I started writing this post yesterday afternoon as my husband was having an afternoon nap and I had some time on my hands, and wanted to share with you what we had done thus far. So I wrote and wrote and added photos and remarks and generally enjoyed myself, and had almost finished, when everything crashed and I lost it all. Please don’t tell me I should have saved as I went along. I know. Please don’t tell me I should have written it elsewhere first. I know.
Anyway, I was extremely annoyed and stomped around the hotel room for a bit (and no, I did not wake the sleeping partner), and put my phone on charge and read my book. So there.
But now I am at home again, and have calmed down a bit, so I can relate it all again. Here goes.
Friday night we were going to go for dinner with a friend who lives in Rome – her choice of restaurant, which turned out to be be fabulous.
We had no idea what to expect – as we walked in it looked very grand and imposing with a lobster tank by the door, but then we were welcomed inside and it took on the appearance of a somewhat rustic diner. The service and food were anything but rustic however. I had artichokes Roman style to start with:
which were absolutely delicious followed by a perfect sea bass. The culmination of the meal however was the orange ice cream which was not a sorbet, but actually creamy ice cream, suffused with zest of orange and perfect.
We had a lovely evening and then we were offered a lift back to our hotel. Quite inadvertently we took the scenic route, and so we had a beautiful tour of Rome by night. It really is the most extraordinary city.
Yesterday morning we didnt rush, though if we had known how much paper work and admin there is to do, to check in online perhaps we could have got up a couple of hours earlier. We had booked lunch for one thirty but before then someone had advised us to go and see the Galleria Sciarra, which is somewhere near the Trevi fountain. Well, not too far from where we were staying, so off we went. Unfortunately, the day before I had noticed a shoe shop selling the most delightful coloured footwear. I had to find it. Luckily it wasn’t too difficult to spot, as the shoes just seemed to shout out, try me! Buy me!
Jacek said he would wait outside as he was not impressed with my choice. I was just speaking to the owner, when he came in and said to the man – can we look at these? He had found something extra special. Ten minutes later I was two pairs of shoes the richer and my bag was quite a bit heavier.
Never mind. We pressed on, but it was Saturday and the roads were getting full of people. Nothing like the first evening when everything was gloriously empty and you could move and see in comfort. But we were keen to see this Gallery – apparently it is a beautiful piecce of of late 19th century architecture, and so we continued our search. At one point we both got tired and a bit ratty – time for a cooling drink, and we found a cafe. We showed our green passes and sat down. and what should we see out of the window, but the Galleria. Except there was no actual way to have a look. Everything was tightly padlocked shut.
I wasn’t going to give up entirely, and when we went towards the padlocked gate there were some girls pouting and posing and having their photos taken in front of it. We were now in a hurry, so I said excuse me in my best teacherish style – they jumped aside and I had a closer look.
This is all I could see:
Next door there was an old cinema:
But we did not have time to explore. Our Michelin starred lunch was waiting. We took a cab back to the hotel, dumped my new shoes and went to a suburb of Rome to a gorgeous nineteenth century villa.
Now this was grand and imposing. And old. We were very excited about the food. Apparently it’s quite hard to get a Michelin star.
We were given the menu and chose accordingly. The dining room was very large and had only four tables, one in each corner of the room. The waiters were courteous and efficient. We sat by the orangery window, and it was very hot.
A window somewhere was opened.
We ordered and waited.
Before long the amuse gueules arrived. So very pretty, so photographable. Here you are.
This was the cleverest one. A honey bee set on a comb made of pollenta, all placed on a honey spoon.
We were given lots of homemade breads and olive oil which was delicious.
Then came this:
Again, very pretty.
Unforunately Jacek still wasn’t feeling too well when the first course arrived. I had marinated duck with kale and orange with a delicious little duck pithvier to go with it.
Jacek had some sort of egg and mushroom concoction
And then you will be pleased to hear we stopped taking photos.
I had a lemon risotto which is not photogenic at the best of times – and I don’t think food has to be, especially if it tastes delicious, and Jacek had a roast partridge, which by the time the waiter had carved it, it arrived cold and rawish.
I think you can tell by now that we were not particularly impressed. It’s a shame, but although most of the food looked nice, and arrived with panache in covered cloches and what have you, it didn’t actually taste of anything very much. In fact, it had to be the worst meal we have had in Rome. You gets what you pays for they say, but it didn’t happen here. A shame.
We got a cab back to the hotel where I wrote all this the first time round before I lost it, and Jacek slept it off.
When he woke up he was hungry, and so was I. Off we set across the river to find somewhere more congenial. It wasn’t difficult and so our last meal in Rome left a good taste in our mouth, so to speak.
Rome is not all about food though. We didn’t go sightseeing in the conventional sense, we just wandered and took in the incredibly imposing architecture. the front doors which are three times as high as anywhere else in the world, the litttle lanes, the cobbles.
What intrigued me were the little gazebos all over the place, just big enough for four diminutive soldiers to stand and watch the crowds go by. We asked the taxi driver today and he said they were installed all over Rome a few years ago as an antiterrorist ploy. Not quite sure how that works, but maybe..
Also we noticed that Rome is like an antihill full of smart cars, careering along the cobbles, parking everywhere there is space for a dustbin or a lamppost. Just everwhere, all higgledy piggledy, on corners, on zebras. It’s no easier or safer to cross the road than it was in 1999 when I went with my son; we learnt what to do then by watching frail old ladies march stentoriously into traffic – which always stopped precisely ten millimetres from said ladies.
It’s more or less the same now – there are traffic lights but most cars seem to ignore them!
Anyway, we had a wonderful three days and now I want to go back soon. The weather was absolutely perfect. We came back to drizzle and cold – not nearly as pleasant.