Saturday, June 23rd
I had made plans to meet Sandra (slow traveler) on the Ponte Sisto bridge on Saturday night at 6pm. She was staying in the Piazza Farnese area so the bridge was about halfway. I have not been a fan of this bridge. It is a foot bridge, meaning no cars, and there are always aggressive beggars on this bridge. I got there a little early and decided to wait at her end instead of in the middle. The only challenge was trying to find a place in the shade that didn’t reek of urine. The smell of urine is pretty common in many cities in Italy and even some smaller towns. I think that is one reason why many shop keepers wash in front of their shop each day.
When Sandra arrived, we walked over to my apartment. She has been thinking of renting an apartment on her next stay and so I wanted to show her my great find. She was impressed. We had a drink at the bar downstairs and talked about our travels. As it got closer to 8pm, we headed over to Da Giggetto’s for dinner. I cannot rave enough about this restaurant. When eating at the Hostaria da Nerone the day before, I saw the fried artichokes on the menu but was not sure how to eat one so I decided to wait until Saturday night to figure this out, thinking that Sandra may have eaten one before. Well it was a new experience for both of us. We ordered both the famous Carciofi alla Giudea and also some stuffed zucchini flowers. The fried artichokes were very good but the stuffed zucchini flowers…Mama Mia! They were excellent. I have had fried zucchini flowers before but never the famous stuffed ones with anchovies inside. I have not been a big anchovy fan but these were incredible. I ordered another one and Sandra ordered a rice ball. The rice ball was also very good. Incredibly, I cannot even remember what else I ate. I guess I could not get the zucchini flowers out of my brain. Sandra, if you read this please fill in the blanks. I remember that she had a caccia e pepe pasta but other than that it is a mystery. I loved this restaurant and am definitely going back there again at least once if not more than once before I leave Rome.
After dinner we walked over to the Piazza Campidoglio. It is a beautiful piazza both by day and at night. We also walked toward the back and enjoyed the view of the forum at night and then walked back through a little of the ghetto area. We ended up at the turtle fountain. What a great night. We decided to have dinner again together the following night. We walked together as far as the Ponte Garibaldi bridge and said our goodbyes. It was now almost midnight. I could not believe the size of the crowds out and about walking around. It was packed with people. It was like walking down a narrow street right after a concert just got out. Stores were open, people were buying gelato, kids were still out. Simply amazing.
As I was walking home, I could feel my left foot rubbing on the strap of my shoes. When I got home, I could see that now my left foot was also swollen. I soaked each foot and leg in the sink in cold water and then put more of that prescription cream on my legs on all of the red spots. I took another benedryl and then searched the internet for possible causes or to see if I could figure out what was going on with my legs and feet. My ankles were swollen the most. Thank goodness my legs did not look like any of the horrifying pictures I saw online. I figured I would give the medicine the night to work and if my legs and feet were still swollen in the morning, I would start taking one of the two antibiotic medicines I had with me. The next question though would be, which one to take?
Sunday, June 24th
Sunday morning, I awoke with only my right ankle slightly swollen so things were looking much better. I figured that I better give my feet a rest since I had been walking so much the past few days. I also decided that I better wear long pants just in case this reaction was from the sun. I figured the cause had to be perhaps an allergic reaction to the sun, some sort of reaction from shaving, or a reaction from the heat or even a combination??
I took a short walk over to the Torre Argentina area. It was really hot and humid outside but also a little overcast. I went into the bookstore, Feltrinelli to cool off. I love this store and can spend hours looking at all of the books. They have so many great books that I would love to buy. I just wish books did not weigh so much. I did end up buying 2 Italian language books.
After leaving the bookstore, I found a little grocery store open and bought some basil and some ravioli. unfortunately the did not have any good tomatoes and there was no buffalo di mozzarella as I was thinking caprese salad. On my way back to my apartment, I walked through the ghetto area again. This was my first time exploring this area during the day. I thought about visiting the Jewish Museum but figured I better get my ravioli home and also I better get off my feet for a while. I made lunch and hung out in my apartment for the afternoon.
Sunday night, I met Sandra at her hotel. We walked through the Campo area and then up and down a few more streets. She knows Rome well and it has been very helpful for me to get my bearings with some of her tips on where things are located.
We had an early dinner as Sandra was flying home early the next morning. We ate at Ditirambo. The service was great and the atmosphere was nice. However, I thought the food was just ok. We shared a zucchini and cheese appetizer. I ordered a ravioli dish which was more like a fried pot sticker type of ravioli than an Italian type of ravioli and an eggplant roll calabrian style. Sandra ordered an eggplant pudding dish and a cheese, corn and walnut salad. We thought she must have been given the wrong salad when it arrived as there was no corn in sight. It turned out if we understood the waiter correctly that the mozzarella cheese was supposed to be in the shape of corn. We laughed about it quite a bit as we were not seeing the "corn". The food was good, just not great. My tastes are more toward the typical types of pasta and Italian food.
We walked back to Sandra's hotel and said our goodbyes. It was really nice to have company for dinner. I am so glad we decided to meet while in Rome.
After leaving the hotel, I was debating whether or not to cross the Ponte Sisto late at night on my own or walk down to the Ponte Garibaldi. I met a nice family from New Jersey who was here visiting friends from Rome. They were talking about crossing the bridge. I mentioned that I was a little nervous crossing the bridge alone and would like to cross the bridge with them. The man from Rome told me that the people on the bridge are all harmless. I told him that that was probably true but as a single woman, I still get nervous crossing the bridge alone late at night. Well, when we got to the bridge, I couldn’t believe what I saw! There were tons and tons of people on the bridge. The bridge was also lined with tables of jewelry and other things for sale.
As I crossed to the other side, I saw that the piazza on that side was packed. I could understand a packed Saturday night, but this was Sunday night. I was starting to enjoy being out with the crowds and felt completely safe walking around at night. I have never been a big "city" person but the energy of the night was incredible. I have to thank Sandra because I don’t think that I would have ventured out very far at night after dinner on my own and now I feel much safer to explore more of Rome at night.
I took a walk down to Fior di Luna for a gelato which was a few blocks past my apartment. This is an all natural gelateria that also sells other natural foods from poor countries to help support workers from these countries. On one of the shelves I saw a huge bag of Museli! I wish I saw this first but think that I probably have enough already at my apartment to last me throughout my stay here. I walked around eating my gelato and then even stopped in a couple of stores.
I LOVE Rome!!!