Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Fabulous Weekend in Rome

So last night, over what might have been our fifth meal including some form of carbonara, John and I looked at each other through truly blood shot eyes and asked each other where the time went.   

When you travel, I find it helps to write down what you did, otherwise, one event starts to blend into the last and all of a sudden you are at the end and can’t for the life of you remember anything.   

I remember Thursday morning very clearly.   I remember waking up before my 7:45am alarm.    I remember the last minute tidying.   The excitement of getting ready.   I remember heading downstairs at 9:47am (two minutes later than we had agreed to, but still, not bad).    I brought my Italian dictionary outside with me.   Needed to look busy amongst the crowded street of Italians who always seem to either be on their phones or talking excitedly to friends.   Killed a few minutes reading up on how to buy train tickets correctly.   Got antsy and walked out onto Corso to see if I had missed the taxi.   Turned around no less than 30 seconds later and in the exact spot where I had been sitting, is John.    He has a way of catching me off guard.   Feel happy again.

Fast forward to last night.    Dinner, another round of gelato, another round of coins in the fountain, and just like that we are at home packing and getting ready to say goodbye.  

I think this is a good sign.   Just sad that time flew by so quickly.   

I think we remembered most of what we did.   I will say it consisted of lots and lots of walking which we both love, only two minor meltdowns on my part (yes, blood sugar related), eating and drinking too much, going to bed and sleeping in too late (I am a bad influence), and just enjoying being together in Rome.    It had been just six weeks since we were last here for our engagement.   I have to say, that trip was definitely even more of a blur.    Lack of jet lag, on my part, helped with this time around.   Highly recommend arriving by ship if you can spare the time!

A selection of highlights, followed by photos:
  • Lunch at Armando al Pantheon  - first of many rounds of carbonara.    Get there early if you go.   It was crowded.  Inside seating only.   A very nice first lunch together.
  • Walking through Rome to Testaccio.   Dinner at Pizzeria Remo.  Perfect casual, friendly, place for really thin pizza.    Would work perfectly with a cold beer, although I am certain I had wine.   Skip the appetizers.   Pizza rivals da Baffeto.  Still on the search for my perfect version.     Fun, casual, yummy.
  • Canoodling (is this a word?) in the Aventino park high on the hillside over looking the city, late dusk, very romantic.  
  • Fabulous walk home through all of the ancient sites lit up at night.
  • Friday morning meltdown near Campo di Fiori.   John desparate to figure out how to deal with me.  I think he’s got it now.    
  • Lunch around the corner at Piazza Farnese.   Yes, basically the first place we could find post meltdown.  Surprisingly very good.   Super cute and friendly waiter.   Adorable family next to us that kept us entertained.   Carbonara.   Again.
  • Stroll along the Tiber.   Relaxing at the Vatican post hordes of tourist buses departing.    The key is to definitely arrive in the late afternoon.  I won’t go as far as to say you’ll have the place to yourself, but if you can eliminate a couple thousand tourists from the mix, you’ll find yourself in a much better spot.
  • Dinner at our engagement restaurant.  Osteria della’Antiquario.    I could seriously eat here each and every night.    The people are fantastic.   They definitely remembered us and as usual took very good care of us.   The food was wonderful as always (yes, another carbonara).    Fun diversion with a pretty decent fire at the building around the corner while we were eating outside.   Added to the atmosphere!    A present of limoncello to end the evening.   Very very nice.

Saturday really deserves its own entry.   May 1 is May Day in Italy.   Just like the US version of Labor Day.     Although I need to understand it better, I picked up on a couple of traditions.  Of course, limited working and spending time with families and friends were at the top of the list.    Also, locals try and escape to the country or hills outside of Rome to enjoy time together.    Eating fava beans and pecorino cheese.  

With that in mind, I decided that it was also time for us to escape.   Frascati was just the right spot.   A half hour outside of Rome by train from Termini.   Easy, easy and a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Before we left, I spent a little time with google and found this perfect blog post describing exactly what I wanted to do in Frascati.  How lucky is that?   So, I transcribed it all in my little notebook and armed with knowledge and a desire to get going, we headed to Termini, bought our tickets and were on the 11:52 train, just as described.  

Of primary importance for this trip was a special visit to Leda, the Queen of Pork.  This name has been making me giggle for days.  I think I’ve gotten it out of my system now.   In any event, we followed my badly written directions and ended up right there.   How exciting.   Fumbled through our request and ended up with the most perfect porchetta picnic… ever.    Before the picnic was the other minor meltdown, but I got through that pretty quickly.    Picked up a bottle of Frascati and sat on the wall overlooking the city and had a wonderful lunch.   This is where we diverted from the directions.   The cantina that we were supposed to go to was filled with locals who were clearly there for the afternoon and were not budging.   Their tables were filled with huge green fava beans and cheese.   Fun to watch.    I also wonder if those are just like really big edamame…    I digress.

Post picnic, a stroll back through town and back on to train just in time for 2:29 departure.  A perfect afternoon in many ways.

Back in town, I wanted to bring John to St. Giovanni en Laterano.    This is the church that I prayed for him at when he was taking his first round of boards.    I figured he might want to pay it a visit and say thanks.   Just so happened that the piazza there is home to a huge public concert on May Day so I figured we would kill two birds with one stone and hang out for a bit.   Swung through Mary Maggiore and down Merulana and then followed the music and teenagers.    Turns out the church was closed, but the concert was definitely there.   Spent an hour or so just hanging out and doing some intense people watching.     Lots of fun.  

Left there to head back my way.   Wanted to show John the Borghese park on this trip.   Got all kinds of lost in totally new (to me) neighborhoods behind the Colosseum.   Quirinale I think?    Anyway, finally ran into Via Veneto and then, the Park.   Enjoyed a final walk through and then back at home.  

Seriously time for a shower at this point.    Was truly looking forward to this.   Got in and waited, and waited, and waited for the water to turn hot.   Realized it wasn’t going to happen and then realized that someone (not naming names) turned the switch to the zero setting.      For the uninitiated, that means at least two hours without hot water after turning it back to one.   So much for that hot shower…

And now here we are at dinner, recapping the events of the last couple of days and wondering how we got here so fast.

A final note, before ending up at the Trevi for the coin tossing, we made a little pilgrimage to San Crispino which is now my new favorite gelataria in Rome.    Had been reading mixed reviews lately and had mentally prepared both of us for some brisk service but we were both pleasantly surprised.    I will definitely be back.   Highly recommend the Valharona chocolate (well, John recommends it)!

And now it is May 2.   I’ve been suffering from a post fun weekend hangover, feeling a little sorry for myself and just relaxing inside on this rainy day.   It is funny how the weather here always seems to reflect my mood.  Or maybe influence is a better word.    

John is somewhere flying over the ocean.    I can’t believe I have been here a month already.  

This is really long and overly detailed.   Stay tuned for tomorrow’s shorter installment where I pontificate on why living in Rome is a little bit like falling in love. 


  1. Great traveling with you!
    Your photos are gorgeous!

  2. Thank you Carol Emma! Traveling solo can get lonely at times... love your company!

  3. Wow what beautiful pictures! It looks like you are having a great vacation. One day I must get to Rome!


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