Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our European trip part 3 - Rome

We arrived in Rome late morning on Good Friday. It felt like we were walking through downtown L.A. as we made our way by foot (with luggage) to our hotel. Once we checked in, we set out right away on foot to find lunch. Rich had done a bit of research and landed us a fine little place with the BEST pizza. It may rival my favorite Lombardi's in NYC. We asked the waitress if the pizzas were individual sized and she said yes. So we each ordered our own. What arrived for each of us was a pizza as big as a large Domino's! And it was SO good. I think I just ordered cheese or maybe Marguerita, I can't remember - something simple. They also had the greatest antipasti bar, something we saw in several restaurants in Italy. For a fixed price (about $13 at that place) you can fill a plate with as much roasted peppers, eggplant and zucchini, assorted olives, marinated fresh artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms, etc. that your heart desires. I loved that.

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Emma's pizza. Don't lick the computer.

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The antipasti bar. Beautiful.

We were able to take in quite a few sights, despite the crowds and the short amount of time we had. Being Good Friday, they had some big event at the Vatican and a long line snaked around the entire piazza. When we visited the Coliseum later, we found out that the Pope was going to be doing the Stations of the Cross around 9pm on a little knoll there. If we had waited about 4 hours, we would have had a front row seat to the Pope. We decided to pass, but later that evening tuned it in on Italian television in our room. We didn't miss much as the Pope just sat slumped in a chair while others conducted the service in Latin. One highlight of Rome was that we had the BEST gelato (probably the best of our trip). In addition to the Vatican and the Coliseum, we also visited the famous sites of the Pantheon, Trevi fountain, and Spanish Steps. Rome seemed very touristy while Florence was more like living as an Italian. Honestly, neither of those cities were as beautiful as Paris, in my opinion.

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The Spanish Steps.

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The Trevi Fountain. It's hard to stand in a place where you can get a shot of the entire enormous fountain - it's one of the largest baroque fountains in the world.

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Legend dictates that if visitors toss a coin over their shoulder into the fountain, it is supposed to ensure their return to Rome someday. So, I guess either way Rome gets your money (it's estimated that 3000 euros are thrown in each day - about $4300 USD).

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The gelato at this place is worth traveling to Rome for. Seriously. I think I had tangerine and dark chocolate together.

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This might make a good Christmas card photo if it weren't in front of the Vatican.


Early the next morning, it was time to bid “arrivederci” to Italy. After a tumultuous ride (with the driver going the equivalent of 90 mph - eek) to the airport in a private Mercedes van playing Bryan Adams music (?), we boarded our plane for Tel Aviv. We flew Alitalia, and I have to tell you, they have the BEST airplane food ever! It was so beautiful and might I even say artistic. And very tasty! As you know, it's all about the food to me, and I was already hoping they’d serve the same lunch on the way back. We had about a 4 hour flight to Tel Aviv, Drew's home away from home. Part 4 on Israel next. That one might take me awhile!

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