As I was enjoying my tea on the veranda this morning while mom was getting ready, Lady Ana came out to tell me how beautiful the opera music I was listening to was. I love that no matter what language you speak, music always seems to connect people. She says something about pop, indicating the rapid, loud beats, and that she much prefers this. Me, too, Lady Ana.
But I can still rock out to some Lady Gaga.
We head out to catch the hop on, hop off bus tour of Rome that I bought with my Citicard thank you points. Excellent allocation of resources -- it is a fabulous experience. Except, of course, the open top. It's kind of a double edged sword... fabulous views, scorching sun. Mom says even though the seats are hard to get, the the best place to sit is the very front, otherwise the scent of every person in front of you blows past your nose.
Regardless, we take the bus the full circle through Rome while listening to the history of each place. I am a little crispy by the time we get off at Piazza Venezia, the former embassy of the Republic of Venice, and wander around to look at the outside of the Foro Romano -- the Roman Forum. It's hot as Hades. I buy mom a hat to replace the strategically misplaced umbrella she was trying to poke my eyes out with in Capri, but it keeps blowing off her head.
We find some relief after another short bus ride toward the Vatican, getting off near Castel Sant' Angelo (a.k.a. Mole Adriana, a.a.k.a. Hadrien's Pile, a.a.a.k.a. Castellum Crescentii...) for a peek. It's five euro, but again, money well spent. It's cooler inside the Roman mausoleum. One of the things we learned on the bus passing the place before was that in 590 AD, the year the castle received it's current moniker, Rome was afflicted by a severe plague. Pope Gregory I participated in a procession organized to pray for it'end and had a vision near the Castel 'Sant Angelo of the Archangel Michael sheathing his sword. It was interpreted to be a sign of the end of the plague, which, miraculously, came true. The site was renamed Mole Adriana and a statue of an angel sheathing a sword was placed on top to commemorate the celestial sign. The building has also been used as an outpost, a jail, and as our tour pamphlet describes -- a "splendid Renaissance residence."
Splendid home sweet mausoleum.
We upgrade our bus tour to include a Tiber River cruise, which is not running on schedule. It is also not air conditioned and a glass boat... so it's kind of like a floating greenhouse. The heat puts me out and I sleep for the entire ride. Also money well spent as we are a tad exhausted. We disembark near the hip neighborhood, Trastavere, and pop into an internet cafe (the password is "pimpmyride" -- yes, really) where I unsuccessfully try to figure out how to load pictures onto the blog with an iPad. Anyone know how to do this? It is making me crazy, and I feel like you deserve some eye candy. In the meanwhile, mom sends emails to our entire family letting them know I won't leave the door open at night because I am afraid the people staying on the other side of the apartment are actually ninjas.
Speaking of, I've read about this place in the Jewish ghetto called Sora Margherita -- the place I mentioned that doesn't have a proper sign? Well, it actually does, but this doesn't make it easier to find tucked back off the main road. My taste buds thank me for the effort. We share Corcio Fo Alla Giudia (fried artichoke) and Fiore di Zucca (fried squash blossoms) to start. Yum. The artichoke is kind of like potato chips and the squash blossoms are to die for, stuffed with gooey mozzarella. Mom has veal for dinner and I have Agnocotti (basically, beef ravioli). It is delicious... the sauce wonderful and the pasta sort of tastes like egg noodles.
I have, however, come to a sad conclusion. I tend to avoid pasta at home. I'm not a huge fan, and everyone kept telling me before we left that I just needed to have GOOD pasta in Italy. Well, I've had it twice now and it is official -- I just don't like pasta. I'm not really a picky eater, so I'll eat it and enjoy it. I just don't PREFER it.
Likely won't be on my last meal menu in the Italian prison I'll get sent to when I buy one of these fake Prada purses from the street vendors. Believe me -- I'm tempted, but we read so much about big fines and such that I've shied away. Anyway, right now, my last menu would have lots of spinach on it. Or maybe some kale. Green things. I miss vegetables, which I know my trainer loves hearing, don't you Jeff?
We got home excited to take a shower only to hear from Lady Ana that there is no hot water. Mom's screams were enough to scare the crap out of me, but I'm going to brave it anyway. Funny how we complained about the heat all day, and are now afraid of a little cold water, isn't it?