelato we ever had and also being incredibly hot. We then walked back to the hotel, sat in the lobby, and then went up to bed, with everyone sleeping sounding, except for me, as always happens to me. In those days I didn't bring a sleeping aid. I unpacked my clothes and realized that I could not find a medicinal item I needed badly, of a laxative nature, essential for me. I panicked and recalled the 24/7 drug store in the piazza, so at 1 AM went into it, and rang the bell of the farmacia, which looked closed tight. After a few minutes, a lovely woman came down and asked me what the problem was. I explained using hand signs, and some English that she knew, and she gave me the Italian version of what I required. Whew !!!! I then stood by the reception chatting for about an hour with the fellow manning the over night desk. He told me that he could get the train tickets we would need for our entire trip, and I was so ecstatic, I recall giving him a big tip. I had had nightmares about getting train tickets and here they were going to be waiting for me at the desk in a 2 days. Excellent !!! Went up to bed and slept for a while, day one in Italy over. I wrote in my journal that I never felt so hot and uncomfortable, and longed for our air conditioning at home, but felt that this trip had to be taken...
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