I’ve been really lagging on the blogging lately. I realized that I really hate typing extensively on my iPad and it’s been a detergent to me making updates. I’ve been typing notes on my iPhone for some, what I hope will be, fun travel-related posts about topics such as the pros and cons of packing light and recommendations for maintaining a healthy lifestyle during long traveling stints. I’m excited to put them together once I’m back in Chicago next week (!!). I actually much prefer to type posts on my iPhone which is why I have pulled over to have a coffee in cute little cafe in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris to start rehashing my Italian adventures.
After my two weeks in Amsterdam, I headed to Rome to meet up with my friends, Nora and Susan. We met while studying abroad in Rome three years ago so it was only fitting that we started our European adventures there. Though only a short stay, it was the perfect amount of time for a trip down memory lane. I got there a day before Norz and Sooze arrived so I had ample time to explore on my own. Since I knew we’d want to go back to our favorite spots together once they got there, I thought I would go on some new adventures during my solo day. I had built a small list of restaurants and shops that I wanted to try to get to while I was there so I started with that.
My first stop was Que Te Pongo for lunch. Since I’m not a big pizza/pasta girl, I wanted to find a place that would allow me to experience the freshness of Italian ingredients while sidestepping the carbs. Que te Pongo was the perfect spot. I was able to build a salad with the ingredients of my choice from their case. Of course, I opted for salmon as my protein and then added tomatoes and olives per the owner’s recommendation. Simple, delicious, and light. Perfect fuel for a hot day of trekking around the ancient city.
My next stop was Grezzo. I had actually found out about this place through #instagram. Since I’m a dark chocolate-aholic, I’m always on the lookout for paleo-friendly (gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free) dark chocolate so this was a must-go for me. Of my three days in Rome, I went here twice. I will not disclose how much I spent nor how quickly it disappeared. What I will say is that if you love high quality chocolate and treats, this is a must-go when passing through Roma.
After having way too much fun at Grezzo, I grabbed my bags from the hostel where I had spent my first night and checked in at the hotel where the girls and I would spend our remaining two nights in Roma. I still had a fair amount of solo time until their flight got in from London so after chilling out for a bit (and partaking of all the delicious chocolatey goodies that I’d bought myself), I headed down to the gym for a quick workout. The hotel gym was not impressive at all but with a little imagination and a lot of Beyoncé, I made it work. After my workout, it was time for dinner in Trastevere. Trastevere is the neighborhood where I lived while studying in Rome and I was super excited to go back. It’s the really trendy, hipster if you will, neighborhood of Rome so of course I felt at home. While googling, I came across Fish Market, which I immediately knew would be a great place to spend my evening. It was a Saturday night and it’s a pretty happening spot so naturally it was packed but since I was only a party of one, I was able to walk in and get a seat at the bar. I went to the case to choose my salmon (you’re probably noticing a pattern at this point) of choice and also ordered steamed greens and a fish burger from the menu along with a glass (okay two) of red wine. Yum yum.
The bartenders at Fish Market were lovely. Since we were in such close quarters, naturally we because friends. One of them spoke English well since he had spent some time in New York and gave me recommendations for my upcoming trip to Sicilia. The other didn’t speak much English but we communicated well with our eyes…
After dinner I went back to the hotel to find Nora and Susan’s bags but not them. They had left a cute note saying that they went to grab food. They soon returned and we headed out for a night out on the town. The night fell a bit short of our expectations as many of the bars and clubs were closed for the summer season. Apparently all the Italians leave Rome for holiday in July. Who knew? Anyway. We need up at this club that we used to go to all the time when we were studying abroad and it was quite the experience. The crowd seemed to be full of American study abroad students (go figure) and we just felt super old. After getting bumped and shuffled by overly drunk 20-year olds one too many times, we made our graceful exit. Clearly our time in that scene had passed.
The next day we proceeded to roam (yes, the pun is heavily intended) the streets and frequent places of study abroads past. After a failed attempt to eat at Roscioli (why was everything closed??), a pizza/sandwich place near where we took classes, we ended up eating in good ol’ Campo de Fiori. After stuffing our faces, we went back to our hotel to relax, shower, and try to recuperate in time for our 9pm dinne reservation.
I guess our meal in Campo really tired us out, however, since we all passed out. I woke up at 9:11 to find Nora and Sooze fast asleep in their bath robes. After scrambling around to get ready, we grabbed a cab and went to Renato e Luisa. I have such fond memories of this place. It’s right next to the palazzo where my study abroad program was housed. My program organized a lovely wine tasting there and it was the first time that I experienced the unique bliss that is achieved through delicious food, great wine, and quality company. It was awesome and fitting for me to have that moment again with friends that I made during that special semester of my life.
After stuffing ourselves (again!!) we headed over to the Tiber which was lined with cute outdoor bars and shops for the summer. Nora and Sooze were taken by the candy spread.
The next day we headed off to Sicily…
As usual, this post is lengthier than intended so I’ll stop here and begin the next one with Palermo.
Toute à l’heure !