Thursday, 3 June 2010

Rome Part 2...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. No great song lyrics or further insults about my wardrobe to cover tonight, so we’ll jump right into part 2 of our time in the Eternal City.

Friday: “What we do in life…Echoes in Eternity!!!”

Such were the words of Maximus Desimus Meridius in the movie “Gladiator,” the setting of which was the featured destination for Friday. JT and I actually started the day on our own, wandering over to the Spanish Steps (on accident) and visiting the Trinity Church at the top of the steps (as well as the Villa Medici – those cats had some CASH back in the day). The weather was perfect, and so we split a panini and wandered through the streets before meeting mum.

The rendezvous point was none other than one of the world’s most iconic landmarks: The Colosseum. Actually known as the Flavian Amphitheater, this place got its name from the colossal status of Nero that stood outside it for years. Like the Sistine Chapel, it had been 16 years since my previous visit, and it did NOT disappoint.

To skip the queue, we paid the 4 euros more to get a tour guide, and Elena was AWESOME. We got tons of great facts, got in 45 minutes earlier than planned (if we’d had to wait in line), and got some GREAT shots of the Colosseum. It was just so crazy to be there with my wife and mother – a little different than last time!

After that we wandered over to the Pantheon, which was WICKED AWESOME. This building, built by Augustus, is COMPLETELY ORIGINAL. The marble, the ceiling, you name it – talk about a glimpse into how Rome would have looked back in the day. SO COOL. And even crazier? Rafael (NOT the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle) is buried there – INSANE!

We then made our way to a new destination for all of us – Piazza Navona. The square was truly fantastic, and we had dinner at this wonderful little cafĂ© (complete with Pink Table cloths). JT and I took down our customary bottle of wine, but she also managed to have a glass (really more like a gallon) of Bailey’s, whilst I took down (or tried to) a glass of “Irish Coffee.” Honestly, I think those donkeys played a trick on me. For starters, the glass comes out and has “IRISH COFFEE” written in HUGE letters on it with a little shamrock below. I’m pretty sure that Shamrock was a bullseye for tourists. Secondly, it was THE BITTEREST thing I’ve ever consumed. JT and I’d tried coffee earlier that day as well, but all we get are these teeeeeeeeeeeny cups of espresso (Shogun – it pretty much would have been your ideal sipping destination – well, other than Belgium, of course). But I will say, Muffin Puffin got THE GREATEST PASTA DISH IN THE HISTORY OF COOKING – 4 CHEESE GNOCCHI. How good was it? It was so good that, after eating a starter and my pasta, I ordered a plate of her pasta and ATE IT ALL. Yes, yes – I know what healthy is…

We got back that night, put mum to bed, and went out for a night cap at a local wine part (Nero D’Avola – it’s guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud). We then retired to bed, another GREAT day in the books.

Saturday: E tu Brute?

Having purchases our Colosseum tickets yesterday, we were able to roll right past the lines for today’s adventure – Palatine Hill and Caesar’s Forum. Before heading there, however, we rolled to the Vittorio Emmanuele II monument, also known as the “wedding cake” because it is REDONKULOUSLY HUGE, WHITE, AND OUT OF PLACE IN ROME. However, it is a STUNNING memorial to the first King of Italy, and the views from the top are just spectacular.

The first stop upon meeting mum was Palatine Hill. This place, seat of the old Emperor’s palace, is where all the Caesars ruled from and is the place from which we derive the word Palace. It was very impressive, but the highlight was going down to the forum and seeing the Senate House. That’s right – the building where Caesar was stabbed by the Senate is STILL STANDING. You gotta give those boys credit – when they build something, they built it to last. In fact, we were told that the ONLY REASON the Colosseum and the Forum are still standing is because of a drainage system put in place by the Romans TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO. The city has done nothing to improve it or maintain it – it simply works to perfection. WOW.

After that, we wandered up to Piazza de Popolo, which was DONKEY TRASH. Nothing but Italian Goth kids angry at the word and looking like they want to eat you like something out of Daybreakers. Consequently, we walked BACK to the Pantheon area, where we had a TERRIFIC meal. I went with TWO plates of the 4 CHEESE GNOCCHI (different restaurant, mind you), and it was SO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUD (peppy cheekies).

After that, exhausted from a GREAT day of touring around, eating like kings, and even seeing a Jimmy Choo store (I hope that every guy reading this stops right now and says “Who the hell is Jimmy Choo?”, because I sure did. Apparently he’s some swanky shoe designer. Translation – he makes CRAP and charges BOATLOADS for it, and people just eat it up. I mean 1650 euro for high heels? Really? REALLY? And people yell at me for blowing cash at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall in Vegas…).
We did have a classic moment at the Spanish Steps. There's a big tourist racket currently where dudes run around with roses and try to physically shove them into girls' hands. Once they have them in hand, the guys refuse to take them back and mandate payment (the going rate is 4 Euro a rose). Well, sure enough, one of these cats runs up to us and we say no. He then proceeds to try and force the roses into Jenny's hand, and I (politely) push him back. Here is the brief exchange:

Asshole with Roses (AWR): "Something in Italian that is clearly not polite."

Sammy (in English, obviously): "Come on, man." (starts to walk away).

AWR: "No you come on you stupid, bastard American."

Honestly, few things piss me off more than shit like that. Consequently, it was the first time that, in the presence of my mother, I've ever told someone to "Go @#$# themselves." He responded in kind - good times. :-)

We didn’t even have a night cap on Saturday night. That’s right, folks – the Taylors KNOW HOW TO PARTY. However, we did have a great visit over at Trevi Fountain, where we saw it lit up at night - VERY cool!

We’ll tackle part 3 of Rome (call it bonus coverage) tomorrow. For now, however, I think it’s time to call it an evening.

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

No comments:

Post a Comment