As I mentioned in the previous post, we spent most of our time in Rome just hanging out and enjoying. We went to our favorite restaurants (like Taverna La Scala below) and also discovered some new ones.
We almost always leave Rome with new ideas about what we want to try to cook when we get home. I want to go back to my basic tomato sauce recipe and work on it more. I'm also determined to cook a solid eggplant parmigiana. (Less sauce, and much less cheese than I've been using, and a lot more olive oil.) We're going to try the cacio e pepe again, this time with homemade pasta and some new kinds of cheese. I also want to try to make baked meringues (Carter loves them). We've also decided that we're going to get back to work on learning to make a good pizza crust. We've been using the canned Pillsbury kind for ages, but we're going to try to make the real thing. And I will continue to scour Austin for a proper Italian cappuccino.
On another day, we visited the Explora Children's Museum, which Carter has really enjoyed on previous visits.
On (what would turn out to be) our last day in Rome, we went to Trevi Fountain. It's a stunning place, always beautiful and impressive, and always very popular with tourists.
We enjoyed hanging out in our favorite piazzas, like Campo dei Fiori with its market, cafes, and restaurants:
And Piazza Navona, with its street performers, cafes, and beautiful fountains:
And of course, we spent many evenings at our favorite piazza in Trastevere:
The first few nights, we sat in our favorite cafe and bought overpriced beer while Carter ran around the piazza and played, like he's done so many times.
After a few nights of this, we decided to buy beer at the store for a fraction of the price and enjoy it at home, because you can't spend that kind of money every night!
We even spotted Michael McDonald in the square one evening!
Carter really enjoyed watching the street performers every night. He especially loved this bubble artist.
We gave her a ten euro tip on the last night, and she gave Carter a big smooch on the cheek!
One of the things that is really fabulous about Rome is that it's a city you can just wander around in. There are picturesque views around every corner.
I love this bit of evidence of ancient Rome, right in the middle of the city. This column was once part of an ancient portico and was eventually incorporated into an apartment building.
The lovely Via Giulia.
The narrow little streets are so amazing.
One afternoon we had coffee in a cafe.
...and this was the view. It's typical for this part of Rome, and it's so beautiful. The buildings are old and colorful. It's amazing to me that people have tried to recreate this view in places as disparate as Tokyo, Las Vegas, and Orlando, but this is the genuine article.
The Pantheon is an amazing place to visit, and one of Carter's favorite buildings. It was originally constructed as a temple to honor the Roman gods, but was re-purposed as a church dedicated to the Catholic martyrs 1400 years ago -- which prevented it from being demolished.
It remains the largest concrete dome in the world, and it's nearly 2000 years old. Amazing.
The Piazza della Rotunda is always a madhouse, somehow. Last summer we spent several days in an apartment near here, and it was crazy!
Another favorite spot of ours in Rome is Villa Borghese park. It's a huge park, and has an arena, theaters, a zoo, and a fantastic art museum.
But more importantly for us at this point, it has playgrounds and open spaces for kids to run around and play.
We rented a bicycle cart and had a blast driving it around the park. And of course, I managed not to get a picture of that! Another highlight for Carter was these kiddie cars.
And of course, we ate gelato almost every day. As you do. ;-)
The next day was Sunday, and as we were finishing our breakfast and lounging around in our pajamas, Doug suddenly realized that our train tickets to Venice were for that day, and not Monday as we'd thought all week. He double-checked the hotel reservations, and sure enough, we'd somehow gotten off our schedule by a day! We rushed around and packed up, and missed our train by only 10 minutes. In the end we had to buy new tickets to Venice, but we made it. It's amazing that we haven't made more mistakes like that this year!
So our time in Rome was cut short by a day, but to be honest, it was fine. We probably would have been fine with 5 or 6 days in Rome, in retrospect. We've been there so frequently that we didn't feel terribly motivated to go off and see thins we've seen several times before, and we ended up just hanging out for quite a lot of our time there. Not that there's anything wrong with hanging out, but we're now embarking on the last part of the trip, and the schedule is going to move a lot faster from here on out. We could've taken a few days from Rome and gone to one more place.
So, next up: Venice!