Rome Day 2
I knew I was adjusted to local time when I woke up at the crack of dawn. It was about 5:30am. I do this all the time at home, regardless of what day it is. I laid there in the dark for about a half hour, then decided to get up and get the first, and perhaps only hot shower of the day.
Once I was done, there were still no signs of life from the wife and kids. So, I decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood and try to figure out what we had going on around us.
As I’ve already mentioned, I get lost really easy. So, I decided just to walk around Piazza Vittorio. I figured that if I stuck to that, I would be okay. Doing this I found all kinds of interesting shops and restaurants, most of which were closed because it was so early. I noticed a place that had Internet access for €1.50 per hour, and near that was a pastry shop. I kept going around the Piazza until I found our apartment, and went back upstairs.
When I came back in, Christian woke up, but everyone else was still asleep. I told him about some of the places I found, and he wanted to go and check his email at the Internet place. So, we went downstairs and I walked around the Piazza again. This time more places were open. We stopped and had Cappuccino at a corner bar. When I ordered, the bar tender told us to go sit down. He brought us our cappuccinos, and we sat there on the sidewalk at a little table and watched people go by for a while.
We finished and continued on to the Internet place. Christian decided to try and call his girlfriend in California. So, when we walked in, I said “Internet”, and the guy told me what computer to go to, and Christian said “Phone”, and the guy pointed to one of many phone booths inside the store.
It took us a long time, and some help from a fellow tourist before Christian could figure out how the phone system worked. I got online and checked my email, discovering, to my horror, that the spam filter at work had malfunctioned and I had about 300 ads woven into about 5 legit emails.
At the end, we owned about €2.00 for everything, and went off down the street to the pastry shop. I did more mime to tell the person behind the counter what we wanted. I just picked out a few things that looked tasty, and they boxed them up for me. Then we headed back to the apartment.
The girls were up by this time, and everyone had some of the pastry and seemed to enjoy it.
We didn’t really have anything planned for the day, except general sight seeing. We decided to get on the Metro and headed toward the Trevi Fountain. When we got off at the Metro stop for the fountain, we came up from underground, and didn’t see anything that looked anything like the famous landmark. There was a small fountain that turned out to be the Tritone Fountain. We stood in that square looking over a map for a while:
A candid photo shot by Erin
At some point, we noticed a large double decker tour bus stopping near us. Jane remembered that our friend Woodie had suggested that we take that tour to get our bearings in Rome. They let you ride it around all day and point out sights, and you can get off and look at stuff, then get back on again. So, we found a place selling tickets for it and jumped on the bus.
We got on, and wanted to go upstairs to the top deck where we would be able to see out really well, but it was full. So, we took seats below until a few people got off. But, then the sky opened up and without warning it started to pour rain! People started coming down from the top deck to avoid getting wet. We stuck to our seats, and dialed in the English tour audio on our headsets.
The rain continued, right until the time we made the complete circle over by the Tritone fountain, and we got off there and still didn’t really know where the Trevi fountain was.
Finally, we were really hungry, so we ducked into a restaurant for lunch. We all had pasta, and I noticed it was one of the rare restaurants in Rome that took credit cards. So, I handed over my Visa card for the meal.
When we talked out of the restaurant, I noticed that I could hear the sound of water coming from around the corner. We had eaten about 100 yards from the fountain.
This fountain is quite a spectacle with life size statues of people and horses. It was absolutely mobbed with people. We worked our way down and took some pictures:
Erin took this picture of The Trevi Founain
After that, we were all pretty tired. So, we got back on the Metro and headed for the apartment.
Later that afternoon, I took another walk, and found a modern supermarket just half a block away. I picked up some more things to for breakfast and lunch, and was getting the hang of being able to function without an interpreter, though I was still relying more on mime skills than trying to use any of the local language.
As night fell, we wanted to find a restaurant. So, Jane went into a local hotel and asked the desk clerk if he could recommend a place. He told us about a restaurant called “Noah’s Ark” that was just up the street. It started to rain again, but we pressed on, past another restaurant called “Devil Planet”. I thought about how we have places in Los Angeles that use Spanish names that just sound good but don’t translate into anything that makes any sense. I figured that “Devil Planet” must be the Italian equivalent of that, since it looked like a normal respectable place. Not even slightly Satanic.
Noah’s Ark ended up having really good food. It was the first place we got to have authentic Italian pizza. Almost every week at home, on Tuesday night, we have “Pizza and bill” night. That is where we call Dominoes or Pizza Hut and order a Pizza and Jane and I go over our finances and pay the bills. This pizza was nothing like anything we had in the states. First off, the crust was paper thin, and crisp at the edges. There was very little on the pizza, but what was there tasted REALLY good. I had ordered some kind of beef dish that was just okay, but Christian had a Pizza Marinara, and it smelled so good, I had to have some. It was just fantastic.
The waiters there were very funny, and they seemed to have some kind of an inside joke about bringing people their check. If you asked for the check, you probably got it an hour later. They were very good natured about it, and actually seemed to think it was hysterically funny when you would ask, just to talk you into having some more wine, or some desert. I decided that I just needed to relax, and I did. When he finally brought the bill, I reached for my Visa card, and it was GONE. I guessed that I had left it at the place we had lunch by the Trevi Fountain. I got out a different credit card, just to discover that they didn’t take them anyway, so I paid with cash.
After dinner, we went to Rome’s answer to Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors. An authentic Italian Gellateria. They probably had a lot more than 31 flavors though, and it was all made fresh on the premises. We took our cones and walked back to the apartment, up the lift and plopped down in front of the TV to watch some of our favorite American TV shows dubbed over in Italian. We made plans to get up early the next morning and take the metro over to the restaurant by the Fountain to see if they still had my credit card.
Next…. We visit the Necropolis, or “City of the Dead” under the Vatican, and see what is believed to be the final tomb of the Apostle Peter!
But first…. Here is a photo of me and Jane having a little wine with lunch, at the restaurant where I last saw my Visa credit card: