After Gen and Cooper left Rome (sigh), Dad arrived on Thursday (yay!).
First order of business was breakfast (of course) so we went to Panella, an amazing bakery around the corner from the school and had a delicious grape tarte with two caffe-lattes and an orange juice, of course. This place is overwhelming with all the smells and colorful candies, tartes, and breads. These little marzipan treats were teasing us from just across the table:
Then I took him to my class as a show-and-tell on Thursday morning and was all but bombarded with questions about the state of the American economy. I guess that'll teach me to bring an American financial guy into a room of study-abroad students burdened by college loans! After taking him to the ethnic market near my apartment (as a rude and somewhat shocking welcome to Rome!) and he got checked into the hotel, we were off! That afternoon and evening, we crossed the Tiber and I took him to Castroni, the international food store in Rome, where the "American Food" section consists of Heinz ketchup, Jiffy peanut butter, Aunt Jemima syrup, and Betty Crocker cake mix (with directions in Spanish). We strolled along until we reached St. Peter's in the Vatican City - it was closed, but considering it wasn't one of our top priorities, we think we saw enough!
We loved the guards and their funny jester outfits. I'm not sure they returned the sentiment.
For dinner, we ate at La Vecchia Roma, where I had previously broken a wine glass. Thank goodness they didn't recognize me, and we had no trouble devouring steamed mussels, fried rice balls with marinara and mozzarella, and flambéd buccatini all'amatriciana (tomato sauce and bacon)...mmmm!
The next morning it poured for hours (just our luck), so we did some church tours and stayed inside as much as possible. I also took Dad to la Cartoleria Pantheon, favorite stationary store extraordinaire, and he was equally impressed.
Saturday we had the best adventure of all - a trip to Calcata, a small village on a cliffside about one and a half hours north of Rome. In the '60s (I think) it was condemned by the government because it was considered too dangerous due to the decay of the cliff on which it was perched. But after all the residents moved to Calcata Nuova (New Calcata), a bunch of artists rallied together and made enough noise to have it fortified, then made their home there. So the tiny village is just full of galleries and artisan stores, some of which are in the homes of the people who run them. The whole village was quaint and charming, and full of cats, which is never a bad thing in my book!
The town as seen from the bus stop:
A cat! Curled up in a pot:
One of the several beautiful, charming doorways:
On Sunday, we went to the Villa Borghese (the huge park) and went to the Galleria Borghese, which is the private art collection of the Borghese family. It's a beautiful collection where most of Carevaggio's paintings are housed. We weren't allowed to take pictures. Sunday night we found a German beer place (of all things!) because Dad wanted to try German beer in Europe where it would be freshest. He certainly liked his hefeweissbier...
...at least more so than he liked trying to drink out of the fontanelle on the street:
Besides all these awesome things that we did, we ate amazing food (for the most part!) and listened to some great jazz at two newly discovered (for me, anyway) jazz clubs here in Rome. But then again, would Dad and I have it any other way? I think not...
My next adventure (which I just returned from) was a trip to Capri (CAP-ree)! After a nightmare of a trip there (missing a train, trying to catch a boat from the wrong port, barely making the last ferry...) Carolyn and I arrived in scenic Capri on Sunday afternoon. The ferry ride there reminded me of the ride to Martha's Vineyard, which has always been a very fond memory, so I was immediately at ease. Our hotel was in Anacapri (the smaller, less touristy village on the other side of the island). Booking the hotel on that side was actually a mistake, but it ended up being a fortuitous one! The island in general, and Anacapri even more so, was clean, calm, and safe - the complete opposite of everything I can't stand about Rome!
I ultimately only spent 25 hours on the island, but we did so much on Monday that I don't feel like I missed out on much. Since we were all three asleep by 9:30PM on Sunday, we were up and out of the hotel by 8:30AM on Monday. First we took a bus to the edge of the island near la Grotta Azzura (the blue cave) where there is the bluest water in all of the island. The opening to the cave is less than one meter high, so everyone has to lay flat on the boat while going in, but those few seconds of not knowing exactly how close you are to smashing into the rock is definitely worth the view once you get inside:
Then we went on a chairlift that takes you up a mountain over Anacapri and lets you off at the top to see the amazing views. It was a little foggy, so at first we were disappointed, but everything was amazing nonetheless!
Here are my little feet hanging over my chair...
After that, we headed over to Capri (the main town on the island). It's definitely rich, rich, rich, with nothing but stores like Prada, Gucci, Furla... nothing more than window shopping for us! I took a 4:30PM ferry back to Naples and caught an amazing sunset on the boat. Then a train back to Rome in time to do some laundry and pack before I leave for Paris tomorrow! Tough life, huh?
There are a ton more pictures of my visit to Capri on my Picasaweb site, as well as more pictures of my visit with Dad! Check them out here:
Happy reading! I'm off to Paris, only to return with more tales of adventure...