Dine with Alfredo in Rome

Somebody had to create the delightful dishes that we love to eat. At times those that created have not evolved and therefore are no longer making the best dishes. Most people like fettuccine alfredo, what’s not to like.

The Giants growing up in Arizona have watched guacamole made at the table when dining at many different restaurants. What Giants have never seen is fettuccine mixed with alfredo sauce table side. They still haven’t seen this since sauce was never part of the process at the restaurant by the creator of fettuccine alfredo. Alfredo used butter and cheese.

So how was the signature dish?


The smallest Giant started off his tasting by sharing concern that his allotment was not enough. He ended it by saying that the restaurant should use the sauce out of the bottle like at home.

Giants rating for the fettuccine alfredo:

Back to the beginning of the visit. For the Giants it started 2.5 months earlier when they booked a hard to get reservation for July 12, 2018. Good thing they did. The Giants walked in after a nice family of three that was flatly turned away since they had no reservation. In clear English, “Sir the tables you see open are for guests that booked them months ago.” One can imagine the momentary fear the Giants had when the reservation book didn’t include the Goodman name. Confirmation was produced by the Father of Giants and the group was sat for dinner.

Service was friendly enough (a little stuffy for kids and their parents). It seemed until the bill came that the great tasting chilled water was complementary. The water rating:

The Giants should have asked prior to many refills whether the water came at a per container cost – it does. A modest €2.50 each which is far less than some places that go as high as €8 per bottle. The first bottle was offered and no price could be found on the menu. The following bottles were ordered and no warnings were given that college funds would be depleted if Giants continued to hydrate. Lesson learned.

The Mother of Giants loves fried zucchini.

“I have never had better fried zucchini than this.” – Mother of Giants

“It’s like they are French-fried zucchini.” – Daughter of Giants

Fried zucchini rating:

Desserts and other dishes:

That’s right, nothing special and some items disappointing including the three desserts tried.

What about the family turned away? Well there was plenty of room that they could have dined in the time the Giants were there. Alfredo has to protect his good name by not letting the unreserved masses in whatever the cost.

This action gives Alfredo a Friendliness to Tourists rating of:

Overall rating of IL VERO ALFREDO:

Not Got Moxy

Moxy by Marriott without the Marriott branding on or in the building.

The best hotel customer service experienced on EPIC Camp Goodman was at the Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof. The 1st night all three rooms were upgraded to premium rooms by the staff! The second night brought to the Giants by an easyJet cancellation were offered by Moxy at a discount of 10 Euros a room compared to the previous night! These are some easily documented courtesies – the staff went much further in friendliness, concern for Giants stranded, and efforts to accommodate. Moxy staff puts accommodate in accommodations.

Giants rate the Moxy staff on Friendliness to Tourists:

The rooms, premium and regular, are clean, nicely appointed in a modern way, and provide comfortable beds. Good to see that finally new hotels are willing to not put phones in their rooms and adopt the mobile culture of 2018. The rooms minus artwork and preset hotel advertisements on the TVs rated:

Based on the ads running on the TV home screens Moxy is a brand marketed to those that are interested in hooking up. The non-subtle images and clear words promoted the concepts of the hotel – very clear images. By booking through Marriott the Giants did not know that suggestive images including partial nudity would be part of the stay. Would the Giants book Moxy again with kids – no. Did the Giants stay a second night rather than travel across town for the win, lose, or draw lottery once they were forced to stay an extra night – yes. To highlight the culture of the hotel, each room had an alarm button by the bed.

Graphic photos not taken by Giants or posted on this family travel blog.

Total number of Goodmans if you know what you are getting into:

Excuse Me, Sorry You Can’t Sleep

A great part of train travel can be laying out flat on the opposite vacant seat. This is far better than winning with a whole row of 3 on a plane. The train seats in compartments create a full bed! Huge win when you can get it. During the high season of the summer it is nearly impossible without booking the extra seats which of course doubles the cost of travel.

What might it be like to wake up two travelers from Denmark in Germany at 9:30am who have scored this great find? With beds laid out, shoes off, heat on to make the compartment cozy…

Well,,,,,the Giants know what it might be like.

9:25am Deutsche Bahn Dortmund to Hamburg shows up a few minutes late and the overhead announcement in the station says that the cars have been reassigned.

Boarding the train staff curtly shares that there are no seat reservations and that everyone must find seats where they can. Easy for the groups sizes 1-3. A head start was clearly achieved by those with more than 1 year of high school German. A kind enough English speaking passenger translated into the Giant’s native tongue and the train wide search began. After a full pass through the only seats together were two in one compartment – taken by the two oldest Giant children. And next to that compartment were the two whose sock covered feet are pictured here:

Guten morgen would have been a way to start this conversation upon reflection. Let’s all pretend that it started that way and that the four seatless Giants made life long friends from Denmark and that all will be summering in Greece together next year. Truth is different, including a German woman who left her bag in the compartment looking for a better option returning and graciously finding a single elsewhere (maybe as this is typed she is wondering the halls?!).

As time passes it is clear that the problem is getting worse as more weary travelers go car to car hoping for the luck of waking up the Danes train stop after train stop. Given multiple passes, questioning looks, and sad faces clearly many may be standing including the Father of Giants by the end of this ride.

The staff is ok. Do not fret. They have two full compartments (12 seats) so that all 5 of them have a place to sit. Expressing frustration to Deutsche Bahn staff that were moments earlier fluent in English quickly turns into a lesson in customer service. You know the training videos on how to make your prison guests feel welcome – it is like those.

Giants rating in Friendliness to Tourists for the IC Deutsche Bahn (train):

Giants rating of train:

Picture included to highlight that the traded out train cars were not the very restricted, non-refundable, discounted 1st class accommodations. Plan ahead and save is the Giant way. With that level of planning 1st should still be 1st. For those that might now think, “why didn’t the Giants simply find seating in 2nd class rather than waking the sleepers?” The search for seats was in all three classes of the train.

Many German travelers seemed so accepting of the change, taking it all in stride, that the Giants worry that that today’s adventure will have a sequel or two.

Hertz Closed Early and Stranded Giants

11:00pm at night in Paris at the Hertz counter that is scheduled to close at 11:30pm and nobody is there. This after a day of a delayed ferry, race car taxi, and a run that allowed a glimpse of a departing train – well worth the read by clicking here.

After a 40 minute unproductive phone call with Hertz (talking to 4 different team members through escalated transfers), and a 30 minute taxi ride to the hotel the Father of Giants realized that the reservation with Enterprise at Versailles for the next morning never was cancelled. What a miracle since all 6 passenger vehicles were triple the booked price and none with automatic (driving stick isn’t normal for the Giants and a refresher course with 6 lane roundabouts isn’t advisable). Morning traffic is Paris is being navigated by a professional while this post is completed.

Oh there is more. Last night when the Giants left the train station for a taxi there was a line of 100 people queued for taxis – Paris is busy and with a train strike things are worse than normal during this high season. The facilitator at the taxi line enquired how many we were and put us right into the first taxi – to do so he took a lady out of it, she was already boarding!

Tower of London is a Must See that Could Be Skipped

Tower of London is a Must See that Could Be Skipped. If Giants could do it over again they likely wouldn’t do it again. Nothing to go back for a second visit for sure.

Crown Jewels are at The Tower of London. Giant advice: get in the line for the Crown Jewels when the line is short. Gotta jump when the time is right. Like anything there is an ebb and flow, and when things ebb jump in line. If at that time some of your group goes to the loo what do you do? Stay in line, see at exit that the timing choice was golden given the hour long queue that was fifteen minutes, and be glad that Londoners are rule followers who will help Giants navigate the structure of things. When the loo goers tried to cut through the line to join the other four it was strictly forbidden and the line had already grown quite long. After a firm rejection to the request to reunite the family for viewing of the jewels a staff member approached the Mother of Giants and said, “Looks like you have a limp.” Limp-less with an excuse given the Giants saw the Crown Jewels together. Soon the phrase, “As Nice as a Londoner” will be commonly said if this continues.

Yeoman tour was what the Giants abandoned early to get in the shorter queue. Tour was interesting enough, but not interesting enough to have a long wait later.

Tower of London rating:

Friendliness to Tourists rating: