Genevieve and Cooper ventured from Paris to help me celebrate my birthday a few days early. They arrived late Thursday night after hours of me pacing awaiting their arrival!
Friday, after a trip to the market down the street that we visited with the intention of cooking our haul that evening, we spent a few hours at the Villa Borghese riding bikes and almost killing unsuspecting tourists. Roman god Cooper whipped up and down the hills and Gen pushed on after him, but I ended up walking my bike up most of the hills we hit...who is surprised?! I much preferred the downhill parts, at which points I tended to furiously ring the bell on the handle because as it turns out, after years of not riding a bike that you were never great at riding to begin with, it's not so easy to get back on and not hurt someone. We made it through without a law suit or breaking any limbs, though.
Then we walked around the fancy part of Rome and went by the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and the Via del Corso where we went into shops in which we couldn't afford to buy half a button. We covered quite a lot of ground then headed back to the apartment. We had been planning on cooking but then we were invited to an aperetif! And who could say no to that? We ended up going out for drinks with Nadia and some of her friends, then to a great wine bar where I had gnocchi alla romana (bigger gnocchi with less flour), Genevieve had delicious eggplant parm, and we all shared good wine and a huge plate of meat! Then we tasted Lambrusco, a chilled red sparkling wine. It was delicious, so thanks to Cooper for introducing us to that! After the wine bar we went to a chocolate factory and drank the richest, thickest chocolate of our lives! More like fondue in a tea cup with a spoon in it. I got the spiced hot chocolate that was actually much spicier than I expected. I know I'm a whimp about that kind of thing, but my mouth was on fire! From there we headed to a University of Rome sit-in that turned out to be a bit too mellow to keep our wine-filled selves awake, so we went home. Even though I'd been pushing to open presents all day, I passed out before Cooper could even say goodnight. So on Saturday morning...
...after coffee, of course, I opened my gifts! Finally! As if buying tickets to come to Rome and not letting me pay for a single thing all weekend except one gelato on the last day weren't enough, they came bearing gifts, and what gifts they were. First up is Cooper's - a cutting edge transportation system for candy that is at once chic and useful: a duck backpack filled with candy! Oh, excuse me...a pilot duck backpack filled with candy:
Then, just in the nick of time, as one side of my wallet completed seceded from the rest of it, Genevieve gave me the perfect replacement. If I could put touchable or smellable things on this blog, I would, but I can't. So you'll just have to trust me when I say that this is the softest, most buttery-feeling leather object I've ever had, and certainly the best leather-smelling too. And the color is perfect, and would blend in perfectly with the dining room at home, as Genevieve so keenly pointed out!
Needless to say, I am spoiled. I love it :-)
After, we went back out touring, starting with the cat sanctuary at the Largo Argentina! We didn't end up going on the actual guided tour, but Coopy and Genvie got to see the animals I've had such a connection with in Rome! Then the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, Trastevere, and the Campo dei Fiori! And all the shops and streets in between. Genevieve was in cahoots with Marta and surprised me with one dozen long stem red roses on her behalf while we were at the flower market. They are now housed in a Jameson tin! Because we couldn't find any vases at the apartment.
Genevieve and Cooper were both wearing striped shirts and flashy sunglasses that day. I was proud to be walking around Rome with such fashionable attractive people!
Saturday night we went out to dinner at a restaurant that flambés pasta in a parmeggiano reggiano cheese rind! But we didn't get to watch the spectacle because it was too crowded. The end result was fantastic, though, I can attest! The wine was only 3.50 euros per half liter, which might have had something to do with the fact that before the night was up, I broke a wine glass and spilled its contents all over myself. Good thing I was wearing navy blue...
After dinner we went out to an Irish pub called Scholars, where the clientel was completely American. I mean COMPLETELY! It was really funny - an Irish pub in Rome filled with Americans.
Sunday we tried to cook the chicken that we had bought and intended to cook Friday night, but it smelled funky and as Cooper says, when in doubt, throw it out! So throw it out we did. And we ate risotto milanese, roasted potatoes, and caprese salad with Nadia and her friend Francesca. Genevieve mostly just ate the garlic and onions that we roasted with the potatoes.
There are more pictures of the weekend, but they were mostly taken by Cooper, Genevieve, Carolyn, and crew. I will post as I acquire them and find them appropriate for all viewing audiences.
In one and a half hours I will be 21!