Eating in Rome

The Norwegian Jade arrived at Civitavecchia at 6 am on October 26, 2011.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8 am.

We got some breakfast at the buffet.

Ivan and I packed up the rest of our stuff.  We left the boat at 9:15 am.  There was no line to leave which was nice. 

Immigration was easy – they just looked at my passport and waved me through.

It was a rainy day in Italy.  We hoped it wouldn’t be raining in Rome as well.  We got the train from Civitavecchia to Rome.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I were really hungry.  Ivan wanted to find an internet cafe, but we weren’t having any luck.  We needed to print our boarding passes for our flight later.  You would make lots of money with an internet café in the middle of Rome.

Ivan found a wi-fi connection, so we could find some stuff to do.  We had a few hours to waste before our flight later today.  We went to Le Bistrot since we had a wi-fi connection right in front of the restaurant.  The connection was a bit buggy, but worked in one spot.  Ivan and I shared beans with pepper and sage, pasta with tartufo and porchini mushrooms and pasta cacio e pepe (pepper and cheese).  The food was alright.

The rain had gone away and the sky started to clear.

I went to use the bathroom.  The place was located next door.  I noticed that they had a computer and a printer.  I told Ivan this and he asked if he could use their printer so we could print our boarding passes.  They asked if he was a guest, but he said he just needed to print boarding passes so they agreed.

We went to get gelato at Il gelato di San Crispino.  I had Caramel and Grape while Ivan had Caramel and Banana.  Of course, Lil Dave got Banana with another scoop of Banana.  It was tasty gelato!

We saw a group of men all in silver sitting on the street.  They seemed to be drunk, but were dressed in a humorous way with masks and they had fake knives.  I gave a tip and Ivan took a few pictures. 

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Wish all buskers were as funny!

Ivan thought that we should eat more and then head to the airport early.  We got a great brochure during the Eating Italy tour.  We tried to find a good pizza place on the brochure.  Most of the places were only open for dinner.  So, we walked around to find a pizza place. 

We found a restaurant called Cantina & Cucina.  Lil Dave got a pizza made with his own bananas.  Ivan and I shared Contadina pizza with tomato, mozzarella, zucchini, eggplants and pepper. 

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It didn’t have much pepper on it, so Ivan added more.  The pizza was alright.  A lady at the restaurant told us where the nearest tram was.

We got the train to Termini station.  We got the train to the airport from there.  Ivan and I used the internet at the airport.  We checked in for our Wizz flight very quickly. 

The flight wasn’t all booked up.  We left Rome headed to Prague, Czech Republic at 9:45 pm.  The plane arrived at 11 pm.  There was no Immigration to go through which I thought was odd.  But, Ivan said it was fine since it’s in the EU.

Ivan set up pick-up from the airport from our accommodation through AirBnB.  It was a short drive away.  The man gave us the keys to the airport and a Prague map.  We had the 1 bedroom apartment all to ourselves which was nice.  It had a living room area.  Lil Dave was happy since there was a big couch for him to chill out on and sleep on.

We used the free internet and later went to bed.

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Park Tour

Ivan, Lil Dave and I met up with the Eating Italy tour on October 14, 2011.  Our tour guide was an American man named Danny.

The group consisted of 8 people and 1 monkey.  We were given a booklet listing the places we’d be going to on the tour and recommendations for pizzerias, restaurants, pastry shops and gelato shops in Rome.  Our first stop was the Testaccio Market. 

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It’s a cool covered market that has many stalls filled with vegetables, fruits, fish, cheese and meats.  Danny took us to La Prosciutteria di Enzo e Lina.  Here, we had our first food tasting of mozzarella cheese.  It was salty and tasted great.

Danny told us that locals get to know the owners of the stalls.  They’re loyal to the owner and keep coming back to their stall for the products.  This loyalty will give the customer free stuff or the owner will reserve products just for them.

The next stop at the market was the stall of the Tomato Poet.  This man has 45 different varieties of tomatoes.  The Tomato Poet asks the customer what dish he or she will make and then he will find the right tomato for the dish.  Our second food tasting were a few kinds of tomatoes. Ivan and I don’t like raw tomatoes, so we passed on the tasting.  Lil Dave would have been in heaven if there was a Banana Poet who had 45 varieties of bananas.  But, we didn’t see any monkeys selling bananas in the market.

The group walked to a gourmet cheese shop called Volpetti.  We got cheese for our next food tasting.  Ivan and I chose vegetarian, so the rest of the group also got prosciutto.  The cheeses were quite tasty.  We went inside the shop to check out the cheeses.  The store had a variety of cheeses which were all really expensive.

It was on to Barberini.  This shop sells desserts and coffee.  Ivan and I each ordered an espresso.  We enjoyed our coffee with a tiramisu. 

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The tiramisu wasn’t the best.  Bar Pompi’s tiramisu was a lot tastier.

We walked to the Protestant cemetery.  This cemetery has 4,000 people buried in it including Percy Shelley and John Keats. 

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A big pyramid is located right behind the cemetary.  It was built for a man, but at completion he didn’t have enough money to pay for it – so they ended up throwing his body in the river. 

The group stopped at Flavio al Velavevodetto for lunch. 

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Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana and Carbonara pasta was served.  Since we got the vegetarian menu, Ivan and I were served a nice portion of cacio e pepe (spaghetti with pecorino cheese and pepper).  The pasta was very tasty.

The group walked to 00100PIZZA next.  Here, we got a tasting of suppi alla Genovese.  It’s a nice fried ball filled with rice and vegetables.

Our last stop was Giolitti.  Danny told us that some of the shops serve fake gelato which is made out of powder.  Everybody got to choose two flavors of gelato. Lil Dave chose banana for both his flavors.  Ivan got chocolate and banana while I decided on mixed berry and chocolate.  The gelato was tasty especially the strawberry and mixed berry.

We really enjoyed the Eating Italy tour.  The food was great and our guide was very knowledgeable.

We got the bus into the center of Rome.  Then, we walked to the Pantheon. 

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It was lovely inside filled with religious statues and paintings.

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Next, we walked to Borghese Park.  Segways, bicycles, go-karts and motor assisted bikes are available to rent.  Ivan decided to rent a motor assisted bike for an hour.  Ivan drove us around the park. 

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It was such a lovely day out.  The park is big and great to explore on a bike.  We even biked around in the grass.

We had time to waste before the restaurant we wanted to eat opened.  Ivan found a nice bar.  Lil Dave had a banana juice.  Ivan and I sipped on limonchello.

It was almost opening time for the restaurant – so we started walking.

We got a table at Il Gabriello.  Ivan and I shared a good bottle of red wine.  Lil Dave got a banana salad and banana fettuccine.  Ivan and I shared mussels, risotto with prawn and zucchini and gnocchi with mushrooms.  The food was delectable.  Pasta in Italy is superb.

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Walking Pasta

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked to Bar Pompi on October 13, 2011.  Ivan and I each got an espresso.  We got two banana and dark chocolate tiramisus.  Lil Dave gobbled his up.

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Ivan and I enjoyed the tiramisu which didn’t have any coffee flavor.

We got the train to the center of Rome.  We did lots of walking and checked out the sites.

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We had lunch at Life Ristorante.  Lil Dave got banana ravioli.  Ivan and I shared square spaghetti with pecorino cheese and pepper and a salad with spinach, cheese, pears, walnuts and honey.  The spaghetti was good, but the salad needed more honey.

Ivan said he wanted to take us to somewhere cool.  We went to Capuchin Crypt.  This crypt contains hundreds of bones and skulls arranged in cool ways.  There were lamps and skeletons dressed in robes.  It was creepy, but cool at the same time.  Pictures aren’t allowed, but Ivan took a few.

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We took the train back.  We chilled at the apartment. 

For dinner, we went to Osteria del Pegno.  Ivan and I shared mussels, tagliatelle with seabass and ravioli with cheese, spinach and zucchini flower.  Lil Dave got rigatoni with bananas.  The food was delicious.  The Italians can take a few basic ingredients and create a wonderful pasta dish.  We were served a free tasty limonchello after dinner.

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Later on, we walked to the Pantheon.  There’s a cool fountain outside.  Ivan thought we should check out the inside of the Pantheon tomorrow.

We walked to the Trevi Fountain to take a bunch of photos.

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Then, we got the train back to the apartment.

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Roma

On October 12, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8:30 am.  Ivan and I packed up the rest of our stuff.  We were headed to Rome today. 

Ken drove us  to the bus station at 9:15 am.  The bus left at 10 am. 

The bus arrived at airport at 11:30 am.  We checked in.  Ivan and I bought things at Boots.

It was time for lunch.  We grabbed sandwiches at Pret a Manger. 

Our plane left at 2 pm for Rome.  At 5 pm, we arrived in Rome (or Roma as the Italians call it).

Ivan found a bus that was leaving soon.  The bus took us to the center of Rome.  We walked about 15 minutes. 

Our accommodation was booked through AirBnb.  AirBnb is a site where you can find rooms for rent in cities around the world.  It’s a cross between Couchsurfing and a hotel.  The profile was for a girl named Angela.  Her parents don’t speak any English.  We met her parents.  The mom managed to show us our room, the kitchen and the bathroom.  The dad asked if we wanted a coffee.  Ivan said yes. 

Ivan and I used the internet.

The coffee was ready.  Ivan used Google Translate to talk to the dad.  His name was Salvatorio.  He works in a shop while his wife is a chef in a church.  Angela is currently traveling in the USA. 

Ivan and I took showers before going out.

Ivan met Angela’s brother Claudio.  He asked him for a recommendation for dinner that was close by.

We went to La Taverna Del Re for dinner.  Ivan and I shared white bruschetta for an appetizer.  Lil Dave got a banana pizza. 

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Ivan and I shared a tuna and onion pizza and cheese and spinach ravioli.  It was a good meal.

It was time for dessert.  We walked to Palazzo del Freddo Giovanni Fassi.  It’s the oldest gelato factory. 

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The gelato was alright.

We walked back to the apartment and used the internet before heading to bed.

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Angels and Demons

On May 13, 2011, we had to wake up extra early at 7 am.  We had breakfast in the room.  We left at 8 am. 

Ivan, Lil Dave and I got the shuttle bus which takes you 2 minutes into Civitecchia.  A Carnival Guest Services employee told Ivan that the train leaves every 10 minutes.  But, it actually left every 40 minutes.  So, we had to wait for the train at 8:40 am.  We thought it would take an hour and 15 minutes to get there which would make us late for our tour.  Ivan talked to somebody with the tour company to see if we could meet them somewhere else.  It turned out that the train arrived only 45 minutes later. 

Ivan and I rushed off the train and walked to Santa Maria del Popolo.  Ivan handed the phone to a lady and the person told her we booked the tour, but were late.  She then gave us a map of Modern Rome – The Path of Illumination map. 

We were only a few minutes late for the Angels and Demons tour.  Our guide was an American guy named Robert.  Ivan thought he looked like a descendant of Jesus since he had a beard and long brown hair.

The Habicook and the Angel statue is covered with a red curtain by the Vatican.  It’s one of the statues that was copied for the movie (a duplicate is used in the movie).  The Vatican covers the statues sometimes because of the book.  This is the only statue right now that is covered.  The statue points Robert Langham towards the second place on the Path of Illumination.  The Habicook and the Angel statue in actuality pointing to a statue of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  We also see a Demon’s hole.  It’s named this because of the bad smell that emanates from the the hole.  They put dead bodies in there.  A whole family will have a demon hole or two in a cathedral (small part in a church).  If the family isn’t rich, they’ll just have a demon hole.

The group boarded a bus.  Robert talks to us about the history of the Vatican.  Christianity was illegal at the time.  Simon Peter (St. Peter’s square is named after him) practiced Christianity.  Nero made an example of him and executed him on Vatican Hill. 

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The next stop was St. Peter’s Square where St. Peter’s Basilica is.  We had 10 minutes to find the puddy angel in the movie in the obelisk and to take pictures in the square. 

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Everybody got on the bus again.  Our guide told us about how Catholicism started.  Constantine converted to Christianity.  It was legalized in 313.  The New Testament was written in 327 and Catholic was coined which means Universal.  Christmas was created which was already a festival and not actually Jesus birthday. 

We stopped at the Baroque church Santa Maria della Vittoria. 

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It’s a brightly decorated church.  We saw the Ecstasy of St. Teresa statue that Bernini made – which is featured in the movie.

The gorup went to Piazza Novona next.  It’s a big square with two fountains.  The big fountain with the four statues (each is representing Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia) is the one where where a cardinal was almost killed in the movie. 

Next, we walked to Castel Sant Angelo.  It’s an old castle that has a tomb on the bottom and then a castle was built on top later on. 

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Outside there are 10 statues which depict things during Jesus crucifixion like the crown of thorns and the cross. 

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We walked in the castle and walked to the top.  It was the end of the tour.  We learned a lot and really enjoyed listening to our guide.  He’s just really engaging.  He could make any topic seem interesting.  The Angels and Demons tour is awesome with Robert as your guide.  You don’t have to even know about the book or movie to take this tour.  It takes you to some great places in Rome, some you probably wouldn’t have heard of.  I’d definitely recommend this tour.

It was now time for lunch – Ivan and I were glad since we were already hungry.

Our guide pointed out a restaurant earlier.  So, we walked back to Il Fico restaurant.  We had a friendly Italian waiter.  Ivan and I ordered gnocchi and tonnarelli, pepper, pecorino and ricotta.  Both pasta dishes were delicious.  I liked the tonnarelli better, but the gnocchi was wonderful as well.  The waiter brought out the tuna pizza, but we were still working on the pasta.  We weren’t sure if we should cancel the pizza.  But, we thought we should eat it.  We did do lots of walking during the tour.  We got a waitress to heat up the pizza since it was not very hot.  It tasted good, but not the best.  Lil Dave had a nice banana pizza.  We had a lovely meal.  We’ve only had one excellent pizza on our two trips to Italy. 

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked around and took more pictures in St. Peter’s Square. 

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We walked to the train station.  We got the train back to Civitavecchia.  Then, we got the short shuttle bus to the cruise ship. 

We were back on the ship at 6 pm.  We had a beautiful sunset. 

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It’s awesome having a balcony to see the great scenery and sunsets.

I took a nap since I was so very tired.  Ivan went to the Ultimate Mind Game and then played arcade games.

Since the boat wasn’t sailing until 10 pm tonight, there was Anytime seating at the restaurants.  We went to dinner at 8:45 pm and sat by ourselves.  Ivan and I each got a great teriyaki salmon.  I struggled to finish everything since we had such a big lunch. 

We went to the room to throw on our swimming costumes (bathing suits). 

We watched Blood Power play great rock music while we swam in the pool.  The Rock ‘n Roll Deck Party started.  It was pretty lame, so we went back to the room. 

Ivan and I showered and then headed out.  We went to see the Up-Close Magic at the Escape Bar.  First we saw an American guy named Aaron who is okay.  The second guy is a funny Indian guy named Rakesh who’s a great magician.  We saw an hour of great close-up magic.

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