by Fred MacMurray
I thought I’d share my experiences on a recently completed trip to Rome and the Basque Country of Spain.
Hotel Teatro Pace
Via del Teatro Pace, 33
(just west of Piazza Navona on a quiet street; excellent location to walk pretty much anywhere in the areas tourists will want to visit)
Price (euros): 250/night double room; 140/night single room, breakfast included
Very good accommodations on the European scale. Quiet, clean, rooms, firm beds. Breakfast is served in the room, choose what you want from the menu the night before. Worked very well. I’d stay there again.
Campo di Fiore: Il Mercato. Kind of typical tourist restaurant, but pizza, pasta, salads, grilled vegetables were good. I had eaten there in 2009 and went back. Probably one of the better “touristy” places you can eat at for a reasonable price
Il Forno: pizza to go. Excellent.
Navona (about 4 doors down from the hotel): La Pace del Palato. Via del Teatro Pace, 42. Not a touristy menu at all. Very nice service and food. Recommend as a more upscale place when you’ve had enough regular pizza/pasta.
Gelato: not that you can really go wrong, but a couple we liked: Ice Crome and Frigidarium, both on Via del Governo Vecchio.
For the Vatican, I used MyVaticanTour.com . This was very good; I had also used them in 2009.
For Roman Forum & Colosseum, we went with The Rogue Historians. We had a private tour with Ian, but there are also group tours that are less expensive but also a mile wide and an inch deep.
Spanish Basque Country
Stayed in Bilbao
Hotel Miro Bilbao (5 min. walk from the Guggenheim Museum)
Price (euros): 200/night junior suite; 180/night deluxe king including breakfast and a complimentary snack bar in the lobby.
Modern hotel; would fit right in the US.
Serrantes III (right next to the hotel) Great seafood, especially the Fish Soup and the Fish Salad. Tremendously fresh food and good service
Pinxtos (Tapas) Bar
Casilda. Pinxtos are the Basque version of tapas. Much more elaborate than typically found in Madrid and other parts of Spain. There are plenty of other bars offering similar pinxtos; this place had the widest variety and best price (1 euro each).
Note: while there is plenty of English spoken in Rome…I think you could do it without knowing a word of Italian, English is much less common in Bilbao and the rest of the Basque Country. I happen to speak good enough Italian and I used to be practically fluent in Spanish, so my experience may have been atypical.
Happy to answer anybody’s questions, whether in the comments or privately.
Totebaggers, what places can you recommend to other travelers?