Well we are just back from our amazing trip to Italy, and now that I'm home with high speed internet, I can actually start working through the backlog of posts. I'm going to do my best to do one every couple of days or so, so that you all have time to follow along, rather than trying to post a bunch of different things in one fell swoop. So, let's start from the very beginning. 3 days in Rome.
I'll start with saying that Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world. I've been there 5-6 times now, and I still love it. I even love seeing things that I've seen before. The people, the energy, the food, and the fact that around every corner you seem to find another really cool old statue, or fountain, or building, or street - there's just nowhere like it. Given that we knew we'd be back at least a couple more times on this trip, we decided to try to keep this part of our trip pretty mellow. We wanted to take the time to get over our jetlag, and just see a few cool things to introduce Cole to Rome. Well, I don't know if you could call it mellow, but it was great. Rather than getting a hotel, we had rented a 2 bedroom apartment called Casa Arancio, right near the intersection of the Via Del Corso and Via Condotti, about 1/4 mile from the Spanish Steps. This worked out perfectly - it was cheaper than a hotel room, walking distance to everything, and we all had our own space. I would definitely stay there again, even if it was just the two of us!
We spent most of the first day sleeping and getting over the flight, but we headed out that night for dinner at a place we had been many times - Ristorante Eby - which was still quite good. Best part of that night was heading to the Spanish Steps after dinner, grabbing a gelato, and just sitting watching the world go by. Turned out having gelato on steps was a pretty common theme on this trip. One we are going to try to recreate here in Seattle - not sure how yet - stay tuned.
On Sunday we decided to go out and do some exploring, after L and I did a 3 mile run along the Tiber (it was a little warm, but I think the heat stuff we'll save until Florence). We tried to go to a restaurant that had been highly recommended called Dar Poeta for lunch in Trastevere - a great neighborhood right just across the Tiber, but it wasn't open for lunch, so we ate at a random place, and then just wandered through Rome. We ended up spending some time in Piazza Navona (where I bought a Scopa deck at my favourite toy store - Al Sogno), hit the Pantheon, and did a little shopping on the via Del Corso. For dinner that night we headed back to Trastevere to go to Dar Poeta, and it really was amazing. There was some religious event going on on our way over there (as we found out many times on this trip - nothing draws a crowd like a crowd - and we never really knew what was going on) - but there was a boat in the Tiber with a big statue and a Cardinal looking guy. Trastevere itself was great at night - lots of bars, people milling about etc. Great people watching - we'll definitely head back that way next time we go!
Monday was a long, busy day. We started the morning out near the Campo Dei Fiore to check out the market, then wandered by the Torre Argentine to check out the cat sanctuary, then the Palace, then over to the Colosseum (we didn't go in on this trip - saving that for when my parents were in town), then through the Palatine & the Forum. I can't put into words how I feel whenever we go through those areas. To be able to walk, sit, and touch the same buildings/structures that people did thousands of years ago just blows me away. Everything is just so out there to be truly experienced, not just hidden behind a rope or plexiglass.
That night we went to a restaurant just a couple blocks away from our hotel, just off of the Piazza Del Cappucino (ok, that's our name for it, it's actually the Piazza San Lorenzo) called Matricianella. Wow - this is now probably my favourite restaurant in Rome. It had some of the best Amatriciana I've ever had, and the roasted lamb was outstanding. Even with 5 weeks in Italy it was definitely one of the top 5 overall meals I had the entire trip. After dinner we wandered over to the Trevi Fountain, and then took a caleche back over to the Spanish Steps, where we sat and enjoyed yet another gelato. It was particularly cool that night, they had live music with a string quartet, and dancers - we think they were advertising some kind of concert, but whatever it was was amazing.
And that was Rome - basically 3 nights, 2 full days, a ton of walking, and some great meals!