Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Whole Lotta Gelato Love

Of all my honeymoons, THIS was the best: ROME. Wow! Romantic, delicious, beautiful, educational. Don and I headed down south for five days of pizza, gelato and pasta, stopping off first for an overnight visit with Sophie and Mickey in their adorable new home in Cambridge, England. They set the tone for us nicely -- kedgeree and crumble with custard! GAH!

We opted to take the rent-an-apartment route rather than get squeaked out of every euro we had to our name in an sketchy train-station hotel. I've had too many bummer experiences of gauze-thin walls and beds of granite in "hotels," so I booked a sweet little apartment 2 blocks away from St. Peter's Basilica. It was SUPER cozy! And the hordes of overjoyed cockroaches were more than happy to sweep away any miniscule morsel of food-like substance that we had either spilled or tracked in with us. My valiant husband sent each and every one packing to Jesus (only 2 blocks away!) as I wimpered and acted the role of terrified newlywed wife, according to the script. My hero!

Spending time in Italy without the option of swilling barrels of wine can kind of turn you into a Debbie Downer, so I chose to eat everything I possibly could instead. The food got better and better...





Unfortunately, the toilet situation did NOT get better. It is hugely puzzling to me that Rome seems to be a place where toilet seats are not all that important. Okay, so, this is not quite the Italy of my youth where, at 6 years old, I cried in fury and deep humiliation as pee splashed all over my legs from having to squat and aim for a tiny hole in the ground. I guess things have now improved -- there are actual sit-down toilets these days. But no toilet seats? Am I being a snobby American? Perhaps so. Maybe they ARE kind of unnecessary? The whole time in Rome, this became my minor obsession, and I reported the contents of each cubicle to Don after every pit-stop, which, during pregnancy, can be an hourly thing. I wondered if maybe the city was trying to cut costs; no toilet seats would eliminate that pricey order from the toilet factory. Did they have a problem with rowdy tourists stealing them as souvenirs to take home? Could it be that Italians all carry their own personal Fendi or Gucci toilet seats? After a lot of mulling and discussion with Don, I've concluded that modern Romans are just too darn busy for toilet seats. I mean, who has the time? All this up-down-up-down business, and then that weekly cleaning? Forget about it! Look for Versace to be the first on the blinged-out catheter market in the spring.

Back to food: This photo is one of my favorites. In a pizza-by-the-ounce place near the Vatican, one could choose from pies loaded with mushrooms, spinach, Serrano ham, eggplant, buffalo mozzarella, sausage, or this -- sliced hot dogs and French fries. Yes, please!!!



Agressive cockroaches aside, our apartment was in a pretty great location. We walked through St. Peter's Square most mornings, marvelling at the throngs of tourists. In truth, we did hear more English than Italian around there, with a good bit of Japanese, Chinese and German, too.





A pre-lunch walk along the Tiber River...



A piazza with fountains...



On a lovely little street just after a truly fabulous lunch...



Making toast Italian-style...



At the Colosseum...






Inside the Pantheon...




At the spectacular Trevi Fountain...




Walking home over the Tiber to our little cockroaches...




Our bedroom ceiling was laid with bricks and mortar, and one morning, Don spied a dog paw print in one of the bricks. Bella was sending us all her love and kisses...



We walked so much that we hardly gained more than a pound or two, so not a bad take. We did make it to the Vatican (probably the most crowded place I've been in my entire life) (yes, even more than that George Michael concert in 1986), but I'm sorry to report that the most interesting thing there was a collection of Popemobiles spanning the past two hundred years. Lots and lots and lots of crucifixes, however. The Sistine Chapel was incredible, though there were so many people crammed in there, each spouting his own commentary about whatever, it was a little tough to block it all out. We're talking shoulder-to-shoulder, for real. Major points to Don for shushing the unbelievably loud American goon next to me who saw fit to lecture to his companion (and the rest of us) in outside-voice. Not cool, dude. I know this is a little like going to Times Square on New Year's Eve and complaining about the crowds, but MAN, maybe let just a few people in the chapel at a time? Or install a moving sidewalk, like at the crown jewels in the Tower of London? Yeah, go with the moving sidewalk, Benedict. All in all, an excellent five days. Yay Rome! (Sorry, roaches.)

3 comments:

NotQuiteDanish said...

Nothing like a bit of entertaining in a new town, even if the guests do have an exoskeleton... :) On a less macabre not, I'd quite forgotten how marvellous the food is in Italy. I've sat here drooling, chomping on dark bread and skinkesalat - not bad but not exactly pizza.

I tend to judge the great cities of the world by their ice cream (I'm a Libra, that's what we do) and Rome is way up there but I have to say, Copenhagen takes some beating. Still, licking away while walking on those ancient Roman streets does get a 10 for atmosphere...

EKinDK said...

You ain't kidding, NQD. I felt like I was on a film set with personal assistants bringing me fresh gelato before my next gladiator scene. You know who has pretty terrible ice cream? Germany. It's good if you enjoy sucking on ice, I suppose. Italian gelato is so good it even keeps me from talking!

Bluefish said...

So nice! I'm very jealous:)