A Casa in Italia (At Home in Italy)…Finally!
Travel isn’t always easy, and when you’re heading across country, then across the ocean to Europe, there are bound to be some snags. I hadn’t expected a flat out first flight cancelled and missed connection to Rome would be the start of my trip, however. So after arguing unsuccessfully with United to be placed on another carrier or route, I was force to buy a British Airways ticket, fly thru London, on to Rome, arriving 8 hours late to meet my tour group. My daughter and friend traveling with me had to spend the night in Washington and arrive this morning, a full day late.
Traveling alone on my now ninth trip to Rome, with simply my carryon luggage, I was able to whiz through the airport at Fiumucino, grab some cash from the ATM, and hail a taxi all in about 15 minutes. So after a 24 hour trip to get this far, I was finally on my way to my favorite city in the world. I tentatively began testing out my rusty Italian with the driver. Alberto Santa Chiara, vicino al Pantheon e la Minerva, per favore. Sa dove? The hotel Santa Chiara, by the Pantheon and the Minerva, please. Do you know where it is? Quanto costa? Quanti minuti al centro storico? Forse trenta? How much does it cost?How many minutes to the center of Rome? Possibly thirty? The driver actually complemented my Italian, and it came to me at that moment: Sono di Denver, ma sono a casa in Italia. I am from Denver, but I am at home in Italy.
After quickly checking into the hotel, checking to be sure my group had all arrived ok and that they were notified of my delay, I showered (how good does that feel after 26 hours of traveling?!), then wandered around the corner to the Piazza dell Rotunda, where the Pantheon sits, my favorite spot in Rome. I did nothing but stand there for 10 minutes, soaking in Italy. Couples enjoying an apperitivo, a wedding, babies playing near the fountain, businessmen making their way home. For me, it’s so soothing to be in Rome.
Back at the hotel I met my tour group for a pre-dinner glass of prosecco before heading off to the very nearby Vecchia Locanda for an alfresco dinner. It’s unseasonably warm here right now and almost feels like it’s still summer, so was wonderful to sit outside and enjoy our meal.
I’ve become so used to using my DSLR camera with the work I’m doing on a cookbook project that I could barely remember how to work my point and shoot. I promise to figure that out today. But let me paint you a picture of our first dinner. Amarone wine from the Veneto region. Antipasti of the most well seasoned grilled vegetables. Primi piatti of spaghetti carbonara and amatriciana. Turbot covered in sweet cherry tomatoes and arugula. It was more than good – it was comforting, like it was saying welcome home. I’m so happy to be back in Italy. Sono a casa qui.
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