Down with a cold in Rome

For days we have said: "Cheers, and down with the cold!", and it has really helped: Helle has recovered.

When I wake up, my head is top-heavy and ready to burst. I am under heavy cold attack and definitely prefer being horizontal. We cancel the planned trip to Albano in the mountains.

At a quarter to ten the maids get active, and we leave to get out of the way. There is a supermarket in a basement across the street from Santa Maria Maggiore. We buy paper napkins and some dried porcini mushrooms of a good quality for only 5.99 € for a hundred grams. That is 4-5 € cheaper than at Campo dei Fiori - regrettably.

Caffé Fantini offers shadow, coffee and the possibility to sit. We wait an hour and return to the hotel at 11:30. Fortunately the room is ready, and I can resume my horizontal position.

Payment difficulties

We go to Pesaro tomorrow, and at six I go to the reception to pay the hotel bill. The antique machine with a modem connection cannot read my VISA card. He polishes the magnetic stripe against his silk tie, but that doesn't help.

I go to the ATM just around the corner and get 250 € in cash, which is the daily limit. The crisp notes do not convince the hotel's machine though. The only thing to do is to get some more cash with Helle's card. Just before we leave, we try once more, and this time the card is accepted.

Up again

At Piazza d. Madonna dei Monti there is a small demonstration.

Demonstration at Piazza d. Madonna dei Monti

The locals protest against the dense traffic in the neighbourhood and hand out masks against the pollution. "Via del Boschetto is no autostrada " and "Traffic kills business" are some of the slogans. It is all very peaceful, and two carabinieri walk about chatting with people in the square.

Our plan was to visit the restaurant with a back yard in Via Boschetto, but instead we drop into Vecchia Trattoria, where we dined once in 2005. We are the first guests. The whole family sits by a table in front of the kitchen, but now the peace is over. The teenage son takes our order, Mamma brings bread and grissini and Papa throws another log into the stone oven.

Helle gets homemade tagliatelle with bacon as first course and I a bowl of vegetable soup. The carafe with the house red comes from the fridge, which is nice. Helle's main course is mixed grill, and I have a steak. Helle's mixed is excellent, but alas my steak is all dry. There is so much meat that we have no room for dessert and settle for coffee and grappa.

In the meantime some locals have dropped in. The ones next to us have pasta with mussels and speak non-stop on their cell phones. A man at another table finishes, pays and corks the wine bottle so he can take home the rest.

The bill is a modest 47,5 €