Greetings from Lisbon, and a delayed greeting from Rome. I haven’t written from either (yet) as I have been ill. Coughing and whooping, I felt like something within was scratching to get out. I am much better now, and sitting in a gorgeous Lisbon apartment bathed in sunshine. I can now write.
Lots to catch up on, lets start with Rome. I spent 4 nights there, working on a HouseTrip city commission, gathering local recipes and checking out the best local places to eat. It was my fourth trip to Rome, but my first in seven years. It was interesting to see how much it had changed. Less Fiat 500s and more Smart cars for a start.
I stayed near the Vatican, on a hill, in a sleepy quiet part of Rome. Rome is so walkable it was a great location from which to explore. The four days were saturated with nostalgia. I couldn’t help but recall previous trips. The first when I was 19 and so very naive and enthusiastic. I had been in Nice for the summer and had saved some money so I hopped on the train to Italy.
I started in Florence which was nice but too quiet for me, but I loved Rome. I loved it all but I especially loved the potato pizza and the gelato and I went from being a seriously (too) skinny girl to normal size, which was 2 stone heavier. It broadened my culinary horizons and that was when I discovered the joy of culinary travel.
I visited the Vatican and I remember how thrilled my Irish grandmother was when I brought her back some rosary beads. Pope John Paul II was hugely popular in what was a very Catholic Ireland then (not so much now, things have changed in my generation). I walked past it every day on this trip and each day reflected on then and now and what has changed.
Then I recalled my last trip there 7 years ago, when I stayed near the Vatican again. I remember the pizza, the pasta, the croquettes, courgette flowers, the Fiat 500s (sadly less numerous now), men beating the trees with sticks in the evenings (to get birds out?), the crazy lady whose house we stayed in, who enthusiastically showed us the advertised PANORAMA from her apartment then ushered us back to our room which overlooked the bins. Rome doesn’t quite do B&B even though it thinks it does.
More on Rome soon… and Lisbon. For now, enjoy the photos.