After a late night of watching the Ryder Cup, we got up early to get a few things to the hotel laundry. The last time we stayed here our experience with laundry wasn’t the best. Sort of like the mail delivery with Cliff, the postman on Cheers, our clothes went to someone else and we got an interesting assortment of duds. We shall see…
After that, it was up and off to see the sights. We grabbed a taxi and headed for the Colosseum. I was immediately approached by a smiling gentleman wearing a Roman soldier outfit, complete with wooden gladius (short stabbing sword.) He offered to pose with me for a picture or two, and I leapt at the bait while David looked horrified. After taking a couple of pics (which were actually pretty good,) David handed him two Euros, which he looked at as though he was being given a jar of warm spit. “Ten, My price is ten. I am worth it,” he sternly admonished. “Do you want change?” he asked, producing a roll of bills which would buy a nice starter home. I meekly handed him the ten, David gave me a silent “I warned you” look which I answered with a silent “one word and I’ll grab his gladius and skewer you” look. Lesson learned we headed down the street, avoiding a stream of gladiators, mimes, and human statues.
The weather wasn’t great, but was warming up. We had layered heavily when we embarked on our expedition, as the temperature was a cool 61, but as it soared past the mid 70s, we were obviously overdressed, looking sort of like “Nanook hits Miami in July.” Regardless, I got some nice shots of the Colosseum and Forum before we headed up the Via Cavour in search of a restaurant we had dined at years earlier. We found it in short order, laughing at memories of our last experience there when we decided to dine on their terrace while temperatures hovered in the 50s and winds around 30 mph howled. We were greeted by a nice young man who seated us at the same table we had last time, once again, the only people dining on the terrace…for a while.
The restaurant name was new (Cleto la Porta del Colosseo) but the menu basically unchanged, with the typical dishes commonly found in Rome. I had Saltimbocca a la Romana while David (again) went with an Amatriaciana dish, lured by the promise that the pasta would be bucatini. For a veggie, I ordered a green salad, and David had chicory with garlic, pepper, and olive oil. We decided to scale back on our wine consumption so went with a glass each of “white.” The food was pretty good, and the prices very reasonable. Only the noise from traffic on the Via Cavour was a distraction. We didn’t hear it the last time because it was drowned out by the howling wind…
In due course, groups of folks flocked to our terrace just as they had on our last visit. The waiter was thrilled as the crowd grew. It was nice to see them get some business. We asked for espresso to end our meal and were rewarded with one strong enough to etch glass. After that, we paid the modest bill and headed down the Via Cavour for more photography.
Hadrian’s Market and Forum were on the way back, and I got a lot of good shots. We passed a classical guitarist who was performing in the small garden that adjoins Hadrian’s Market and David gave him a silent look that said “your ‘E ‘and ‘A’ strings are flat.” As he was performing with his eyes closed to convey his rapture with playing out-of-tune music, he missed the look and advice.
After reaching the end of the main boulevard that is lined with monuments and buildings, we found ourselves on the Via del Corso, a major shopping street. Spying a sign that said “Piazza Minerva” David realized where we were (about four blocks from the Pantheon) and seized the opportunity to redeem his navigating reputation, guiding us skillfully back to our room.
We peeled off our heavy clothes, cooled off for a bit, and headed to the Piazza della Rotondo for a glass of wine and some people watching. Grabbing a table at one of the many cafes that line the Piazza, we ordered two glasses of wine and started watching. Two Americans quickly took the table next to us and immediately offered to take our picture together. As there were no gladiators or Roman soldiers around to complete the photo, we declined. I whispered to David, “can you believe the bad dye job this guy has?” He responded that he thought the guy looked a lot like Roy Orbison, if Orbison had a bad dye job and wasn’t dead.
Then a French couple took the other table next to us. The wife made a few comments in French about us, which David understood. We exchanged a few words between us in French to let them know that we were international travelers with a blog, and they shouldn’t mess with us. We then proceeded to watch the endless stream of tourists and tour groups go by until it was time to meander back to our hotel for the obligatory “we’re over 60” nap.
Around 8:30 we answered a knock at the door and greeted the bellman with our laundry. Being experienced, we checked to be sure all was in order and found that he had delivered a nun’s habit and a Roman soldier suit with 225,000 Euro in the pocket. Just kidding, all was in order, so we decided to celebrate with a glass of wine on the hotel terrace.
Then, it was back to turn in. Tomorrow is a dialysis session followed by the Trevi Fountain and maybe the Via Veneto and a Bellini at Harry’s American Bar.