Saturday, November 26, 2011



In May of 1996, Ed Crowley, my roommate, won a week's trip to Rome. He did it by being the best salesman in the United States for his Italian pharmaceutical company—Serono. The trip was both a series of work assignments and a vacation. He was allowed to bring his wife, but talked the company into allowing me to come along!

  ---Ah, Rome! 

Rome was a delight in late spring. Her monuments, sights and sounds were alluring. 

Generally, Ed typically spent the mornings and early afternoons working for the company. I had the entire time for vacation. I went around to various sites in the morning and Ed and I would have a late lunch in the afternoon followed by sightseeing and enjoying the city. Ed told me, of course, about his work. One of the most interesting stories was about a trip to a nunnery in the countryside. Serono employees had the function of picking up nun's urine from various remote spots. The urine contained a excellent concentration of a particular substance used in their drugs. That was a surprising story!

One evening, three of his Italian colleagues took us to a fantastic restaurant. It was the famous Villa Borghese in the Borghese Gardens overlooking Rome. 

First of all, driving up to the entrance, there were liveried footmen holding torches! We chose to eat on the terrace overlooking Rome. 
The menu had no prices. I can't even imagine how much it cost.

Ed and I enjoyed Rome. It's a fascinating city

  ---the Eternal City.

We decided to take an additional week to tour Italy. So,



Caliban said...

I, too, visited the Villa Borghese, but it was much later than you. It was in 2000. In fact, I stayed nearby at a quaint inn. I had a wonderful time visiting the sites, the ancient ruins, the Vatican, museums, etc.

However, I found Rome filled with pick pockets and thieves who stood ever ready to rob you -- especially pre-teen and early teen year gypsies, both boys and girls. This is especially true when you travel alone, but also even entire families were victimized in broad daylight, often by packs of wild gypsy children.

One such 14-year gypsy girl grabbed my arm with both hands in public on a main thoroughfare and wouldn't let go. She relied on the fact most men are reluctant to knock a girl in the face.

While I fought to pull her arm off mine, turning around fast and almost slinging her into the busy street, her nimbled-fingered mother pilfered my pockets. A man driving along the road stopped and pulled the girl off my arm.

Luckily, her nasty Mom only go one credit card and a small amount of cash, because I wasn't carrying anything else. I had to travel with a money belt after that. The younger gypsies are usually not prosecuted because of their age and lax politically-correct enforcement. Tourists pay the price for this stupid gesture.

When I went to the American Express office to report the stolen card, you could hardly elbow your way in. All the people there were victims of Rome's thieving gypsies and vagabonds.

There are also fake cab drivers who will solicit in the airport and drive you your hotel and charge you ten time the going rate. Never, ever accept a ride except from official cabbies.

My motto when in Rome: travel with others, never alone. Beware of everyone around you. Chances are one of them is a thief waiting an opportunity to pounce. Anyone who is friendly is automatically suspect. Makes it hard to have a good time.

software said...

nice post

Don Voth said...

Robert, So sorry you had a rough time! I remember none of that sort of thing.

Don Voth said...

Thank you, software.