Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mediterranean Adventures - Part 2 (Rome)

One thing I forgot to mention about our NYC to Boston flight was that John Edwards and his wife were on it. Yeah everyone was seated and they made us wait for two final passengers. Guess who that was. The cool thing was that there was that the plane was too tiny for a first class section, so they sat a few rows behind us. Dana and I even used the same exclusive exit out the tail of the plane.

Anyway back to Rome. I’ll never forget the ride into Rome. I watched in awe as we actually drove around the Colosseum. After dropping off our bags (I mean just the carry on) we grabbed lunch at an authentic Italian café and I had my first cappuccino ever. We asked the Italian men to take our picture (yeah I am a huge nerd and wanted to capture the coffee moment) and they were exactly as you think…ah beautiful bella, I want a picture with you, you want to marry me, ah.We hoped on the subway and headed over to the Piazza del Campidoglio which used to be the spiritual heart of ancient Rome. Mind you it has like a hundred steps and the temperature was skirting the upper 90’s (August, go figure). The view from the top is worth the sweat though. I got my first sweeping view of modern and ancient Rome.
Next stop was the Colosseum. The road leading to this ancient monument was lined with cheesy gladiator actors and other performance artists looking for a tip. It felt like Hollywood Blvd. except we didn’t speaking the language. Okay, the Colosseum rocked. It lacked shade and escalators, so I mobbed a gelato vender outside where I enjoyed my first gelato.We wandered under the Arch of Constantine and through the ancient Roman and Imperial Forums. Essentially a bunch of ruins. The guide book would say “this building blah blah blah something interesting…all that is left is two pieces of stone”.

A quick subway trip and we were at the Spanish Steps, also known as the Times Square of Rome. You name it, card tricks, portrait artists, gelato venders, hordes of tourists, ah just like NYC. Again, more steps! We were rewarded with another amazing view, but it totally wiped us out. I did pick up a small watercolor from some street artist (most likely painted by a Chinese man).

We strolled down Via Borgognona which is like the 5th Avenue. One turn lead us to Piazza Colonna with a giant column. Another turn took us to the Trevi fountain. Okay, like the Colosseum, it is as awesome as you would imagine. You could hear the roar of the water a block away. It was extremely tempting to jump in (then again everyone had that same idea and there were signs posted all around).

I think we stumbled into the Chinatown section of Rome and did some shopping. We ended at the Piazza Barberini with the Fountana del Tritone (Posideon Triton fountain).
It was around 3pm Rome time (or boiling point for the sun) and considering we had only gotten maybe one or two hours of sleep on the plane, Dana and were fading fast (we had been up about 24 straight hours). We crashed for a well needed nap back at the hotel. Around 10pm we headed over to the Piazza del Popolo for a late dinner, or as we found out, normal dinner time for locals. This plaza is huge and normally is packed with hundreds of Italians in BYOB tables and wine. In the month of August, I guess the ENTIRE country goes away on vacation. I read about that but didn’t believe it until I saw a total of maybe 10 people in the plaza. This August vacation burns us another time, but that is a story for later. We walked up and down the tiny cobblestone quant streets looking for a place with no wait, reasonable prices and a good selection of dishes. We finally settled on a place right on the plaza which probably was touristy but felt soooo Italian. We had our authentic dinner meaning, it took easily two hours to get our food.

The funny signs:
Warning, the subway doors will close directly on your crotch.

Warning, don't let the subway hit you in the ass.

Warning, don't walk around barefoot or try to slide down the stairs.


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