Sunday, November 03, 2013

Osservazioni di Roma

Well its been two years since I wandered the streets of Rome and the past few days have been like many homecomings after a time away - much has stayed the same and much has changed.  Somethings for the better other things not so much.

Sidd, knowing how bad a flier I am, thought it would be a laugh to count down the "klicks" left during the trip.  Little bugger snickered every time we hit turbulence too!  He keeps that up and he will be traveling with the luggage not in Club Class!
  • For over two years I would keep a medical appointment in Trastevere every Tuesday at 1400.  And every Tuesday at 1350 I would drop into a cafe-bar in Piazza Piscinula and have an espresso - it got to the point where Paolo the bar man would see me coming and start making my coffee.  On Sunday afternoon we sat on the wooden terrace there and Paolo came over - greeted me as if I had never left and brought me my espresso.  We exchanged pleasantries - he joked about the new waitress as being the love of his life and as I left we shook hands with the assurance that we would meet again.
Being a Nature Worshiper it was a bit difficult to explain to Sidd why there are so many churches in Roma - right outside our window was St Pascale Baylon.  Fortunately the church bells didn't disturb Sidd's sleep too much, nor did the midnight Jazz concerts at the cafe below us.
  • The number 8 tram, which ran through Trastevere and ended at Largo Argentina has been extended down to Piazza Venezia.  A big improvement and makes getting into Centro so much easier from where we were.
    After the church stuff it was even more difficult to explain the whole Kosher food schtick to Sidd; however he took one look at the roasted tomatoes and grilled chicken at Taverna del Ghetto and decided it was a good thing!
    • Tropical Ice - our favourite Gelatoria - is still open and the wonderful fresh flavours are still being served up by the charmingly handsome owner.  And he remembered that I take my coppetta neat - no whipped cream.  The sad news is that he has sold the business and will be moving on to other things.   It seems to be a story that is repeating itself over and over again here.
    Okay now this was a bit more to Sidd's taste - just some of the wonderful flavours at Tropical Ice.  And they were just as delicious as I remember them being - and with the intense taste that only natural ingredients bring to Marco's gelati.
    • It looks like other businesses in our old neighbourhood have closed:  Stella Maris, so often our Friday night local, has been replaced by a pizza chain.  And where the Bifteka, a very good streak house, once stood is now a very large McDonald's.  A few other stores have disappeared as have several of the coffee shops - fortunately none have been replaced by Starbucks.
    Sidd gets his first taste of water from one of Roma's famous Nasone or water fountains.  As they have done since Roman times they deliver cold, pure water to refresh the local populace.  Who would bother with the bottled tap water they sell in stores under fancy names when you can get this for free?

      • There are more beggars on the streets and not just the regular crew of gypsies - though amongst the lame, the halt and the maimed most of the faces were familiar ones.  Older people here have seen their pensions cut and, in a repeat of something I recall from Poland in the late 1990s, some of them seem to have taken to begging.  Hunger has no pride.
      Sidd admires the Mostra della Acqua Felice which I wrote about extensively a few years ago.  He noticed that though it was only cleaned three years ago, the exhaust from the traffic is starting to blacken the stone already. 

        • Many of the restaurants in our old neighbourhood stood mostly empty on Monday at lunch time though I was happy to see that by Wednesday business had picked up at Checco e Lina, an old haunt of my friend Dario and I.  It was the fullest I had ever seen it at pranzo.  The food is still dependable solid cucina Romana and the service as welcoming as ever.
        November 3 - 1868:  John Willis Menard was the first African American elected to the United States Congress. Because of an electoral challenge, he was never seated.

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          4 comments:

          Ur-spo said...

          I hadn't realized Mr. Sidd is a such a little fellow.
          It sounds like you and he are having a splendid time. I sense you may move back there now?

          Debra She Who Seeks said...

          How wonderful for you to be back in Rome! And even more wonderful to be remembered as if no time had passed! Have fun! Hugs to Sidd.

          JACKIESUE said...

          I can't believe it's been 2 years...wow..glad it's still a happy occasion for you..

          Anonymous said...

          So good to hear about your days in Rome. I'm hoping there'll be a blog about your museum visits too. or your musical adventures.

          CP