Thursday, April 30, 2009

Italians Embrace Doughnuts (and bagels too)!

While on a brief pit stop along the Italian highway this week, I was surprised to see more American food influence than ever before. On the countertop where all the lovely espressos, cappuccinos, caffe macchiatos, etc were being served, there was a giant box of doughnuts. Mind you these were plain sugar coated doughnuts, but still dougnuts. As I look just beyond the counter, there is a giant billboard ad for bagel sandwiches! OK I'll admit this is partly a dream come true for me,but a bit scary too. What could be next? Super size cokes? Chili burgers? Should we be concerned?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dodge the Human: Hit by a Roman Taxi!

Walking around Rome can be a dangerous activity, the pedestrian crossing rules don't seem to apply to Italian drivers, if you are on them you are lucky if the cars stop to let you cross and don't expect the motorini to, they just play dodge the human! A recent run in with a cab just goes to show you that even standing still on the streets of Rome should be done at your own risk...

There I was standing by a taxi rank the other day taking in the the awesome view that is St Peters Basilica, only to have a cab come speeding out of the rank, swerving to avoid the group of students that had just walked into the piazza and in the process he managed to clip the back of my foot with his tyre. Crippled with pain I did not get a chance to run after the cab and all the other drivers at the rank, claimed to have no idea who he was so the evil taxi driver just got away with it and I was left with a nice swollen ankle and colourful bruises to prove that standing around on roman streets, especially near cab drivers is a dangerous pursuit. My advice is stick to the sidewalk - at least there you are hopefully safe from the crazy roman drivers!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Take a Number!

Well readers, spring is in the air! Along with spring come tentative plans for summer travel. Given the fact that my little family just welcomed a new member, I thought I'd better get cracking on the passport situation in order to be ready to fly when the time comes.

Some online research told me I'd need a birth certificate. No problem, I thought, let me head to the town hall and grab that. I woke up bright and early, bundled up the baby and headed over to the neighborhood circoscrizione.

First things first, TAKE A NUMBER said the grouchy signora at the "welcome" desk. I wish I had brought rubber gloves, the number machine looked like something out of a horror film. I hit the button, hoped that I took the right one (directions in Italy tend to be ambiguous), and then put some sanitizer on my little fingers. When they finally called my number, I gave them my request form and was told that the birth certificate would take 40 days to procure. WHAT?! 40 days seemed like a long time, but hey we are in Italy, pazienza!

After our 40 day wait, I headed back to pick up the blessed birth certificate. Guess what, CHIUSO! Closed, come back tomorrow. Ok, what's one more day. Indeed, the next day the heavens parted and yet another brush with the devil known as Italian bureaucracy had been successfully dealt with!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

8 reasons to Love living in Rome

After all that has been in the news of late I thought it was time I penned a few thoughts of cheer... 8 reasons why I love being here.

1. The Gelato ! Who out there can deny it . Here in Rome is where my taste buds are spoiled for choice ... there are so many flavours, and from my 'research' each place has its own signature one that keeps patrons coming back for more, here at Roberto's place you can sample a rich pure chocolate with just a twist of chili. These flavors entwine together to make the perfect bite. All of his ice cream is made in this little place pictured here. I used to come here almost every day when I lived in this part of Rome.

2. The Gelato! OH did i say that already ... "squisito" that's how to say delicious in the Italian language. Say it aloud and you feel it . It is a beautiful word.

3. Summer balmy nights, when a stroll around almost every corner brings us to the ice cream which is still being scooped out at midnight.

4. I love the fact that I can be a tourist every day and then go home to all my comforts: pure bliss.

5. Villa Borghese ... a charming , grand park located in the centre of Rome , a stone's throw from Piazza del Popolo where anyone and everyone can find a place to sit alone on a bench reading or daydreaming. It's a perfect place to stroll leisurely or take a brisk speed walk along the many pathways and little roads.

6. One of my favorites is hiring a bicycle built for four and taking a 'drive' on a Sunday afternoon around Villa Borghese with my family, stopping only for .... an ice cream.

7. If I need to stay indoors for a few days , that my "holiday" isn't lost or wasted ... the Colossem still waits for me.

8. I couldn't let this go by without saying that the best way to start the day off is with a coffee and cornetto . What better place to live, to love to live ... than here in Rome.
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