Thursday, June 07, 2007

The road home

For my last night, Frederico, Genarro and I went out for dinner at a really nice Chinese restaurant and then for a few drinks at a Latin bar. We managed to stay up almost until my cab came to take me to the airport at 5am. I made it to the airport with no problems, and even managed to check three bags that weighed more than 20 kilos over the weight limit with no problem.

The last week of my stay has surpassed my wildest expectations. I had lovely time at "Hotel Palma" in Rome, the boys took such good care of me and showed me a side of Rome that tourists don't get to see. I completely fell in love with Rome and all of its excitement and culture. Florence was also completely lovely. I'm a lucky girl to be able to travel alone and make friends all over the world.

Now I'm home, safe and sound, and life is returning to normal. Alex and I went grocery shopping last night. The kitchen needed to be completely restocked and the bill was quite outrageous! I've missed cooking, so we'll be eating like kings as I make up for lost time.

I hope you all enjoyed following me on this adventure. Ciao, ciao for this time!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Florence, Days 19-20

I just had a whirlwind visit to Florence. David and I caught an early train Monday and spent the day seeing the city and doing a bit of shopping. I found a fabulous dress to wear for dinner at MaxMara, as I had to look sharp for our dinner that night at the restaurant, Rossini. It was a really nice place right on the river. It was a Michelin-rated restaurant and we had a nice, relaxed dinner.

Because everything museum-wise is closed on Mondays, I stayed until the afternoon on Tuesday to give us time to see The David at the Academia as well as the Uffizi Gallery. It was such a fabulous way to end my trip!

Here are some highlights from the trip:

The view from the hotel balcony:

Enjoying a glass of wine from the hotel balcony:

Looking spiffy for dinner:
Dinner at Rossini:

Catching a bite at the Cavalli Cafe:

A new friend, Caron, the manager at MaxMara:

Enjoying the sun:

A Tiramisu to end all others:

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Rome, Day 18

I got blessed by the Pope this morning. Even though I'm just a bit skeptical of the whole religion thing, I figured it couldn't hurt! The Pope does a blessing of the crowd at the Vatican every Sunday at noon. It was very rainy, so the crowd was full of people with colored umbrellas. After the blessing, I saw St. Peter's Cathedral, which is what the Pope stands in front in the pictures below.

On the way to the Vatican, I saw this colorful scene. Possibly she had escaped from a traveling circus?

The crowd was full of umbrellas:
If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you can see the Pope in yellow in the center. He's also on the large screen to the right:
A procession in St. Peter's:

Michelangelo's Pieta:

St. Peter's:

For dinner, David, the photographer, and I had sushi for dinner. I'd been craving sushi, so it hit the spot!

Frederico met us in the center after dinner:

Rome, Day 17

Today I had quite an adventure! I spent the morning wandering the city as usual. I saw the Pantheon, and quite a few of the Piazza's all over Rome. I tried the best gelati in Rome, as recommended by Frederico....a place that actually shares his last name: Gellateria Palma. There were so many selections to chose from and the few I tried were fantastic!

The Pantheon:

The Spanish Steps:

Gelateria Palma:I decided to spend a bit of the afternoon reading and people watching in front of the Pantheon. I was buried in my book when I was approached by a guy who told me he had taken my photo and that it had turned out really nicely. I have to say I was a bit apprehensive at first, but he turned out to be a really nice, interesting guy. He was American and we chatted for a bit and he agreed to send me the photo. We ended up walking to a fountain that we both wanted to see and he took a few more photos. They turned out very nicely, it was a coincidence to end all, and I felt quite fabulous having a mini "photo shoot" in front of the Trevi Fountain! He's in town on business, he's a very successful artist who also helps with acquisitions for the Guggenheim collection in New York.

The Pantheon:

He's going to be in Florence on Monday and he's invited me to come for the day and see the city with him. I'm thinking about doing it because I have a few days of travel on my Eurail Pass that I haven't used thanks to the Bologna mix-up.

Marco, Frederico's brother, came home from a business conference today, so I got to meet him and his girlfriend. The three of us met some of his friends out for pizza and what is said to be the best pizza place in Rome. It took forever to get our pizza, but it was worth the wait. The pizza is even thinner than Venice and equally delicious.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


I finally have access to the internet for less than 4 euros/20 minutes, so I've been blogging like crazy. Plus, Gennaro has a reader for my camera card, so that means pictures! I've also added photos to Milan and Ibiza, so read back for those! Enjoy!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rome, Day 16

This morning Frederico and Gennaro took me to a local restaurant for a big Roman breakfast. We feasted on Cappuccino and Coronattos. Coronattos are the Italian version of croissants – only they are sweetened and filled with things like cream and jam. They are devastatingly delicious, as you can imagine. After breakfast, they dropped me off at the metro, where they helped me buy a metro pass and then watched me leave to go see the sights. They took such good care of me, it almost felt like I was leaving for the first day of school or something!

I spent the day visiting some of the highlights of Rome: Pallatine Hill, the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, and the National Roman Museum. I walked everywhere and had fun immersing myself into the history of Rome. It’s amazing how old everything is and how well preserved the structures are.

View from Palatine Hill:

The Forum:

The Colluseum:

Inside the Colluseum:

Back at Frederico’s house, Genarro and his friend came over and he made us Pasta Carbonara – the sauce is just barely cooked eggs with Italian bacon. Once again a fantastic meal! For dessert we finished the rest of the gelato, but this time topped it with an Italian Espresso liquor. It’s a good thing I spent the day walking!

Tomorrow is a Roman Holiday and I was going to go to the beach. Unfortunately, I think the weather will be a little chilly, so now I may see the Pantheon instead. Frederico’s brother is coming back from vacation tonight so we are going to the airport to pick him up. I’ve been sleeping in his luxurious double bed, so that means I’ll be moving to another room!

I just think over and over how lucky I am at how things turned out. I was almost homeless for the weekend, but instead I am being spoiled!