Saturday, June 23rd
When I walked out the door on Saturday morning, I realized that my right shoe felt tight. I looked down and my right foot was twice as fat as my left foot. My chacos are adjustable and so I spent a little time getting them to fit. I thought, now was the time to be able to wear all of those shoes that never fit me before as my feet are pretty narrow. Well at least one of my feet could wear them.
I started out my day deciding to have a coffee at Tazza d'Oro, a place recommended as one of the best places to have coffee in Rome. The only information I had was that it was near the Pantheon. The walk from my apartment to the Pantheon with stops to take pictures along the way was about 15 minutes. I looked around for the bar. There was a place right across from the Pantheon with a sign difficult to see because of the way the table umbrellas were blocking the sign. I saw a "z" on the sign and assumed it was Tazza d'Oro. It was pretty late in the morning as I spent some time on the internet before leaving the apartment Saturday morning and so there was no one else inside. I figured everyone already had their cup of coffee and was off touring Rome. I went over the the bar which was pretty tiny and thought that was a little odd. I also found it odd that there were no pastries as most bars have an assortment to go with your coffee. I ordered my caffè machiatto and was ready to taste "best" cup of coffee. I thought it was a great coffee and told the bartender that I read this place has one of the best cups of coffee and that they were right. He told me that Sant' Eustachio has the best coffee. I thought that was odd that he would say that when working at Tazza d'Oro. I asked him where Sant' Eustachio was located as I read that the other highly rated place for a cup of coffee was Sant' Eustachio. I had wanted to try their coffee also and would then compare for myself to decide which I liked the best. When I went to pay, I saw some cards on the bar. They were for Zio Ciro which seems to be a chain restaurant, pizzeria, caffè, and gelateria. I couldn't believe that this entire time I was thinking I was at Tazza d'Oro when really I was at Zio Ciro. Well either the power of suggestion worked or they also make a superb coffee as I really enjoyed my morning cup.
Now I had to go search out Tazza d'Oro. I am only a one cup drinker and so I figured I would get a brioche and then start my day. When I found Tazza d'Oro, it was packed. That should have been my first hint. I waited by the choices of pastries and no one helped me. I then realized that this was one of the places where you need to pay first. I went to pay and then got one of those snail like pastries that has raisins in it. It was very sweet and filling. I walked around the Pantheon while eating it enjoying the views. I then felt that I needed some coffee to go with that pastry. I decided to go search out Sant' Eustachio since the directions were still fresh in my head. I found the piazza and saw the sign over a beautiful caffè with the name Camilloni Sant' Eustachio. This time I was going to have one of the "best" coffees in Rome! Inside the bar was huge with tons of choices of pastries and other sweets. Again though, there were no other customers inside but there were a few sitting at the tables outside. By now it was 11 or 11:30 and so I just figured I was late for a morning coffee. I ordered my caffè machiatto and this time thought it was an good cup of coffee but nothing to rave about. After paying, I walked through the piazza and then really could not believe my stupidity. There in front of me was the real Caffè Sant' Eustachio packed with people. There was no way I could function on 3 cups and so I will have to leave my search for that "superb" coffee for another day.
By now I was wide awake and ready for the day. I headed over to the Piazza Navona for another peak at the beautiful piazza and then thought perhaps I would spend the day shopping. I wanted to find the street, Via Margutta, where part of Roman Holiday took place and headed that way. At one point when taking one wrong street, I ended up near one of the bridges and saw Castel Sant' Angelo. I had always wanted to go inside that castle and so change of plans, I headed toward the castle. The bridges near the castle have huge statues on them. I walked over 2 of the bridges taking pictures of the various statues, the castle, & St. Peter's Basilica. I then spent a lovely afternoon inside the castle. There were lots of little rooms to explore with amazing frescoes and also 360 degree views of Rome on the way up and again at the top of the castle. It was really worth the cost of admission (5 euros). When leaving the castle, I stopped in the bookstore and then made friends with a gorgeous cat.
When leaving the Castel Sant' Angelo, the Basilica was so beautiful that I could not pass up walking that way. The day before it was so hot out that I decided that I would wear shorts on Saturday and skip churches on this day. I figured that it would be pretty crowded but actually it was not. I took a bunch of pictures from the outside, thought about buying a little wrap to go inside, but decided against it as I knew I still had plenty of days left to return.
By this time, I noticed that my foot was really swollen and there was a strange red rash on much of my leg which also seemed swollen. My foot started to feel tingly which I did not think was a good sign. Although I had walked by a few hospitals since arriving in Rome, I was not planning on a visit. I headed back to my apartment by way of the river, a beautiful walk, and then put some of this prescription cream I have for allergic reactions and rashes and also took benedryl and zyrtec.
more later on my dinner...