Saturday, October 25, 2014

10/16/14 Day 273 Roma

There is not a city I have spent more time reading, speaking and researching more than Rome in grade school and it is finally time to see it all in person. We picked up our friend Kevin from the airport and cruised towards city center and after casually passing by the colosseum, we found a parking spot that we would likely be fined for parking in all day (so far no tickets in Italy yet). Cheap wine in hand we started to meander through the city's treasure trove of old stuff. It seems like every corner you turn there is another ancient Roman reminder surrounded by gawking tourists armed with selfie sticks, the new must have accessory pushed by street vendors. It is essentially the GoPro pole mount but cheaper and adapted to the average low resolution camera phone for that ultra prime cell phone quality selfie. Now personally I think Kevin takes great selfies with our DSLR but maybe some people need a retractable stick for those photos. In any case we saw our first "selfie stick" maybe a month before and now they are everywhere, thanks to that mafia style importation deal. We zigzagged between all of the famous Roman sites finding our way into a plethora of Gelaterias and pizzerias. Unfortunately the Trevi Fountain is being restored and the whole thing is fenced off with an unattractive  barricade of plexiglass. When the guards weren't looking we threw our penny in quickly to ensure our eventual return, maybe someday we will see it flowing in all of its glory. Since the only CouchSurfing hosts that seem to live in Rome all have a tendency to host single females we opted for an AirBnb between the three of us, it was actually an offer from a CS member who contacted us offering the room because he couldn't host all of us for 30€, a steal as it would normally cost 55€ for three people. In our two days time we saw all of the top tourist sites and many more old rocks, it was a bit of a crunch to also find time to inhale gelato every couple of hours or so. We stumbled across a cat sanctuary at Largo Di Torre Argentina, where a local cat colony is cared for at the veterinary office below and have close to a basketball court sized arena full of ruins to spend their days lazing about, doing cat things and always with a captive audience. On our first evening in town we had amazing pizzas at Pizzeria Baffeto followed by our favorite gelato spot right next door at Frigidarium, so called after the flavor of the same name featuring cookies, chocolate and caramel and before it was over we got the option of a white or dark chocolate dip or whipped cream, and a cookie! As for the cannoli search it was extensive, but crucial as the best cannol is made fresh to order with no prestuffed crusts! Of the two I wound up eating from Cuiri Cuiri was the winner, with chocolate chips folded into the ricotta freshly filled into the shell and dipped into chopped pistachio for dessert perfection. We parked right next to the coliseum and didn't ever get a ticket, those magic Irish plates. 

Selfie sticks
The Pantheon
A solid use of city bike space

Well obviously if you are over 65 the discount is no longer deserved, let's just cross that out

The Swiss Guard
The St. James Basilica

Space Invader in Rome
The overlook at Il Pincio
Random blown up truck we found on our evening stroll?

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