Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Roman Holiday Part 9 - Pizza & Wine and Everything's Fine

Previously: I did a lot of stuff in Rome, most recently wandering around on Aventine Hill, so much so that it made me hungry for dinner. I decided to go to La Montecarlo, which is a pizzeria that was highly recommended in my Frommer’s guide. Distance-wise it was a bit of a walk from my hotel, but the path seemed straightforward enough on the map. Suffice to say, I got completely lost, yet again, and this time I really should’ve known better.

I went to far North, and instead of turning around on the main street I was on I decided to head East and then what I assumed would be back south, as if the crazy backstreets of Rome were formed in an NYC-style grid. They are not. They took me in several diagonal directions until I wound up heading North again. So, eventually I made it back to the right street heading in the right direction. I kept walking East, waiting to come across La Montecarlo but I kept on going and nothing was there. By this time, I’m really hungry because dinner is already much later than usual and I’ve been walking (and biking! Nilor!) all day long. Just as I’m about to give and head to the nearest McDonald’s (there are quite a few) . I give myself one more intersection, and there luckily was La Montecarol. The restaurant was very busy and there was a long line of people waiting. Since it is “solo mio” eating at a table for one tonight, though, I get seated rather quickly. A bonus of travelling alone is that even crowded places can usually find a space for just one person.

So I sit down and look over the menu. I went with “The Frieds, for One” as my appetizers and a pizza with all the toppings for my main meal and ¼ carafe of house red to drink. I went with the frieds, because back on the plane ride over the Tisi Women told me I had to sample the fried cheese balls that have different fillings in them. This seemed like my last big opportunity. When the frieds came out, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. The plate was huge! How was this an order for one person? Seriously there were probably 12 pieces of fried goodness in my serving. I wolfed them down. They were quite filling and I probably would’ve been okay with just eating them for dinner but I knew I had a personal size pizza on the way so I’d just have to really fill up tonight. I gulp down the carafe of wine, which was gone before the pizza came out. I order a second carafe to eat with the pizza. So delicious! Worth wandering the streets at night to find it.

So now I was stuffed to the gills what else could be the next stop for the night but Giolotti’s for a triple scoop of gelati? Sounded reasonable to me. I figured I’d take a nighttime stroll around the Pantheon and then make my way up to my favorite gelati store. As I’m walking along, I recognize that I’m a bit tipsy. Certainly not drunk because no matter how much wine I had I’d eaten just pounds and pounds of food. But it had been a LONG day and I was tired and the streets of Rome are very uneven and I was staggering, more so than usual. I was also feeling happy. As I came upon the Pantheon (I found it without getting lost!) everything suddenly became really hilarious to me. The craziness of taking this trip by myself, all the stuff I’d seen the fact that I had managed to avoid getting myself in any trouble despite my general ignorance about where I would be. Then, my life in general became really hilarious to me. How I was alone and had been for a long time and no matter what new goals I had set for myself over the past year, I still had not managed to solve that one big riddle of loneliness in my life. Oh, how funny it suddenly was! I looked up at the Pantheon, who’d been standing in that same spot for a couple millennia. Did it have answers to this riddle? Did it feel lonely? I give one of it’s big marble columns a hug. It feels so strong and cool against me skin. Maybe I was a little drunk.

(Looking at this picture makes jealous of myself for that delicious gelati. I also i wonder where I put that sweater...)

The piazza around the Pantheon was bustling late at night even though it had closed hours before. It was still filled with people who were eating at the surrounding restaurants or just sitting around and talking, drinking in the atmosphere. I make my way up the street and around the corner to Giolotti’s and get myself a nice cone of chocolate chip, frutti di bosco and pistachio. Yum yum yum! There was room in my tummy after all! With cone in hand, I headed back to my hotel. I would be leaving for Rome the following afternoon and I had a full morning of activities planned.

At the hotel, I made my way to the lounge (which was empty of course, since the bar closes at midnight) and hopped on the computer to find out where in the hell that Mouth of Truth was hiding. Turns out the concierge lady was pretty close in finding it for me. Instead of being South of Circus Maximus west of it instead. I double check with the map in my Frommer’s guide and sure enough I see piazza bocca d. verita in blue italic font. With that I retired to my room and start packing all my non-essentials for tomorrow, so I didn’t have to spend time on it in the morning. Then thoroughly exhausted, I conked out on my bed for a good night’s sleep.

My previous adventures: My Flight There, Emperor Palpatine's Hill, Good Times at the Colosseo & Vatican, SPB & The 39 Steps, The Pantheon, Gays and Dining Out. Owen & Nilor Take Via Borghese, The More Than 39 steps of Vittoriano and The Battle For Aventine Hill

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