Sunday, August 10, 2008

At Last., The Last Day In Rome

I am sure many of you thought I would never get around to this, but, at long last, the last half of my last day in Rome.

After the river walk I headed towards a pyramid that merited a picture on the little map I was carrying. This meant a little walk through a somewhat residential area. This little shop caught my eye.

Hmm, Ham

For some reason I like to look through delicatessens and supermarkets when I travel. It is interesting to see what is on the shelves. Things that are often quite different than what you would see at home.

Lots of Good Stuff

Luckily, where I live in Brooklyn there are still a number of delicatessens, butcher shops, cheese shops, fish shops and such that are somewhat like the ones you find in Europe. I was offered samples of some cheeses and hard salamis, quite tasty. I bought a chunk of cheese and a sausage for a snack later in the afternoon.

You might want to check out their website. I am not sure if they actually deliver to the United States, and I am sure it would cost a fortune if they did.

The first address, didn't really seem to take me anyplace. The second one, is more interesting. It pops up in Italian, but there are two little flags up near the left-hand corner. If you click the British flag you get the site in English.

Reading the reviews posted on the website I found out that I must have been in the "historic and moral heart of gastronomic Rome," at least according to the New York Times. It is known as the Testaccio quarter and well worth seeking out. I guess this is one reason to read a guide book or two before you go someplace. I would have liked to have spent more time in this neighborhood but, alas, time would not permit it.

The pyramid I was looking for was the Pyramid Cestius. It was built somewhere around 18 BC to 12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius Epulo, apparently a famous person. Whatever, it was kind of neat to see it popping up in the middle of Rome

Pyramid Cestius

What looks like a castle behind the pyramid is actually one of the southern gates in what was the Aurelian Wall. This wall was built between 271 AD and 275 AD during the reigns of Emperors Aurelian and Probus. They enclosed all seven hills of Rome, the Trastevere district and the Campus Martius (Field of Mars).

The Gate In The Wall

Heading back to the train station to catch the shuttle back to the hotel I passed through some less than upscale neighborhoods. This intersection caught my attention because one of the streets was Benjamin Franklin.

Bennie Deserves Better

Of course Rome is in transition and this neighborhood is also undergoing a transformation. On the opposite corner a luxury residential dwelling was being built.


I picked up a bottle of wine and had it with the wine and sausage before the Mysterious Chinese Woman and her Equally Mysterious Sister returned from there sight-seeing.

After everyone freshened up a bit we caught the shuttle back to the train station and hopped the trolley.

The Only Way To Go

They have some kind of an honor system here regarding the collecting of fares. You buy a ticket for a ride and then you run the ticket through a reader on the trolley. I guess that if someone in authority asks you to see it you are supposed to be able to show it to them. Of course our first time I followed this procedure but then noticed that except for the three of us, nobody else seemed to do so. Either nobody in authority ever shows up, they were on strike that day (always a good guess) or the penalty is so small as to be worth the risk. Who knows?

Apparently Hello Kitty is fairly popular here in Rome.

Pretty Pink Hello Kitty

Somehow the Mysterious Chinese Woman managed to find a Hello Kitty store not too far away.

No, Don't Go In, Just Step Back, Nothing To See

I had mentioned before that there are ruins everywhere in Rome. It is kind of interesting when you just stumble upon one in the middle of a commercial area though. It is kind of like seeing them popping up in mid-town Manhattan.

Interesting Juxtoposition

This one had a major cat infestation, they were everywhere.

Catching A Few Rays

And finally we made it to the restaurant that we had seen the night before.

San Michele

This really was a perfect restaurant to end our stay. Our waiter, assigned to our table because he could speak English, was really friendy and helpful, explaining the menu and offering suggestions. He even took our picture without doing any camera tricks.

Having A Wonderful Time, Wish You Were Here

The food here was great and we were, as far as I could tell, the only tourists in the place. A nice outdoor garden area where we ate, perfect weather, a perfect ending to a very nice trip.

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