On the last day when my parents were here, my dad left his sarong behind on purpose. I think that it was a symbolism that he wanted to return back to Rome someday.
While my mum left her knickers with a zipper in front … THAT I think she completely forgotten about.
Anyway, the first time I saw it, I burst out into laughter and asked, “What on earth is this? Why is there a zip on it?”
“Oh, that’s where you put money in. My friend recommended this when going overseas. For safekeeping valuable things,“ she replied.
“And then what? So when you have to make payments, you reach down to your crotch to get them?” I asked incredulously.
“Of course not! You go to the toilet and take them out in advance of course!” My mum replied, matter of factly.
As you could see from the picture above, the zipper space is VERY roomy. I can even store my mob phone in there! Hmm!
It was the beginning of the working week, but Cart couldn’t join us, as he’s used up all his off days and had to return back to work. So it seems that I had to take my family out by my own the rest of the week!
I quickly prepared some food and snacks with me, and as soon as everyone was ready, we went downstairs and my mum and dad were puzzled, “Where’s the car?”
I was keeping it a surprise the entire week without telling them that I could drive. And I replied, “Cart went to work with his car … you’re taking mine today!”
But they didn’t look very surprised. What an anticlimactic surprise
Anyhow, it was such a pain trying to find parking in Rome. Moreover, I still needed a lot of practice in parking the car, so I decided to find parking near a metro station instead of driving all the way to the city center.
Even then it took us about 20 minutes or so, just to find a space for parking in EUR Magliana/EUR Palasport (which is full of office buildings by the way) It was almost fully occupied from all the commuters.
But at length, we found one! And I wasted no time zooming in the parking space! Thank goodness! And then we walked to the metro station.
It was my parent’s first time taking public transportation I think. At this time, prices for an ATAC ticket has increased to 1.50 euro compared to some months ago when it was 1 euro each. It’s quite a sting to be honest, to be paying 6 euro (and another 6 to go back) instead of 4 and yet public transportation here still have their sciopero …
We dropped down to Termini and pretty much we spent the next three days on the open bus. I love the Openbus! It’s a great and easy way to go around and see the city center and you can hop on and off anytime you want.
I’ve taken it before with our previous hosts like Daphne, and Chinmay but I’ve always enjoyed each ride. It’s relaxing having other people drive you around and not think of traffic, horrible drivers and parking.
This summer, there was a fantastic deal where you buy a ticket and the next person rides for free! 50% off! Me gusta!
One of the first stops that we hopped off to was the Fontana di Trevi. This fountain was probably made extremely famous due numerous movie classics like “La Dolce Vita“, “Roman Holiday” “Totòtruffa ’62”
There’s a saying that if you throw a coin in, you’ll be sure to return back to Rome (There’s also a saying that if you throw another coin in, you’ll meet your true love. The cynical side of me, completely disbelieve it)
Nevertheless, the monies are collected at the end of the day and donated to charities. And that’s a good thing
And here is Naz throwing a coin :
Next is my mum :
And finally my grumpy dad :
I do hope that they come back again, and soon!
Sidenote – I had the most interesting conversation with Nancy and Natalie about a website which charged a service for people to have their coin thrown in the fountain without having to physically be there!
After spending time at the fontana, we were all feeling a little peckish, so we walked towards Piazza Capranica for a quick lunch (I made tramezzini I think. I don’t quite remember. And some peaches after that. It was quite filling!)
As a sidenote, I remember watching a short film here with Kate Moss in it. Some Swarovski event, if I’m not wrong :
We then continued walking and I found myself near Bartolucci! This is an amazing shop where everything sold here is handmade and completely made in Italy.
Personally, I think that this is one of the shops that makes more sense to buy souvenirs here. But the only thing is that, the items are quite pricey here.
Like these super cute wooden kittens in uniform. I LOVE THEM! Miau! LOOKATIT! Polizia, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanzia, Guardia di Svizzera, Polizia di Traffico and Scout. SO FREAKING CUTE!
But they are 4 euro each and will be 24 euro if I wanted to complete all 6 of them *thinks twice*
Next, we headed to Piazza Della Rotonda where we had a quick coffee in bar called Tazza D’Oro. Cart always said that the coffee was excellent here, and there’s always a crowd regardless what time it was.
And then we were ready to enter the Pantheon.
This was one of the oldest church in Rome. It started off as a Pagan church before being taken over by the Catholics. Which is why the architecture looked non-traditional.
There were quite a number of changes inside (I didn’t take any pictures) but compared to the first time I was here, there were loads of pews. There were also significantly more tourists which is why there was a loud intercom reminding people to be quiet (as it was still a place for worship) every 10 minutes or so …
We then headed to Piazza Navona! This was a place where historically, the place was dammed up to have boat races. Due to practicality, it would be impossible to do that now.
And instead, this place is now a place to see artworks and artists at work.
I also mentioned how the area was a spot where the movie, “Angels and Demons” were and how impractical it was to commit suicide here by drowing.
Nazry on the other hand was excitedly making his rounds, and he fell in love with a painting of a girl in a red dress, dancing the tango.
We were on our way to go to Castel St Angelo, when we noticed the cutest looking bakery shop called Made Bakery. So we stopped for a while for a quick break and we had the loveliest, most delightful and delicious cakes.
Not only were they BEAUTIFUL, but they were so very very good. The cakes were on the pricey side and while there are some reviews online saying that it was a tourist trap, I think that it’s worth going to at least once. The cakes are to die for!
And here is one of the two, very charming co-owner of the bakery, Francesca! As a sidenote, she’s a vegetarian for many years and was able to let me know what ingredients she uses.
So I got a cake for Cart, so he doesn’t feel too left out :p
Next we went to Ponte Vittorio Emmanuele where my Mum spotted something interesting. This isn’t Ponte Milvio, and yet there were people putting locks here.
We then walked towards Castel Sant Angelo (it was closed though) and hanged around the bancarelle there.
My dad got for himself a Baloteli tshirt and Nazry got for me this :
Frog keychain! Love it! It looks quite like Nimo from my Nimo and Friends collection. I’ve been meaning to make a children’s book, but I’ve been procrastinating for too long … grrr. *kicks myself*
From here, we took the open bus and took a short walk to Piazza del Popolo.
Piazza del Popolo, or people’s square is known to be the place where people hold demonstrations.
By the time we reached there, there were a lot of people selling roses. So couples had to tread carefully here or they’ll be bothered. I’m amazed at how well my parents are taking this.
There was one who started talking to my mum and asked her where she came from (I guess on the account that she was wearing a headscarf and that wasn’t very common) and he said that he used to work in Singapore but it was very difficult to find a job here.
Finally we went to Santa Maria Del popolo, which was just nearby before we called it a day.
Not sure if he was influenced by Amelie, but my brother thought that it could be nice to bring my lion plushie around. Cart got it for me while we were in Singapore and while I didn’t care for it then, I quite like that it has the word Singapore in it’s tshirt!
As usual we took the car and parked it near a metro station and took the metro all the way to Piazza di Spagna!
There’s always a crush of people when we transit at Termini.
The Spanish Steps is an interesting place to be with. During the summer, there will be a fashion events where models do catwalks up and down the steps here.
There were so many people and it was such a warm day! I was regretting not putting on my sunscreen. I keep forgetting!
We then stopped by the McDonalds here. Yes yes! I know that this is not a touristy spot BUT!
This is the first one that opened in Italy (not just in Rome) and as my mum worked in one, she was most excited and started to compare the things she see here with the one in Singapore.
Like this fancy hand dryer.
And then my mum seemed fascinated by this rolling trash bin by the way.
We couldn’t eat there, as the food isn’t halal but since I had to go to the ladies, we pretended to be customers and then get the heck out of there! Hehe!
After that, we went for a walk in the area. But it’s quite a dangerous thing to do as a lot of the things here are quite pricey. The roads are famous here for being full of branded shops like Prada, Ferragamo and such.
Then we went Piazza Barberini and stopped by to fontana del tritone for a quick lunch (this time round, I think I made Piadina)
And after we were rested, we then Cimitero dei cappucini.
This is an interesting place to go to, as there is a crypt with 5 chambers completely made of bones here. I’ve blogged about this before, but just wanted to update that after the renovations, the price has increased to 6 euro an entry.
While there were more things to see, like the museum segment which is full of relics in the beginning, I’m not sure if it’s worth to go there again.
See. My dad’s making a face :p
From here, we walked to the Quirinale.
The quirinale is basically the parliament house where government rules are made. We of course couldn’t enter, but there were always important looking people driving in and out of the buildings.
As the nearest openbus stop was in the area, we made a quick stop back to Fontana di trevi. As usual, it was so crowded with people! Tourists and buskers alike.
As a sidenote, I’ve been living in Rome so much that I could even recognize the regular buskers.
Like this one in particular. He’s a bit odd though, as all he does is to reach out his hand to ask for money :| Hmm … I should be a busker too :p
Anyway from here, we caught the openbus and headed to circo massimo.
We walked past the rose garden (which was closed) and spent time at the Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Here, there is a lovely lovely orange garden.
Oranges are not in season at the moment, but imagine how this place will look like in late October when all the oranges turn orange and the smell of citrus in the air.
We stopped by and decided to rest for a while and eat the remaining bit of food that we had. The grass looked so inviting that me and Nazry couldn’t help but to lie down on it …
10 minutes later ….
Urgh! How rude! It’s our fault (as well as the rest of the people there I guess) though as we weren’t supposed to be sitting there in the first place! Hahaha!
Eventually we walked up to Piazza dei calieri di malta to see this charming door. Peek in the keyhole and you’d see something very interesting!
Nazry spotted out these monks and decided to run after them for a photo. They explained to Nazry that they were on a spiritual trip and were trying to survive without spending any money. I’m not sure if there’s a term for that. Is there the right term for that?
Anyway, it was starting to be nightfall and we headed towards the nearest metro and had coffee at a bar which was along the way. This is marocchino by the way.
And then we went in the metro to go home.
Oh! This is quite random, but I do love what this lady is wearing while we were in the metro! So green! cheerful!
Cart was already home and decided to make caponata for dinner! This is made mainly of aubergine and bell pepper and celery and is so yummy! I think this is another vegan food?!
It’s quite a hassle to do, but it’s worth it! I think I’ll blog about making this too in a future blog post
While I made polpette. I was halfway making the meatballs when I found out that we ran out of eggs. It’s an important ingredient, so I was forced to to rush to the supermarket. Luckily I had a scooter to zoom me there … It was almost closing even!
But in the end, we had a dinner fit for a maharaja. Yum yum!
So as usual, we took the car, then the metro and we went on a quick final round with the red openbus. As you could see, this is one of the reason why I preferred to park near the metro … so I avoid getting fined like this!
It was our last day for being able to travel with the openbus, so I thought that it would be opportune to see all the sights, one last round.
We then stopped for lunch at a piazza (this time we devoured and finished all the meatballs with biscuits) and bothered the pigeons there while waiting for the green archeobus to arrive.
Taking the archeobus was something that I’ve never done before. Unlike the red openbus that focuses on the city center, the green bus passes through the archaeology sites like the catacombs and the basilicas.
If I planned better, I would have chosen one of the places to stop to. I’m pretty sure all these are interesting things to be seen.
Nevertheless, I think we had a restful trip here as we did was practically sit and look at the sites from up the bus. My mum quipping that it felt that she was travelling through time, as there were absolutely no trace of the city center for the hour that we were in the bus.
After our trip on the archeobus, we stopped by La Bocca della Verita. There was a huge line of people queuing up to put their hands in the mouth.
It’s said that during ancient times if you were telling a lie, your hand will be chopped off. But according to history, there is a man behind the hole who will have to judge if the person is telling the truth or not.
Anyway, my main intention in coming here is to eat pastries at Cristalli di Zucchero. This is a pastry shop which has beautiful pastries!
This was what my dad had. A sort of mixed woodberries fruit tart.
This was what my brother had, this one had rose essence in it
This one was what I had. If I’m not wrong, this one has pistacchio in it.
While my mum had mini brownies (but brownies don’t look very pretty, so I didn’t take a picture of that) :p
We then had a quick walk on Circo Massimo and I asked everyone to visualise how the place will look like with horses racing around and with podiums with people sitting in, watching.
And then we took the metro back to reach the car … but instead of driving home, I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to end the day in Gianicolo.
Gianicolo is one of the highest spot in Rome and from here, you could see an overview of all of the important monuments there are in Rome.
While my family was busy looking at the view and taking pictures, to be honest, I was feeling a little sad already as it’s beginning to be precious little time that I had left with my family.
We left Gianicolo as it starts to be nightfall, and it was quite stressful trying to get home from here. Probably the wrong moment to be driving, as it was rush hour and there were so many cars on the road and you know how Roman drivers are … impatient! I was almost ready to lose my cool when one lady was close in hitting me and still had the cheek to curse at me!
I was just thankful that we all got back home safely.
Anyway, after cooking dinner all these while, my mum insisted that Cart and I don’t cook this time round. So we waited for Cart to get back from work and I suggested that we go out for dinner.
Cart changed and we took his car (at this time, I was completely NOT in the mood to drive and exhausted. It was such a nightmare!!!)
We went to Piazza San Cosimato where we went to Planet Kebab, one of my favourite middle-eastern restaurants. There were quite a number of delicious items to choose from.
This is my couscous misto, and I do adore it. The meat is tender and rich and creamy and flavourful and just delicious.
The rest of my family had briyani, falafel and kebab. I was amused at how my mum was commenting before starting to eat, “What small plates!” But in the end, found it challenging to finish the food … Don’t be deceived by the size of the plate, because the dish is quite deep! Hehehe!
After our delicious dinner, we walked to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Here, there is probably one of the oldest christian church in Rome. There are also regular performers here. It’s a nice place to just hang out.
And then finally we walked to Piazza Trilusa (you’ll always see a crowd of people here, sitting on by the steps) and at the side, you’ll see a monument of this famous Roman poet where one of the poems that he wrote was :
“Mentre me leggo er solito giornale spaparacchiato all’ombra d’un pajaro, vedo un porco e je dico: — Addio, maiale! —Vedo un ciuccio e je dico: — Addio, somaro! —Forse ste bestie nun me capiranno, ma provo armeno la soddisfazione de poté di’ le cose come stanno senza paura de finì in prigione”.
It was quite funny (though dark humour) to me. In my lousy Italian, it translates more or less (might not be accurate!)
While reading my newspaper as usual, I saw a shadow on the window and I saw a pig … I say,”Go away swine!” Then I see a donkey … I say, “Go away ass!” Maybe these beasts do not understand me, but at least I have the satisfaction of saying what I think without fearing of being in jail!
I quite like that.