Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tuesday + {Day Twenty-Two: Rome}

At the place we're staying, the bed we're sleeping on is a weird fold-out couch that is essentially a plank of wood with a mattress that was maybe two inches thick. Certainly not the best sleep, but halfway through the night we started sleeping sideways in the bed and that made it bearable (but only just). Definitely the worst bed of the trip so far.
We got off to a slow start today. For Shannon and Sarah, Rome is the last stop on their trip (minus a brief layover in Paris). Not sure if it was the end of the trip fatigue, homesickness, or the fact that none of us are particularly excited about Rome, but we were dragging physically and emotionally.

Still, we managed to scrape ourselves together enough to get some food. While a lot of the food is delicious in Italy, the simple fact is so much of it is similar that, soon enough, it doesn’t matter if it’s the best pizza you’ve ever had… you’d give anything for a second-rate practically-anything-except-pizza meal.

After running around the city for way too long trying to figure out how the public transportation works, we finally made it to this really great pizza restaurant. The man who served us was wonderful and the pizzas were these half-unbaked one-person servings and after you pick out which one you want they pop it into the oven and it comes out warm and freshly baked.

The restaurant didn’t have any chairs/tables, though, so the four of us headed out to the street around the corner to eat. After we enjoyed our literal street food, we headed next to the Trevi Fountain. It was gorgeous, but packed with people. We threw in the obligatory coin according to the legend (if you toss a coin in, you’ll come back to Rome), but after our experiences in Rome, I’m not sure if any of us are particularly eager for that wish to come true.

After the fountain, we headed over to Valentino’s, this amazing gelato place. Run by Valentino and his wife, the place was bustling. He doesn’t hesitate to change your flavors if he thinks you will enjoy something more and no matter what you order, he suggests the order in which he thinks you should eat it. I got dark chocolate (since I read a review that that was one of his specialties), coffee, and coconut. He said I should eat first the coffee, then the coconut, then the dark chocolate. I couldn’t finish the gelato, but only because the dark chocolate was so rich. 

After gelato, we headed over to the Spanish Steps and sat awhile. Then we headed home, once again navigating the treacherous metro system. Every other city we have visited has had a relatively great, easy-to-use metro system. But Rome has a weird smattering of trams, buses, the metro (the underground/subway system), and night buses. The trams and the metro were always packed. Not just sort of full, either, but bodies wedged in so tightly that you couldn’t even move your hands if you wanted to. And every time you think the metro or the tram or whatever you’re on is full, anywhere between one and three more people squeeze on at every stop.

By the time we got home, we were too exhausted to go back out, so we decided to eat in again. This time Gooligan somehow whipped up fajita-like burritos; she uses the leftover bell pepper, steak, tortillas, and beans—this single tiny can she found crammed amongst all the pasta sauces and packaged noodles. I'm not entirely sure how she managed to cook in the closet-kitchen, but it was perfecto like her cooking always is! Even cooked in our tiny cabinet-kitchen it was one of the best meals of this trip.


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