Roman Around – Day Four

We have done so much walking today!!
It was probably as much as the other days but it felt like so much more because we really went off track…

36352971_10156480851687480_5418792849602772992_n.jpgWe started the day early, walking into the historic centre.

Had to stop for a coffee first and this place was kind of interesting!!! Something to note if you come here, if you have your coffee at the “bar” rather than at a table, you will save yourself at least 2 Euro!

We wanted to take a few pictures at the Fountain of Trevi during the day, and then continue on into Travestere.

We found the fountain ok, but even at that early hour it was full of people and hard to get a decent shot.
We still haven’t thrown a coin over our shoulder into it!! Must remember to do that.

36347765_10156480856152480_8660236558026145792_n.jpgNext stop was the Pantheon!! Another site I wanted to take day photos at. We stumbled upon it by accident. Such an impressive building.


I know we’ve seen these sights before but soon we’ll be gone and who knows when I’ll get to see them again.

Found this cute little sign on a wall.

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We passed through Piazza Navona again which, in my opinion, is underrated. I looked up at the apartments and wondered who lives there!! and what are they paying to live there? Do the constant stream of tourists bother them? So many questions!


We hadn’t really had breakfast so hubby and I decided to look for more “special” pizza to have. We didn’t find it right away, but we did see this. Have you ever seen a bigger piece of Mortadella!!!!

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I should have got hubby to stand next to it for perspective.

Before we knew it we were crossing the bridge over into Travestere


That picture on the left is not Bocca Della Verita but I really wanted it to be… so we went past it and continued over the bridge.

Oh my god was it so nice over this side!!!! It was quiet, and peaceful and just what you’d expect Italy to be. We also noticed the prices were much cheaper.
We just wanted to keep ordering food!! We got coffee at one place, dessert at another. I didn’t even photograph the dessert I was so excited to eat it! It was full of this delicious custard! Oh god, it would be worth the walk over the bridge to get that again!

And it was just so pretty over there. Please, if you find yourself in Rome, you MUST go to Travestere!


I really should have taken more photos. I felt so at home in this section.

Without any plan or guidance, we started walking south and it soon turned, not so nice.
Well , in fairness, it got average, and then not so nice.

I had been looking for a handbag since we were in Greece and didn’t see anything I really liked. There was this one bag from a street vendor in Greece I kind of liked but was not in the mood to haggle.

I noticed it on the street in Travestere and while hubby was looking at the price, the guy came up and said it was a super special morning discount. The price quoted was 40 Euro but he said he’d sell it for 30 Euro. I said I wasn’t interested and for that price, I really wasn’t.. but he was so desperate and he said “What price would you pay for it” and I answered honestly “20 Euro”. I thought that was fair. It’s not leather after all, just a nice big bag I can wear on my back.

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He tried to ask for 25 Euro but when I said I wasn’t going to pay that and started to walk away, he said “Ok 20 Euro” and started to take the paper stuffing out to prepare it for sale right away, as if he was scared I was going to change my mind about the 20 Euro.

I felt so bad.

He just seemed so desperate for money and there is such poverty in the streets here.

I love my new bag though!

As we continued walking we found ourselves in an area that could be anywhere in the world. Not old, not new, just neutral. We didn’t really know where we were, we just continued walking.

We got some pizza at a pretty good price! And a couple of arancini balls.

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We needed a bathroom break so ducked into the free washrooms at McDonalds and I took a photo of the menu – Not sure if you can see it. Interesting to see a familiar menu in a different language.

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By now we were pretty tired and had no clue where we were. We crossed the bridge back over to “our” side but still had no clue. Nothing looked familiar and we were on wide roads with tons of cars streaming past. I looked on Google Maps and told hubby I thought we should be heading in a certain direction, but he was sure it was another direction and off we trotted…. and we walked, and walked and walked… and finally I said “Please for the love of God we have to ask someone or check Google Maps”
And turns out, we were walking in the wrong direction… Probably on our way to Naples.
Not that we could tell what Google Maps was saying as we had no reference point.

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When we asked the guy at the petrol stop where to go, he pointed in the direction we had just come from and said “second left after the gate”

I think he meant this gate?

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It still felt really foreign and we passed all sorts of ruins we hadn’t seen before or even heard about.

I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures. I think I was just too tired.

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I promised hubby we would stop for icecream (haha) so as soon as we hit civilisation, (as we had been walking down a freeway for quite some time up until this point) I got us some ice cream.

It was absolutely  delicious!

When we finally got back to the apartment I had a glass or two of Limoncello and I was out like a light.

No more Limoncello for me ever again please!!!

IMG_7520Although we love pasta and pizza, we were looking for something different tonight.

Am I wrong in thinking there’s only so much pasta and pizza you can eat?

We walked past a million places and finally settled on this one place that seemed ok. I think we were just tired of walking and looking.

Hubby thought he might like some risotto and this place had it on the menu so in we went.
Most people sat outside but I kind of liked the interior. It was cute.

I don’t think you can see it in the picture but at the top of the wall there is a painting of different parts of Rome. It’s really well done.

I went for something light – Some bruschetta and minestrone soup and hubby had a risotto and cannelloni.


I wasn’t a fan of the bruschetta because it had rocket throughout it and not basil.
The minestrone was ok. Hubby was happy with his.
I feel like I need a change of cuisine tomorrow thought.

The supermarkets close at 10pm here which meant we couldn’t get any sneaky snacks to bring home! Probably just as well.

Goodnight and god bless.

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Roman Around – Day Three

We wanted today to be a relaxing day. We just wanted to walk around, do a bit of shopping, take a few pictures and to see what happens.

First thing we did was go to the supermarket where I spoke to the guy behind the counter. I’m just so proud of myself whenever I do that! It’s only because I don’t expect to be able to speak but when I’m there, it comes natural. They don’t even ask me where I’m from or anything like that. It makes me feel like a local.

I had read a bit about Villa Borghese so we were sort of making our way towards that.
We were walking on Via delle Quattro Fontane and found ourselves at the intersection where the four fountains were!
I took pictures of the fountains – some were taken from across the road so not that great but still a cute little intersection.


We didn’t really have breakfast because hubby wanted to get some pizza like we had yesterday. Yesterday we saw these particular types of pizza places all over. Today, for some reason, we couldn’t find them.
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As we walked around looking for this special type of elusive pizza place, we stopped at different sights.

I could not believe we were taking so much time to look for pizza in Rome. I don’t blame Rome, I blame hubby who passed quite a few places that were “not right”. He could have had pizza if he wanted.

We were walking for about an hour when we got to the top of the Spanish Steps and decided to explore the church that is there.

There was a guard up there refusing entry to anyone who had exposed shoulders/arms or legs (Wearing shorts) About half of the people trying to enter were turned away.

I took a few pics inside.


It was very quiet in there. People were respectful of their surroundings. I had spent a bit of time by myself taking photos and looking at it all and realised hubby wasn’t with me. When I was done, I looked around for him and saw him sitting quietly in one of the pews. I motioned that I was ready and he got up and we went out.
When we were out I said “Were you there all that time? What were you doing?”
Without missing a beat he replies “I was praying for pizza”

Alas, that prayer took a little time to be answered.

Took a few pics of the Spanish Steps during the day this time.

We walked and walked without any direction. Passed lots of places selling foccacia…

We eventually found ourselves in Piazzo del Popolo. The Piazza del Popolo (the People’s Square) is located inside the northern gate of the city, which was once called Porta Flaminia. The square is situated at the beginning of Via Flaminia and was the main entrance to the city during the Roman Empire.


There is a Leonardo Da Vinci Museum there and we were going to go in but when we went to buy the tickets, it was SO stifling hot and humid in there we couldn’t stay!!! What a shame.

Shortly after, a miracle occurred. We saw a place that had pizza that hubby wanted to eat.
I hear the angels singing as I write this.

I spoke Italian to the guy behind the counter like a champ and ordered us some pizza slices. They charge by weight so you just tell them how much you want and then they cut and weigh it.
I took some pics through their display windows.


It was REALLY good. I think they fry the base or something. It was really crunchy and the one we had was filled with prosciutto. YUM!!

With our hunger satiated we were able to think clearly and we moved on to Villa Borghese.
It was an interesting little place! There’s statues of lots of famous people. The one to the right is Victor Hugo.

Lots of people were getting around on bikes and carts which you can hire relatively cheaply.
Here’s a few more pics from inside.

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There’s nice views of Rome from the top. It was really peaceful up there and if you find yourself in Rome and want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist spots, I recommend you come here.

We were tiring by now.

Looking for the perfect pizza place will do that to you.

We just walked and surprisingly, we found ourselves at the Vatican again.
Although we didn’t have a plan, that wasn’t the direction we would have chosen so we changed direction and before we knew it, we were at Piazza Navona.
At least I think that’s where this is.

 


Very pretty place!! Probably more so if you’re not sun struck and tired.

Hubby and I wanted to try some authentic Italian Limoncello so we went into some place that advertised a 500 ml bottle for 5.20 Euro or something like that. When I paid for it, it was 7.20… damn those people who scam tourists!!! In any case, it was still a good price and as I write this, I’m quite a few shots in so I really don’t mind!!!

We’re full up on Limoncello, cheese, proscuitto, salami and bread. Not sure we’re going anywhere for the next few hours!

When we eventually woke from our gastronomic stupor, we wandered back out for some good authentic food. Everyone here beckons you to come in. It’s hard to say no. We went into one place and didn’t really like the menu so after being sat down, we got up and said we were looking for something else.

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We walked past this one place close to our apartment and liked the look of what we saw on other people’s plates so stopped in.

It’s getting quite addictive for me to speak Italian to the servers or really, anyone else!
I’m just so darn proud of myself. (Yes I’ve said that more than once)

I was pretty happy with my pasta! I just wanted a simple meal with a beautiful, flavourful tomato sauce and I got that.
Hubby’s pizza was also good. I can’t remember the pizza’s all having a thin crust when I was here last but they are all like that. Super thin!

Water in restaurants is relatively expensive. We paid 3 Euro for some table water.
Public washrooms are something else that mostly aren’t free. We’ve seen them for one Euro. Hubby and I will usually duck in somewhere and get a drink or coffee and use the bathroom rather than pay extra for a public one.
I won’t tell you how long we spent trying to locate a McDonalds one day, so that we could use their restroom!! If you have young children and you’re coming here it’s probably something to consider.

Only a few days left of vacation now. We have to make the most of our time here.

Buona notte amici

Greece is the Word – Day Thirteen

Today was out last full day in Greece. Though I’m sad about that, we have seen and done a lot of things in a short time here. I loved seeing all the historic sites and I loved shopping for trinkets. Today was mostly about that.

Something I’ve noticed here is that often we’ll hear loud shouting. We look around anxiously thinking people may be fighting or something may be going down but it’s usually just a couple of people being very passionate  in their conversation.

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We headed back into the centre of Athens. The traffic was just horrendous! I’d hate to drive here. In fact, I’m almost certain I wouldn’t

We were so looking forward to shopping but before we did that, we stopped to see the Greek Parliament which is housed in an imposing building situated at the east side of Syntagma Square.
At one point the guards started doing something. It may have been part of the “changing of the guards” ritual but I’m not sure. I didn’t ask but I did take some video and if you’re interested, you can see it here. I didn’t video the whole thing.

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I also took a few pics of that area… including of the people who actually allow these rats of the air to land and eat seed off of them!!!!!

Gross!!!

 

We stopped for a quick bite to eat. I can’t believe how cheap some of this food is here.

We got a couple of “wraps”.
That’s how they were described on the menu. I had chicken meat in mine.
They also come with fries in them. I realised too late that I didn’t take a photo of the one I was eating but it was pita bread, wrapped cone like, with the meat, chips IMG_7248(fries), tzatziki and some salad stuff in it.

It was only 2.8 Euro!

So cheap and so filling!

I did take a picture of the display in the shop window though.

You like?

We headed into the flea markets in Plaka after that.

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I must admit, I was a little nervous.

There are all sorts of people there trying to get money off of you one way or another.
Either they are just begging for it or trying to deceive you by offering “free” gifts.

There’s also sad cases.

We saw a couple of people afflicted by some condition and it just broke my heart to see them out on the street begging. It just doesn’t seem right.

All these people throwing away money at touristy junk while other people are fighting  for another 24 hours to live.


We had some lunch. We were told the pizza at this place we went to was amazingly different to anywhere else. It was traditional Greek pizza. I would have to agree it was different. I don’t know that I’d go out of my way for it but I did like it.
Hubby and I don’t eat seafood but I took a pic of the seafood platter that came out for those who are into that sort of thing (see above)
I ordered grilled vegetables and just absolutely loved them!!! Eggplant is fast becoming one of my favourite vegetables.

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Oh and I’ll just leave this here. Make of it what you will but these “items” are sold all over the place in tourist shops.

There must be some meaning, I’d imagine to do with fertility, but I haven’t looked into it.

Who are buying these things????

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We had had a leisurely lunch so it was quite late when we headed back.

Hubby and googled and found there was an outlet mall very close to where we’re staying.

We asked to be dropped off there but once our ride had left, we discovered it was NOT an outlet mall at all. It may have been once upon a time, but it was now very much deserted!!!

Lots of closed up shops. The only thing that was open was a Marks and Spencer Store.

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We walked home but not before heading into a supermarket for a few supplies to last us these next 12 hours.

You will not believe what I found…. If only I had seen this 12 days ago!!!!!!!!

Diet Lemonade I have missed you so much!

We headed into Glyfada for our last night. I’m going to miss this. Late Summer nights. The coast, the company, the atmosphere. Greece you have been good to us.

Tomorrow we are having a change of pace and it will be interesting to see how different it will be…. I’m not sure how reliable our internet is going to be but I hope to have the next post up within twenty four hours.

Where will we be this time tomorrow? Stay tuned!

Greece is the Word – Day Two

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Arriving in Athens, we met up with our relatives who arrived from their respective countries within an hour of our flight.

We are so excited!

Despite all being deliriously tired we can’t wait to be out on the streets of Athens.

We got into our cars and while we were being driven I took in the sights. Gorgeous huge mountains on one side and years of history on the other.
It’s so amazing to be caught up in this world where people have walked for centuries and centuries on one side and a bit of graffiti ruins the landscape on the other.

Rules don’t seem to apply here but even so, there are “unspoken” rules and that makes it all work regardless. These unspoken rules apply particularly when driving. Needless to say, I won’t be driving over here.

Before reaching our apartment we went grocery shopping. You may remember how much of an experience this was for us in Japan. Here today, I didn’t find it so much different than what I’m used to at home except for the fact that the prices are in Euro’s so at first glance, it seems the items are pretty cheap until you do the monetary conversion.

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I did find these though (left)

Hubby can’t understand why anyone would eat something so dry but I just LOVE them!

And when you dunk them in coffee it’s the best!

Our apartment is Glyfada and about two kilometeres from the beach. I’ve spelt it Glyfada but as with many of the names here, it can be spelt several different ways.

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We were going to refresh and rest before heading out but we got a second wind and decided to head out right then.

What a gorgeous area! And so many different types of people down here. A lot of graffiti too. Surprising how much there is considering this is considered a “rich” area.

I’ve been dying to have a moussaka for a while now. Everytime I try to order it in my home town, something goes wrong. I figured my chances of having it in Greece would have to be pretty high right?
So we went into a restaurant and saw moussaka was on the menu! Great!
The others ordered their food and when it came to me and I said “I’ll have the moussaka please” with full excitement ad anticipation of a great meal.
Instead I received this response.
“Oh I’m sorry, that’s on the menu but we’re often out of it”

Inside I cried but I did have a pastisio (pictured below, right) that was just sooo nice and creamy!!


We also had a Greek salad which was presented with a block of feta cheese on top. (pictured above, left)

Definitely needed a walk along the coastline after that and saw the setting sun lighting up the sky in pinks and oranges.

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Deno touching the Mediterranean Sea!

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Now I really feel like I’m in Greece!