Monday, 5 March 2018
The day started with a free walking tour, something I usually take advantage of wherever possible. It’s a great way to get a feel for a city, a nice introduction and overview. Most times, the guides are great and I don’t mind paying them a tip at the end of the tour, instead of a fixed sum pre-tour.
And if the guide really isn’t living up to your expectation, or the tour is too long/ boring/ strenuous for you, you don’t have to feel bad for leaving in the middle, because…..you haven’t spent any money for it.
This time, I used the new rome free tour, which starts at the Spanish steps and takes you to some of the highlights of Rome. Since I’ve never been here, it seemed like a good place to start. And, the start of the tour wasn’t far from where I was staying.
The only thing you have to be aware of with this provider is that they require a PRINTED confirmation of your reservation (I know, stone-age, right?). So make sure you print out your ticket before you head to the tour. Some people actually were turned away for not having a ticket.
The guide was a nice older gentleman with somewhat of a british-Roman accent 😉 Unfortunately….the tour wasn’t as good as others I’ve been a part of. It was sort of meandering, stream of consciousness and had no real logic to it. A lot of looking at buildings and the architectural style of Bernini and comparisons to other contemporaries. Which is nice….but not for 2 full hours. At least near the end we visited the Pantheon…..which is totally mind-blowing.
If you have never been here, but have seen pictures, you think you know what to expect….but you don’t. It’s soooo much more majestic, and beautiful, and infinite…. and if anybody ever tries to tell you that it doesn’t rain inside the Pantheon – IT DOES. And it looks amazing 🙂
Some things I did take away from the tour were the following nuggets of wisdom:
- Never stop looking, always stay curious.
- Looking at some over-the-top baroque church: “And this is where baroque went insane” (say it with your best ‘Italian-goes-to-Malta’-voice)
- on the tomb of Archimedes (ancient math genius) there is engraved the symbol for Pi, namely a circle atop a cylinder; we all know that Pi has an infinite number of decimals…. – so, when you are inside the Pantheon – which is shaped like a circle atop a cylinder – you are standing inside infinity
- the Trevi fountain is actually much bigger than I thought it would be….like much in Rome
During the tour I met a nice fellow traveler and we went to lunch together at a very local place….we got there just after noon and the place was still almost empty. By the time we were done with our food by around 1:30pm the place was PACKED with a line out the door and the waiter politely asked us to please leave….there are people waiting for a table. The food was ok, nothing that blew me away. They sure like their pasta al dente…VERY al dente. Not exactly great. But the seasonal artichoke in olive oil was pretty good…and something I had on my list of ‘things to eat’ anyway…..one down 🙂
And after lunch…..gelato …from one of the best places in Rome: Gelato di San Crispino – not cheap, but sooooooo good. And that coming from me, not generally liking sweets at all. I chose three flavors: espresso, fig and walnut, cinnamon and ginger; and they were all awesome.
After all that food I had to lie down and rest. Gathering strength for this wonderful Italian tradition called ‘Aperitivo’. Dinner usually doesn’t start before 9pm, so to not starve, Italians meet up for a pre-dinner ‘snack’ and a drink, an aperitivo. Well in the case of Momart Café, this ‘snack and a drink’ has evolved into a full-on buffet where for 11€ you get a drink of your choice (and they have an extensive cocktail menu) and an endless array of food from salads to pasta and the best thing: FRESH pizza, steaming hot right from the wood-fired oven. And yes, pizza in Italy really is something different, so delicious.
So after stuffing my face full of all possible delicacies I rolled on back to the hostel and just passed out from all the glorious food. Gotta gather strength for the next day 😉
Keeping you posted….
2 Replies to “reveles romanum – 2”
I think of this ice cream so often! Worth going back to Rome just for food 😋
I need to check with Angie what that place was called where we had our gelato… no-name place I think, but huge portions and absolutly delicious. We had a lot of gelato during that trip, but that particular one (I think by the end of the trip) was just amazing… gonna let you know, maybe you can find it.