…updating more often. I am just always so busy and there are a million better things to do than be on the internet. But I need to keep up with this for posterity’s sake at least.
When we last left our explorer she was still reeling from the Pantheon…
Tuesday was Rome’s birthday. As if we needed another reason to celebrate… We made dinner and headed to the Palazzo del Popolo where there was an amazing fireworks show! Also some weird stuff too with this crazy light show. Wednesday was Earth Day and there is always a free concert in the Circus Maximus put on by Nat Geo. We had seen the huge stage being set up a few days before but when we googled it to see who was playing it said Ben Harper (yes!) in the Palazzo del Popolo (confusing..) In the end we decided that the website had to be wrong because there had been no stage in the Palazzo. So we went to the concert (in the rain) and we waited for Ben Harper….and we waited and waited and waited. No Ben Harper…just some old and apparently very popular Italian guy, a really great British girl, and then a DJ. I was disappointed but really it was worth it for the people watching alone.
Friday we had to be on a bus to Pompeii by 7 a.m. I slept most of the way there and it rained off and on all day. Pompeii is really incredible and just HUGE. The whole thing made me a little uncomfortable considering we were stomping around where this tragedy happened. But that aside, it was another indescribable experience being where ancient Pompeians had been and walking through their houses and seeing their wheel ruts worn into the streets. We spent about five hours there and then headed to Paestum where we spent the night in an agritourismo. An agritourismo is a farm that has been turned into a hotel. Ours had a ton of dogs running around to play with and a pool, which sadly had no water, and best of all…I had the best meal of my entire life here. It’s artichoke season in Italy and our hotel was located next to a farm where bufala mozzarella is made. Mozzarella is easily one of my favorite things in the world and if I were ever on death row I would order a caprese salad. For the first course they brought out plates of grilled artichoke and huge pieces of cheese and salami and bread and I got a little bit crazy over all this food. Also there was homemade wine. Second course was artichoke lasagna with white sauce and bacon and I was already stuffed but still scraping my plate. Third course was flank steak and eggplant lasagna with red sauce. Lastly they served a puff pastry filled with bourbon soaked apples and some sort of cream/custard type stuff. I have never been so full and so happy. All of the pasta was homemade and the cheese was probably brought over that morning and the artichoke field was right next door. We found a TV room in the basement of our little house and watched March of the Penguins in Italian. Hilarious. Went to bed, woke up, had breakfast, back on the bus. We went into the city of Paestum where there are lots of ruins and these three Greek temples. I actually liked the ruins at Paestum more than Pompeii but that could be because I prefer Greek architecture. On the bus again and off to Oplontis which is the villa of Nero’s mistress/second wife. The wall paintings were phenomenal. I’m sure this is one of those places that in 20 years you won’t be able to photograph/touch/walk all around so I feel very lucky to have gone. Three hour bus ride back to Rome where we made breakfast for dinner and watched Hercules…my very favorite Disney movie ever.
Yesterday I ran a few errands and then spent the afternoon in the sun on the Palatine sort of studying for my Latin midterm but mostly soaking up the glory of it all. Last night we made steak and potatoes and corn on the cob which was a welcomed divergence from all the pasta and pizza (not that I am ever complaining about that.) Today we went on a very very long walk to and around the Avantine followed by pizza. Now I’m back at school about to study for Latin (I can’t believe my midterm is TOMORROW) and dreaming about Sicily later this week.
As of today I have been away from the US for 5 weeks. 15 more weeks to go. Tempus fugit.