Saturday, June 9, 2018

Back to Rome Again

Well disaster strikes in threes right? Our friend’s dog became ill. Egle’s daddy broke his arm, so what next? She sent me a photo of their shower while we were in Florence… completely gutted. They’d gotten a phone call from the condo below theirs telling them that water was dripping down from their place. So they had to let it dry and try to get workers willing to work on a national holiday weekend (the day Italy was unified). 
I quickly booked yet another Airbnb, this time next to the Colosseum. It was a weird place with the loudest bathroom I've ever seen and I didn’t like it, but it was close to the Metro. We went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant the Hosteria Gladiator.
The next morning we woke up bright and early because our place had shutters but we didn’t know that, so bright light. We naively exited our building and hooked a left to go to the Metro, and met with a wall of people. The biggest parade of the year on the road that was created for this specific purpose! Crud. We made a few forays into the crowd only to fall back. We tried going up back streets for several blocks in hopes of getting to the next metro stop in the line, which was also closed but we didn’t know that either. As we stood there perplexed a government guy took pity on us and flagged a taxi to the nearest Metro still open on this important day.
So back in Rome. We got settled back in our rooms, rested for awhile, and then headed out for the Appia Antica. The entrance we wanted to go in was closed and guarded by police. Gianluca jumped out of the car and jogged across the street to talk to them. He came back and turned the car towards the cops who magically parted. I asked in awe what he said to them. “I told them I had Americans in the car here to visit the Appia Antica, and they let me in,” he answered. This is a must visit for anyone who wants to escape the rat-race of Rome. It is so tranquil, especially the part that’s off limits to cars. 
These stones making up the original road date back 300+ years before Christ. I recommend stopping at one of the little café’s and having an espresso or later for an aperitivo (a happy hour drink). It’s a great way to people watch and relax.
Sunday we slept in… I mean really slept in. I woke up around 10:00! Then we hopped in Egle’s little car and went to the beach. You can go to the free beaches, but we (I) wanted a chaise lounge and umbrella. The beach was made up of dark sand so it burned the snot out of my feet. And the water was chilly, so we walked along the water line and admired the parade of Italians strutting their stuff. We needed the day at another happy-hour bar where they served free pizza. Joe and Gianluca were happy, but not us girls.
Monday it was back to work for them. We took the Metro to town to explore the Ghetto, the area we went to first when it was pouring down rain. We spent half our time hunting for an Irish Pub and the other half looking for a good gelato shop. I went into one little clothing shop and found a darling scarf (I’m addicted) and I tried to buy it, but the saleslady with multi-colored hair and piercings wasn’t willing to give me the one off of the mannequin… she even tried to get me to buy one off a different mannequin. It was amazing how much she clearly hated her job. I had something else I wanted to buy for 10E. She was so mad because I gave her a 50E bill. I was fascinated to see what she would do if I refused to go away. I stood chuckling in the street as she went from shop to shop looking for change. I have a twisted sense of humor.
By-the-way Monday was our thirtieth wedding anniversary. We had a nice little dinner planned for that night with friends from Sacramento. It was a little too much food, but I tried new things. I’d never had octopus before and it was tasty. I ordered the lamb and mushroom pasta dish… yum.

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