Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Roma Therapy

Rome, Italy (Roma, Italia)
Well, that was quick! From Praia A Mare, we haightailed it straight back to Rome for a little a-Roma therapy. Heh. Heh. You see, we had been investing so much time and effort into planning what we would do on the way to Sicily, and building our hopes up that the temperatures would be lovely and warm, that we were pretty heartbroken when we saw that weather forecast for solid thunderstorms for two weeks. To soothe our aching souls we indulged the best way we know how: pizza and gelato, gelato and pizza. 
We added ourself to the line streaming out the door to Pizzeria Di Buffeta (always a good sign that an eatery's nosh is top notch). As it was so busy, we were slotted in wherever we would fit, and dined alongside a Spanish couple and a lady from Madrid. They didn't know each other either, so we spent the meal chatting in English and Spanish about Rome and our respective countries. It was a lovely experience, topped off by the hilarious waiter (and possibly owner) who had us and the rest of the diners laughing all night. The photographs on the wall behind us featured some rather noteworthy faces such as Roberto Benini and Russel Crowe. It's nice to know that old Russ likes good quality pizza. 
What with being occupied much of the time eating and eating, we barely had time to do much else except sprint between gelaterias and restaurants. We did take a little time to snap some photos, but that wasn't our main priority. As there were so many damn hawkers around, I had it in my mind to scare a rose pedlar off with a terrifying facial concoction I had brewed up: one part mortified to one part aghast to two parts ugly. Unfortunately they weren't very interested in us, instead focusing their attention on easier prey. One guy did approach, but barely started in with "hello prego" and moved on before I could engage my facial muscles. As we watched, a hapless woman was falling down another rose seller's petalled rabbit hole and had accepted not one, not three but a large bunch of roses and was having a friendship bracelet tied around her wrist. Her boyfriend then received a matching bracelet. What a touching moment. That'll be €29.99 prego. 
Oh look, more food! Now I realise that rustic, traditional, home style food doesn't always look the most appetising, but think of the taste! At Gino's I lunched upon veal meatballs with peas, and Yannick ordered a tasty pasta dish with pecorino in butter sauce with grated cheese. It was simple, but affordable and delicious. The tiramisu rivalled Scopa's, and that's saying something! Near the parliamentary buildings, Gino's is apparently popular with politicians on their lunch break. 
Judging from my camera roll, we visited a church but I must have been too stuffed to remember what or where it was. It's pretty, though!
Having intended to visit the Villa Borghese, we were a bit disappointed to find that there was a four day waitlist to enter. Instead, we strolled the surrounding park for a leisurely morning away from the crowds of Spagna and stepped past lovers lying entwined in the grass, frozen abnormally in mid-selfie. 
One square we passed through on our wanderings brought us face-to-hood with this fellow. Though he's really a monk, Yannick said he looked just like a badass parkour and knifery expert from the game Assassins' Creed. It's all in the hood, I tell you. 
Our last meal in the capital was back in Trastevere at Da Lucia restaurant. On the way there we had attempted to find our way into the Jewish Quarter but couldn't work out how. We could see it but hadn't a clue how to get there! So we gave up and ate more. Our Da Lucia waiter was quite the character, as it seems Italian waiters are as a rule. At some point I approached him and asked where the bathroom was, to which he replied in a forlorn manner "Oh I'm sorry, we don't have one" and as soon as my face showed surprise, he broke out in a grin "Just kidding, right this way!" He also teased the diners next to us by asking if they wanted red or rosso wine (rosso means 'red' in Italian). As per usual, the meal was excellent, but it was the dessert that stood out to us. Recommended by Lonely Planet as being potentially the best tiramisu in Rome, we found it much too custardy and not much like traditional tiramisu at all. Ya swung and missed this time, LP! That night we collapsed into our tent and slumbered like great felled trees, immovable and silent.