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O Solo Roma - Day 3 - Oddities and Favorite Tourist Sites

Day Three in my solo tour of Rome. Exploring famous tourist sites.


View O Solo Roma July 2016 on littlesam1's travel map.

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Day three was an interesting day. It was the first day I actually ventured away from the immediate area where I was staying. My main goal for the day was to see The Spanish Steps, Throw a coin the Trevi Fountain and buy a Hard Rock Café Tee shirt. I more or less achieved all of these goals. Returning to my room the previous evening I spent some time with my guide book plotting out the locations I wanted to see my third day. I rarely use maps when I travel. I am not good with maps and hate to struggle with deciphering them. I usually let who ever I am traveling with deal with maps and I just follow them hoping they have figured out where we are going. I can use maps. I am not helpless. I just don't enjoy the process and try to avoid the task. But traveling alone I had no choice. It was either work with the maps or just walk around and get lost, which is not always the worst thing to happen.

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Piazza del Popolo

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Santa Maria del Popolo

I started out from what was to become my central point in Rome Piazza del Popolo. I took a photo of Santa Maria del Popolo Church which is used for the opening scene in Rome in the movie Angels and Demons. The church was beautiful inside. But because it was Sunday and I walked into the church during mass I was unable to take any photos. I had planned to return because there was an angle by Bernini that I wanted to see but for one reason or another I never had to the chance to venture back inside. And it was a big mistake on my part as I was in Piazza del Popolo almost every day of my vacation and exploring the works of Bernini was one of my big goals of the holiday.

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I walked down Via del Babuino towards the Spanish steps. This is a major shopping street for tourists. Before finind the steps I saw two things that I found interesting and a bit odd in my opinion. I saw some very unusual shoes in one of the store windows. Then just past the store with the shoes I saw a second thing I found odd. It was a clothing store named Roy Rogers. When I think of Roy Rogers that last thing I think of is fashion.

To me Roy Rogers is a famous American movie star who made western movies and TV shows when I was a child. And then years later he opened up a roast beef sandwich chain. I never connected the name with a clothing store. Funny though, as I was writing this blog I tried to research the store brand to find some information about it and I found the store I had seen is now closed permanently. I guess this store rode off into the sunset along with the old cowboy hero.

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I ventured on to find the Spanish Steps. I have recently learned that Rome has passed laws to prevent people from sitting on the steps. They have had issues with too many tourists and are trying to protect the steps. But for years tourists have looked forward to seeing the steps and taking photos sitting on them. So my first goal of the day was to locate the steps and ask a friendly stranger to take my photo. But to my surprise the steps were closed! The square was still full of people but all they got see was a set of empty white steps. No beautiful flowers. No tourists sitting on the steps. But the crowd was still large and many were sitting around Fontana della Barcaccia at the bottom of the steps.

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Crowds walking to Trevi Fountain

I then continued to walk down Via del Babuino. I cut across Via Barberini down to Via Del Corso. From there I approached Piazza Trevi. I could hear the crowds before I walked around the corner to find the Trevi Fountain.

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The crowds were insane. It was all but impossible to get close enough to the fountain to try to throw in a coin and take a photo. Being alone I had no one to take a photo and it was too crowded to take out my selfie stick without decapitating someone. So I decided to just step back and watch the crowds and take some photos from a distance.

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I walked across the Piazza to the church Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi. There was a large group of people setting on the steps. I joined them. From there I was able to get a few selfie stick photos of myself with the fountain in the background. Fortunately no one was decapitated.

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I did finally find a friendly stranger to take my photo at the Trevi fountain also.

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I left Piazza Trevi and walked up Via Lavatorie to Via del Traforo. From there I walked up too Via del Tritone so I could walk to Piazza Barberini where I wanted to see a fountain by Bernini. I read about the fountain in my guide book the previous evening. This would be my first major Bernini sculpture to see.

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I really liked this fountain a lot. It was a Bernini design which was important to me. And there were no crowds. It was no where near the size of the Trevi fountain. But it was very near so I did not understand why no one was visiting the fountain.

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There was no one near to take my photo so I had to use the selfie stick.

Leaving the Tritone Fountain I headed towards the Hard Rock Cafe. Before arriving at the cafe though I did see another oddity. I saw a very interesting lady on the side walk smoking a cigar. I don't see a lot of ladies smoking cigars so I had to get a photo.

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I know it's touristy but when I travel I really enjoy visiting Hard Rock Cafe's. I have a huge colletction of Hard Rock Cafe tee shirts. The HRC in Rome is a smaller café than some others I have visited. But I did have a beer at the bar before purchasing my tee shirt. I had a Peroni Nastro Azzurro. It was a good choice and the first beer I had in Rome. It's difficult to pass up all of the good Italian wines for a beer.

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And I got to hear James Brown singing "I Feel Good" while at the cafe. And after the heat of the day I did feel good after having that cold beer. This left me time for one more selfie stick photo. I was really enjoying the selfie on this trip.

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Food? I had a lot of good food opportunities on my third day. It's Rome of course. And my food adventures were excellent.

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I had a delicious Pasta Bolognese at Piazza Mignanelli for lunch. And it's not a meal without a glass of wine when in Rome. I also really like the pasta plate a lot and would have loved to have found some to buy for home.

Later in the day I had dinner at Restaurante Rosati I beautiful restaurant with side walk dining in Piazza del Popolo. I read on the menu that the restaurant originally opened in 1922 which is the year my father was born. I know he was in Rome in World War II and I know he had no time for restaurants. But it was a nice feeling to make the connection to him while dining here.

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I had Penne Arrabbiata, white wine and a glass of limoncello after my dinner. Once again the pasta bowl was beautiful.

I then walked back down Via Cola di Rienzo to return to my hotel. I stopped by Portofina Café for a huge gelato dessert. It was called a Volcano. There was liquid nitrogen in the bottom of the glass making it smoke like a Volcano. It was a fun dessert and the perfect ending to my day.

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There were several more odd things I noticed during my day. When you are traveling alone there is a lot of time to notice things you might overlook if you are with someone else. You might be busy talking. Or making plans. Or looking at each others photos while eating. But being alone it's easier to pick up on things that might go unnoticed. Some of these were just odd. One was kind of funny. And one was down right creepy.

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One thing I saw would not go unnoticed alone or with someone else. Although it was a very nice restaurant the toilet at Restaurante Rosati was a bit disturbing. There was no toilet seat!

Also while having my dinner I noticed a young couple at the table next to me. The young girl was very attentive to the young man which was fine. But then for no reason I understood she took off her shoe and pushed her foot up underneath of his. And that is how they finished their meal. Maybe he liked it. Maybe not. But had I been with Mark I might have missed this.

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At the end of my evening while having my gelato I noticed a man dressed in clown make up holding balloons in his hand. He was greeting children who entered the restaurant and also talking to their parents. And he was staring at me! And I was alone! Headlines the next day...lonely tourist murdered by crazed clown with creepy smile on Via Cola di Rienzo in Rome.

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When I was back in my hotel as I relaxed I texted Mark on my laptop. We laughed about the weird clown. I sent him a copy of the photo. We also had a laugh about the girl with her foot underneath her boyfriend while having dinner. And then just like the two previous nights Mark asked me if I had gone to Trastevere. And once more I had not gotten there yet.

Posted by littlesam1 17:37 Archived in Italy Tagged beer italy rome spanish_steps clowns hard_rock_cafe trevi_fountain bernini Comments (6)

Bad Ass Beer at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge

Exploring the historic Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville with my daugher


View The Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes Tour - Nashville on littlesam1's travel map.

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My daughter Katie had to travel to Nashville in October 2017 for a work conference. As part of my 65th birthday celebration year she invited me to travel with her to Nashville for the week. I had never been to Nashville before so I was glad to be invited. She would be busy all day at her conference which allowed me lots of time to explore the Music City and see what kind of trouble I could get into.

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Most of what I knew about Nashville I learned watching Ralph Emery on Nashville Now which was on the CMT channel in the 1980's. I worked night work back in those days. When I would get home at midnight I would turn on Nashville Now and my daughters Katie and Danielle would crawl out of their beds and come out to join me watching the show. So it was very appropriate that Katie and I got to share this trip now that she is an adult. When we arrived I knew I wanted to go find Tootsie's Orchid Lounge on Broadway in Nashville. All of the stars on Nashville Now used to talk to Ralph Emery about sneaking out of the back door of The Ryman Auditorium and go into the back door of Tootsie's for a quick drink between shows of The Grand Ole Opry. So after my tour of The Ryman Auditorium I knew I would want to go out that back door and head over to the back door of Tootsie's. You can see the brick wall of the back of the Ryman on the left in the photo and the back door of Tootsie's on the left.

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Tootsie's is a tourist trap. No question about that. It opens at 10:00 in the morning and the crowds are waiting for the doors to open. There are bars with music on all three levels of the building including a roof top deck with music also. I arrived at 10:30 that morning. The bar was already crowded. When I went in the back door I followed the sound of the music and found the front bar on the first floor. There was a band playing and everyone in the bar was singing along with the band. The woman who was lead singer of the band was standing on top of the bar singing Patsy Cline songs. She was singing Walking After Midnight at 10:30 in the morning. It was all that I could have hoped for.

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It was early morning but after all I was in Nashville so I had to have a beer. I stood at the end of the bar and asked for a beer menu. It did not take me long to decide. I saw the name Badass Beer. What could be more perfect than to have a Badass Beer at Tootsie's my first day in Nashville. And it gives a good travel story to share. I can tell everyone I had a Badass beer in Nashville.

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I finished my beer, walked to the front door, left a tip in the bucket for the band, and then found my way back out to Broadway. As I left there was still a small line of people waiting to get inside Tootsie's. They should have watched Ralph Emery in the 1980's or at least read a guide book. Use the back door folks. There is no line!

Katie's conference ended two days later. I took her into downtown Nashville to show her all that I had discovered while she was working. So I course I had to show her Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. We walked down Broadway and when we arrived the lines were twice as long at Tootsie's as they were in the morning of my visit. She looked at the line and said "Dad we will never get in there tonight but it looks like a fun place." I told her follow me. I know a secret. I took her to the alley behind the Ryman Auditorium and showed her the back entrance to Tootsie's. There was no line. We were able to get inside, fight the crowds and get up to the rooftop deck. It was too crowded to bother trying to get a beer at the bar. But she was able to experience Tootsie's the way the stars did back in the day. Through the back door in the alley.

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Posted by littlesam1 22:05 Archived in USA Tagged beer tennessee bars nashville tootsie's_orchid_lounge tourist_traps bad_ass_beer nashville_now ralph_emery Comments (3)

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