Another warm, sunny day in Rome. And where did I spent the afternoon? At the outlet mall. And all I bought was a cashmere scarf and a new pair of PJs. All in all, a bit sad......
I woke up pretty groggy after a really bad sleep.....I guess the jet lag was still messing up my schedule. I didn't do much in the morning, ran errands, got more cash out of the ATM since my bank refuses to raise my daily withdrawal limit. (Royal Bank must feel it's really protecting itself against potential thieves cleaning out my account!)
By noon, I was meandering towards La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, a homey little restaurant near the Colosseum, for a Slow Travel get-together. Perfect weather for wandering around the Forum area, and a nice day for a large protest by Bangladeshi workers -- all men -- along the Via dei Fori Imperiali. I wish I could explain their protest, but alas -- my Italian isn't up to it. The march was peaceful and several men veered off the protest route to have a good look over the Forum itself and enjoy a bit of a day out.
Our GTG was fairly small and included VickyP, from Slow Travel, her daughter Zoe; and regular ST poster Tony da Roma, who operates 3 Millennia Tours in Rome and is expanding his business into Croatia. Lunch was inexpensive and very good -- the taverna has received positive reviews on Slow Travel for good reason. I again tried the cacio e pepe, which featured especially hot pepper. Perfect! I've tried the recipe many times at home and it's hard, in its simplicity, to get right.
It's always fun to meet other travellers, especially after chatting on the message board. And as we wrapped up lunch at about 3 p.m. my landlady Natalia from Dolce Roma popped in to take me shopping. I had known the semi-annual sales were on, but until Natalia offered to take me to the Castel Romano outlet mall outside the city, I had planned to stick to the stores around the Via Condotti, hoping 70 per cent off might put a few designer goods in my price range.
I'm not a very committed shopper, but I couldn't resist trying on a few things in the Valentino outlet; eying some wild designs in Roberto Cavalli; and I came very close to buying some Frette sheet sets on sale, but settled instead for incredibly soft pyjamas. And a meltingly soft cashmere scarf that was 70 per cent off and still pretty costly (for my budget) yet I couldn't resist. However, I think we were a bit late for the real deals; I gather Rome's huge semi-annual sale began several days earlier and selection was already limited by the time we arrived.
Still, it was interesting to see some designer fashions and I was sorely tempted by a gorgeous fall/spring coat which was tweed, shot through with silver and gold thread. It would look perfect in Rome; less so in Ottawa's cold and windy climate. The mall was refreshing as well, as it is actually open to the skies; it's laid out like most North American malls, but the halls linking the stores are open to the sun and moon, and plenty of fresh air.
By 8 p.m. we were back in town and I decided to head for dinner to Ditirambo, on the edge of the Campo dei Fiori. It was filling up fast, but I snagged a table before two large groups of American students arrived. I started with a small and excellent pear-and-gorgonzola souffle, followed by pumpkin ravioli -- a Ditirambo standby that for some reason, wasn't on the menu when I was last in Rome. I've also decided to take a vow of pasta celibacy for the next day or two. Although Thursday is gnocchi night in Rome. (Is gnocchi a pasta?) Thursday is also my designated Vatican day, so no more shopping (although I must stock up on the 2008 Handsome Priests calendar, which I'm hoping to find outside Vatican City.)