Recently, I have written about my trip to Italy, specifically my experience in Vatican City. That prompted me to write about the rest of my trip to Rome.
While I do not remember some of the events in sequence, the memories are still fresh. This post will consists mainly of pictures with a few interesting personal experiences/ thoughts.
Piazza Del Popolo
In Rome, the hotel we stayed in was a stone throw away from Piazza del Popolo. Right after we dropped our luggage in our accommodation, this was the first place in Rome we really explored. Not that we have done any research beforehand, I must say we came upon Piazza del Popolo by chance.
It was that grand entrance which caught our eyes. Once we have crossed the street and stepped through, the Piazza opened up with beautiful architectures and a prominent Egyptian obelisk stood proudly in the middle of the busy, crowded public square. It was that moment when I felt that I have truly arrived in Rome. Similar to the feeling I had in London when I came out of Westminister Tube station and the sight of Big Ben hit me.
From here, the main road generally split up 3-ways, straight and long. Within this network of streets and alleyways, you can find all the ancient attractions of Rome. Wonderful starting point for our adventure in Rome. During our stay in Rome, we traversed through the Piazza numerous times and it holds a special place in my heart.
Taste of Rome
Firstly, I must say that I have enjoyed all the pizzas we had in Rome. We did not have any which tasted bad; it was just a case which pizza we like better. You cannot go wrong with a pizza made of fresh ingredients on freshly baked dough and a drizzle of olive oil.
Oh! I love to look for anything with eggplants (or aubergine) on the menu.
While I am not an expert in restaurant dining, the eateries we popped into were the ones we chanced upon as we walked around and some of them were quite touristy. As much as we could, we tried to locate those deep in the alleyways instead of those situated along the main road.
Constant Companion RR is what one may consider a “Fine Dining Connoisseur“, she told me that in order to find and dine in those widely acclaimed restaurants, it is almost a requirement to call and book a reservation in advance.
Case in point, Constant Companion RR wanted to try this specific restaurant she found online. The first time we were there, it was not opened for business. In fact, we missed it completely and walked further down the alley where a man standing outside another restaurant was trying to drum up the business by shouting out to passer-by. We approached him and asked him for direction. He took a look at the displayed address and name on our phone and claimed that this was it, we have found the place.
It did not feel right to me, the appearance of his eatery was clearly not what I had in mind of the one we were looking for. His eatery had a more cafe/ pizzeria kind of look, not one of an establishment which, according to Google, serves award winning Italian cuisine. We did not take his bait. When he realised he could not convince us (at that point I was trying to compare the Italian names of both shops, letter by letter), with a resigned look, he pointed at a closed shop down the alley where we came from. The restaurant we were looking for had an unassuming appearance.
The next day, we arrived just before its opening hours and already there was a short queue outside the establishment. Thinking we were in luck, we joined in the wait. After 15 minutes or so, the doors were opened and a staff came out and quickly weeded out those in line without a reservation. Needless to say, we did not manage to get into the small, almost dingy-looking restaurant for the second time in two days. We did not attempt a third time.
Constant Companion RR and I consumed gelato on a daily basis. To us, it did not matter if that day was hot, cold or wet, every day was a good time for the delicious, icy treat.
Dinner One Night
For dinner one night, Constant Companion RR decided to go to the nearby Carrefour supermarket to buy some “ready-to-eat” food from their deli. While I have no qualms having cold/ chilled food, I personally find hot/ warm food more satisfying. In addition to Constant Companion RR‘s purchase of sun-dried tomatoes, slices of octopus, pickled olives, cream cheese and bread, I bought a hot kebab.
It was okay.
These are just some of the sweet snacks we had with our coffee. The pastry (pictured first from the right in the gallery) which we bought from Carrefour supermarket, is something both Constant Companion RR and I really enjoyed. Its ingredients include cornflakes and raisins.
After we left Rome, we tried to search for it in Milan, but we could not find it anywhere. I guess it is exclusive to Rome.
When in Rome…
… Do as the Romans do.
Coffee Counter Bar
Constant Companion RR is an avid coffee drinker. On average, she drinks about 2 cups of coffee per day. I find the concept of being able to order over a bar counter a quick fix of coffee, or espresso, interesting. It is not something common back home where we have our coffee either to-go or seated comfortably in a cafe. Perhaps it is because we generally prefer to have our coffee Americano style; it is not easy to quickly gulp down a cup of hot Americano standing over the counter.
I was fascinated by the various drinking fountains we saw, constantly dispensing free, potable and refreshing spring water. As much as we could, we tried to take full advantage of the water fountains whenever we encounter one and we happened to have an empty / half-filled bottle of water.
We walk a lot during our trips; hardly ever hop on to the metro/ cab. From one location to another, we would just leg it with Google map as our guide. That way, we will go through many locations where there are more locals than tourists. Very often we find ourselves in some really odd/ interesting places; places we will never find if we choose to take transportation instead of hiking it.
Cafes are wonderful for us to rest our tired feet and to take in the ambiance and some light refreshment.
Watching “The Nanny” aka “La Tata”
Not sure if this is exactly what “Romans do”, but I have enjoyed a few episodes of American sitcom, “The Nanny” on the television in the hotel. In Italy, the show is called, “La Tata” and this is a piece of information that I will remember for a long time.
There are still several things to my Rome trip I have not finished writing about. Please stay tuned and thank you for reading!