CRT+RPK=RTW – Italy 16

rpk here-

loving the hot sticky humid ancient eternal city of Rome.  i really wanted it to be cool here one day so i could wear my Roma jacket from Target and totally blend in……..

So Florence was super beautiful and if you’re in need of a little art history or need to realize how dumb we all really are compared to Da Vinci, go to the Uffizi Museum.  There’s a science exhibit that kind of computerizes and brings to life many of Leonardo’s theories and realizations about figures, shapes, light, perspective, structure, anatomy, geometry, engineering, nature, etc. etc. etc………… it was a massive helping of brain food, but some things were far too intelligent for a simple bloke such as myself to wrap my brain around.  Our last night in Florence we again referred to CR’s guide book for a tip on a great restaurant serving Florence’s specialty, Florentine Steak.  It suggested a place called Il Latini which was a convenient jaunt of about 4 blocks from our hotel.  there was a short wait to get in as the place looked packed and jumpin’…..there were some Americans, some Tourism majors from UMass (why didn’t i think of that???) standing outside raving about how amazing the food really was.  they suggested an All you can eat pasta and all the table wine you can guzzle for 40Euro each.  we decided against as i needed a healthy helping of cow, so we began with some more Gnocchi, pesto version this time, and a vegetable and dark bread stew that the Mexican 40-something from NYC sitting next to us with his gorgeous 26 year old blond Czech wife  suggested.  Leon and (no way i’ll get the spelling right so i’ll spell the bastardized american way) Michaela… every bite of both starter dishes were ….i can’t think of a proper adjective to describe the impossibly divine flavor of these dishes.  we also had ordered a Florentine steak and while it’s cooked meduim rare to rare and i like my cow to be charred, it was the best serving of Steak i think the world has ever seen.  Not to mention one helping was so big that both of us together couldn’t finish it.  we sawed and gnawed and chewed and rested and repeated as many times as we could (all the while sipping on house red wine which is better than any wine Big Bowl serves….shhhhhhh).  we got to chatting with L and M about things, Mexico, New York, marriage, travelling, the state of the USA, how CR and Michaela were born only hours apart, a plethora of subjects.  L and M ended up paying for our Vino as a wedding present, which was awfully kind of them.  we went to bed wity full bellies, giddy grins, and happy dreams, as our last night in Florence was better than any day had been thus far.

We’ve been in Roma the last couple days now staying at the Hotel Lazzara or something.  It’s fairly close to the main part of Rome, but also a healthy walk away from any major sights.  As i’ve read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, i had to see some Bernini statues and fountains, just to kind of check them off my mental to-do-in-rome checklist.  our first day, we wandered and strolled, observing the speed and hustle of Rome, found a lovely little cafe as we are wont to do.  after which, we turned a corner and saw the Collosseum before us about a km away, so being the tourists we’re kind of trying not to be, we hopped on over and decided to take an English speaking tour.  fascinating.  of course, it’s falling apart and nearly 2000 years old, but it’s really amazing to be there where gladiators slayed, emperors revelled, wild animals fought……..some of the major sights we’ve seen so far on our trip are restructured on new parts of town, like the Globe in London doesn’t stand on it’s orignal spot, but the Collosseum remains where it has stood for thousands of years.  just neat and mind-boggling to think of.  i can tell the CR is sitting here kind of anxious to type for a while so i’ll let her talk about Palatine, Vatican and more……..

As i said before, rome is muggy, humid, i haven’t stopped sweating since i got to town, but it’s probably my favorite city so far next to Edinburgh.  such an incomprehensible sense of History here, it’s overwhelming and makes me feel a little insignificant, which is actually how i like it.  rpk out………………

CRT now. Ryan is very sweet to let me type. We’re like little kids…”I wanna tell the story!” OKay. So I love Rome. SInce I was little Ive heard about Rome from my mom and her BF Jodi who came here back in ’83 and Im pretty sure that they had the time of their lives. I’ve been waitin to come here for over 20 years. I LOVE IT. I was worried after the Venetian intro but its proved to be my favorite city as well. After the Colloseum tour we headed up to Palatine hill which boasts one of the most impressive collections of ruins in the city. Its the site of the Roman emperors palaces and gardens and temples and the Forum(as in a funny thing happened on the way to the… haha) But Ryan and I just stood up on the hill looking down over centuries old pillars and excavated temples and felt like gods on mount olympus. It was one of those moments when we remember how lucky we are to be here. Unfortunately we’d gotten a late start on the ruin exploration and missed walking through the bottom part of the Via Sacra (the oldest road in Rome) and getting to see the ruins up close because they kick you out at 7. But we walked down to the Circus Maximus, looks like a field now but thats where the Ben Hur race happened I think. Cool. Check. Then walked our way all the way across town for some piazza exploring. Found a snack ate some Gelato. THE BEST ICE CREAM IN THE WORLD. We’re eating it twice a day. I tried Pistachio which is a very unappetizing olive green color but the most heavenly flavor. I mixed it with straciatella which is chocolate chip and its perfect. Ryan keeps coming up with crazy combinations that he’s been mostly happy with although the lemon/strawverry was too tart and the creme caramel/green apple was underwhelming. His next combo is going to be cinnamon/chocolate which we’ll be eating directly after posting this blog. I think that might be a winner. Anyway, I wake up and the first thing I think is not, what will we see today, but what will we EAT today and when can we start. Everything is so so delicious.

Yesterday we made our obligatory visit to Vatican City and the Cistine chapel. Cistine Chapel gets a big thumbs up from me but those pesky tourists just keep getting in our way! You literally have to elbow your way into places. Ive stopped caring if Im walking through someones picture. But if you want to see something, chances are 100,000 of your best friends want to see it too so you’re in for quality time. AFter a week in Italy, Ryan and I have had about as much of the baby Jesus as we can handle. Nothing against the little guy but he and his momma occupy about 90 percent of museum wall space in this country and I’m ready to see something else. Its like a breath of fresh air to see some horribly modern sculpture. I’d give anything for a little JacKson Pollack. So probably no more art museums for us. We’ve seen a lot of them though. Vatican City is for my tastes, probably as unspiritual a place as you might find but there are many people who would disagree with me. I think the gift shops and trinkets everywhere make me think about commerce, not god. But it’s beautiful and very rich. Marble and gilded ceilings and fine art from all over the world, more security than the president, people blowing whistles at you if you get too loud or step out if line. He runs a tight ship, that pope. Ryan and I made up all kinds of songs, my favorite being the one to the tune of G n R’s Paradise City, renamed “Vatican City.” I’ll spare you the lyrics, but rest assured, they were great! More wandering after the vatican to the spanish steps, the pantheon, piazza del popolo, more statues, fountains, crowds, ice cream, pasta, pizza, vino, amore. We were so worried about doing everything that we’ve squeezed it into the past two days, leaving us to wonder what we’ll do today. Our feet our burning and aching and the thought of more walking makes me want to whine and cry. We are going to check out the underground labyrinth of the catacombs this afternoon which will get us out of the sun and we’ll probably also ride on one of the double decker sight seeing buses we’ve avoided so far, just so we can sit down for a change. And of course, more food! Tomorrow we’re off to Naples and the Amalfi coast, Islands of Capri and Ischia, ruins of Pompei and a peek at Mt Vesuvius. More stories of Italy to come.

Love you all! CRT
Posted from Italy:

posted Wednesday June 2006