Chill Time

Man oh man have these past 2 weeks been busy! With a guest in the house we really tried to make an effort to show off our beautiful city of Naples, so it has been a pretty constant go-go-go around here. 

Yesterday we concluded Blaine’s whirlwind tour with a trip to Sorrento so he could finish up his shopping and it was a beautiful day for  it. 

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My mom brought a friend so we all just strolled around town and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I bought myself a cute little red purse that I am very excited about so it was a successful day for me as well! The train ride from Naples to Sorrento takes a little over 2 hours and when we made it home at 5 o’clock Blaine and I were wiped.  Shopping takes it out of ya! We spent the rest of the evening getting Blaine ready for his flight this morning. 

His flight home left out of Rome which meant waking up at 5 a.m this morning. That was painful. When I get back to school I plan to be an early morning exerciser and I know it’s going to take me a while to get into that groove! Our drive to Rome was uneventful and it was sad to see Blaine go, but hopefully we’ll be seeing each other soon 🙂 

Unfortunately, I think all this movin’ and groovin’ is starting to get me sick! I woke up with a bit of a sore throat and the sniffles, so I’m planning on treating myself to a long weekend of relaxation 🙂 Hooray for self pampering! 

A question for you: What’s your favorite way to pamper yourself? I usually like to go to the beach and read magazines, but because of my current location I think I’ll be sitting in the garden reading magazines this weekend. I have two issues of Vogue I haven’t read yet! 

 

Museum + Pompeii

Blaine and I finally achieved our goal of going to the Archeological Museum and Pompeii back to back.  I’ll skim over the museum since I already covered our family visit there and I’ll get to Pompeii in a second, but first I have big news!! I applied to become a Sweat Pink ambassador a little while ago and I received my welcome e-mail this morning! I am completely stoked about it 😀 Cheers to new experiences!

Click on my badge on the side of the page if you’re interested in learning more!

Okay back to recapping 🙂

Art history/archeology  guy that he is, my brother Quin joined us on our visit to the museum on Monday.  We were a little nervous when we arrived because there were notices all over the place about exhibits and wings being closed, which made it sound like Blaine wouldn’t be able to see the Pompeii artifacts he learned about this past semester in his Roman history class.  Luckily, 90% of what we wanted to see was still available.  Phew!

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I loved going through the museum again with both Blaine and Quin because they knew so much about a lot of the exhibits.  It’s good to know people!

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My little sea goat!

My little sea goat!

There was an Italian couple who went through the whole museum carrying their two Chihuahuas around. The dogs were completely complacent the whole time and I thought there couldn’t be many other places in the world where you can bring your pet around 2000 year old objects.

That’s what I thought until we went to Pompeii and we saw a man walking through the ruins with his adorable pet chocolate lab.  I guess since stray dogs walk around Pompeii all the time there isn’t much of a point in keeping pets out, but it was still pretty funny to see.  It took me and Blaine three hours to get to Pompeii by train.

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When we first arrived at the site, we thought we’d just wander around with our audio guide, stopping at things that looked particularly interesting.  We quickly discovered that wouldn’t work and sat down in some shade to pick out our must-sees from the huge map we grabbed. Despite only choosing about 5 sites to see, it still took us three and a half hours and we were no where near covering the whole place. Pompeii is huge!

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My favorite part was the amphitheater; it’s the oldest surviving Roman amphitheater and is one of the best preserved ever. Blaine and I enjoyed pretending like we were gladiators, standing in the center and pretending the crowd was roaring for us.

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Blaine’s favorite spot was the House of the Faun since he learned so much about it this past semester and saw a lot of the original artifacts in the museum the day before.

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The House of the Faun was our last stop and we managed to time it perfectly because right as we were leaving storm clouds rolled in and thunder started a-rumblin’. Luckily we made it back on the metro before rain fell, but the 2 hour journey home put us on the couch for the rest of the day. No complaints here! 

Eat ‘Til You Roll

Rome really put me behind my posting! I’m tryin’ to catch up but Blaine and I have a few more jam-packed days before his vacation is over.  Let’s get through Sunday!

Our family booked an afternoon of wine tasting at an agriturismo (sort of like a dude ranch, an agriturismo is a working Italian farm that has space available for tourists to stay and enjoy the spoils of the farm) called Torre Gaia. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, we knew we were in for a treat.  Look at this view!

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Amazing. We were greeted by our host (I never actually caught his name! 😦 ) and given a tour of the wine cellar, the wine making process, and Torre Gaia’s store. It was really neat to see the wine barrels and the heavy machinery involved in making Italy’s favorite drink.

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IMG_0986After our brief tour, we sat down to our 5 course meal! Each course was served with a different wine, although I only remember the house white, rosé, red, and a sweet dessert wine. A champagne of sorts was served with our tour and it ended up being my favorite of the afternoon.

Our meal started with a mini pizza lookin’ thing that wasn’t delicious, but I really liked the dough part.  It tasted sort of like a really really thick pancake. I shouldn’t have finished it since we still had 4 courses coming but self-control is hard!

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Next up was grilled eggplant stacked on green zucchini and covered with melty cheese.  Mmm mmm good! You guys know how I can’t resist eggplant 😉 There was a big roasted red pepper on top that completed the grilled veggie show.

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My favorite round was up next! Pastaaa 🙂 It had a very basic tomato-basil sauce but topped with that grated cheese somehow it became a super gourmet meal. I really liked the noodles too, the hollows allowed for maximum sauce capacity, my fave.

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After the pasta I was a little dismayed that we still had 2 courses left, I was stuffed! But pork and green beans were served next and it smelled so good I still ate half a plate! The pork was cooked perfectly and the green beans had a little somethin’ somethin’ special to them. Sooo gooood.

IMG_4853(I had to smear the balsamic vinaigrette spots together ’cause it reminded me of spider eyes. Ick!)

We moved our dessert course under an overhang because we were dining al fresco and a thunderstorm rolled in. It was oddly relaxing to sit outside eating treats and listening to the thunder. Dessert consisted of a small chocolate cake and a small vanilla cake that tasted a little coconut-y.  There was also that little guy off to the side that was topped with custard, but I’m not 100% on what it actually was.

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IMG_4855All I felt like doing after dessert was laying down and taking a nap I was stuffed to the gills. Luckily the drive home took less than an hour so we were all able to put on our loosest gym shorts and hang around the house 🙂

 

 

Rome Wrap-up

On to our last day of Roman adventures! We had a busy day planned for Saturday because we needed to get back on the road by 3. So once again we woke up at 8 and enjoyed breakfast off our carts before hopping on a metro to the Colosseum. The Colosseo metro stop is my favorite because you walk out of the station directly across from the ancient amphitheater.

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We were hoping to get tickets to Colosseum Underground, but the tours weren’t running that day so we just did the regular walk through the exhibitions and around the open areas of the Colosseum.

DSC_1405There were new displays and explanatory posters in the ‘hallways’ that were new since the last time I visited and I really enjoyed the additional information about the amphitheaters history. From there, we walked over to the Forum and saw the Sacred Way, Constantine’s Arch, and other awesome structures.

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IMG_3724I love imagining the Forum in all its ancient glory but it was hot and crowded that day! We made a quick stop into the open rooms of the House of Augustus and were beyond ready for some lunch and A/C after that! We walked until we found a restaurant that met all our needs and gratefully collapsed into our chairs.  Unfortunately I completely forgot to take a picture of my ravioli! It was delicious though; three huge ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta cheese.  I ate it in no time.

Cumulatively we drank 3 big bottles of water, and then headed back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and car for the ride home. We ended up leaving a little later than we intended, plus we stopped to pick up some necessities on our way back, so by the time we finally made it home we were all dead tired.  It was an early night for all of us on Saturday!

 

 

Rome Recap Day 2.1

Picking right up where we left off! The walk from Piazza Navona to the Pantheon was a short one, and it was so great to see Blaine’s face as we rounded the corner and—BAM—there it was.

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Because there were pews set up in the back of the church for a service we didn’t get to walk around the whole thing, but we did get to see Raphael’s tomb! We spent about 15 minutes being amazed and then hopped across the street to get some refreshing gelato. I tried the cappuccino and profiteroles flavors together. The cappo was obviously delicious, but I didn’t love the profiteroles. I didn’t know what it was when I ordered it, it just sounded new and different but I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again.

From gelato (and a few stops for shopping) we walked back to the hotel to put our feet up for a bit before dinner.  Crossing the Tiber there was a beautiful view of St. Peter’s dome and the curving river.  I love Rome.

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I was pumped for our dinner that night because we were going to Alfredo! History says that in 1908, Alfredo di Lelio’s wife had just given birth and her health was suffering. Doting husband that he was, Alfredo did everything he could to make her better, including mixing noodles with butter and parmesan by hand for her dinners. She loved it so much she soon became healthy again and requested the dish to be served in their small restaurant.  This ‘Pasta Alfredo’ was popularized by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks when they came to Rome on their honeymoon and ate the golden wonder that is Alfredo’s pasta.

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I was a tad let down with our dinner this time because the sauce was a little too liquid-y.  Usually it is the consistency of melted cheese, but I think there was too much butter or the pasta wasn’t drained thoroughly.  Bummer! I still ate until I felt like I would pop, though, and Dad finished off my plate 🙂

We decided to walk back to the hotel so we could take a spin around a museum where you could see a huge sarcophagus in the floor-to-ceiling windows. It was actually pretty fun, plus Rome itself just feels more special at night.  We got a little lost on our way back and ended up walking about 15 minutes longer than we needed to, but our fettuccini  held us over and we managed to stay upright long enough to make it to our beds 🙂

A question for you: Do you have a favorite restaurant where you order the same thing every time? I can only think of two: Alfredo and Cracker Barrel 😛