Tales of a wandering lesbian

Rome is rough

After our trip to the south, the Ant and I headed to Barga, via Venice, via Rome.  We just spent one night in Rome.  A stop-over to save us from 9 hours on the train.

We stayed at the Hotel Aberdeen, a hotel I’d stayed in 6 months earlier.  I remembered it being a decent hike from the train station, so I prepared the Ant for the long walk in the sun.  Unfortunately, when I consulted the map I’d used on the earlier trip, I mistook the “X” I’d penciled in for the hotel, and not the Japanese retail store my friends had asked me to visit.  I figured this out about 25 minutes into the walk.

Fortunately, however, I remembered enough of the city to be able to navigate us back on track.  After climbing one of Rome’s hills.  Rome has hills?  Have you heard?  Seven, evidently.  I felt really lucky that the Ant was too consumed with trying to breathe to notice the enormous circle we’d taken.  I knew she’d figure out just how far we’d gone the next day when we took the 10 minute walk to the train station.  Hopefully, by then, she’d have forgotten the hour we spent in the heat.

It took us a little bit to recover.  But we were in Rome, and we didn’t want to waste that.  So we threw our stuff down and headed back out to eat.  I’m only going to say that we experienced bad pizza in Italy.  We promised each other never to speak of it again, so that’s all you get.  It was bad.

And then, mostly because I felt bad about the wild goose chase I’d just led us on, we spent the rest of the day touring the phallic symbols and rough men of Rome.  Yes, that’s what I said.  So here’s a little montage for my straight women, gay men, and other friends.  Enjoy.

The Ant kept sneaking up to the policemen and whispering, “Rome is rough.”

We did visit the Pantheon for me, which was nice.

And I took a ride a lion – one of my favorite pastimes.

And then we had some of the best gelato ever.

This is where Rick Steves excels, in my opinion.  Gelato and pizza.  I wish we’d listened to his advice earlier in the day…(shiver).

I asked the guy behind the counter what his favorites were, and he turned to the guy sitting on a stool behind the register.  “Ask him.”

The older, bearded gentleman smiled and waved his hands as he started listing all of his favorite flavors.  When he said “chocolate,” he closed his eyes and made the face of a lover remembering his partner.  “Mista,” he finally said to the boy with the scoop.

I walked away with a beautiful assortment of flavors including fig and the beloved chocolate.

And to finish the night, we headed to our trusty pizza standby, Pizza Zaza.  For a collection of the most excellent pizza we’ve had.  Potato and squash blossom, margherita and plum tomatoes.

I truly wish I could share with you the delight of squash blossom pizza at Zaza.  But I can’t, so here’s my best attempt.  Imagine a thin, crispy wafer of the most delicately salted, earthy, yellow cheese.  It’s better than that.

If you are going to Rome, please, please, please go there.  If you’re going to Rome and you think you might not be able to find it, please, please, please take me with you.  I’m serious, people.

We scarfed the ridiculous amount of pizza as we watched the staff set up an outdoor tv for the World Cup match.

The little outdoor seating area filled with locals watching the match before the Italians played, warming up their engagement, becoming louder and more animated.

If we hadn’t traveled from the south that day, I would have stayed here and watched with them.  Taken in the passion for food and sport and life.  Listened as the church bells rang from the spiral tower of San Eustacchio.  As it was, we were tired, so I took a little video.

And watched the delivery boy tape the pizza to his scooter.

And we headed back for the night.  And maybe we swung through some vendor tents.

And then back by Trevi.

Because it love it.  And the chestnut vendors there.

My nights in Rome have been magically hazy.  I think because of how completely exhausted I have been at the end of the days there.  My memories are less pictures of cops in riot gear and more feelings, full of the cool, creamy sweetness of exceptional gelato, and the glow of magazine carts.

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July 3, 2010   4 Comments