Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sunday, 12/25

  • breakfast: mozzerella di bufala and bread
  • lunch: Napoli pizza (i.e., mozzerella and tomato sauce pressed sandwich) and cafè lattè
  • dinner: bresaola, arugula, and parmesan salad; ravioli with seafood; wine; crème caramel

Christmas closed down much of Rome, limiting our choice of food. After breakfast--bread and mozzerella, kept for a day at room temperature and getting worse every minute--we made a last, hopeless attempt to see the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums. There was a big crowd on the metro, which we followed to St. Peter's Basilica. The balcony there looked like it was being readied for the pope, so we stuck around, and lo--there was the pope. He gave a short speech in Italian and then repeated it in Spanish, French, English (heavily accented), and German. He read a paragraph in a few other languages, and then wished us a merry Christmas in about twenty different ones. His Hungarian was well pronounced.

Lunch was a panino (singular of panini!) with bad tomato sauce, decent mozzerella, and good bread. The coffee was excellent, even if I broke the rules of Italian coffee by getting it.

We spent much of the afternoon walking. We saw the remains of a very old and pretty bridge over the Tiber. Along the way I made Joel practice saying things in Hungarian (for my own benefit, of course) until he got sick of it. I enjoyed it, though.

We ended up in Trastevere (the neighborhood across the Tiber--see, Italian is easy). Joel was exhausted, so even though it was early, we stopped for dinner. The bresaola was fine but too salty; the arugula was amazing, more peppery and intense than typical arugula. Next was ravioli in a light tomato sauce with clams, mussels, shrimp, and prawns. I'd never had a prawn before (in fact, I had to look them up to make sure that's what they were); they were very sweet and not at all fishy. It was an excellent pasta. It was a lot of work to eat, which was good since I had accidentally ordered an entire bottle of wine instead of a quarter liter. It took long enough to eat that I was able to drink it all, minus the little bit Joel had.

I left my hat at the restaurant and went back to get it. I didn't have to go inside, because someone had put it on the doorknob of the entrance. I'm not sure whether they were leaving it for me, or for the needy and hatless on Christmas.

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