Day 76: Another lovely daytrip to ruins. Ostia, the former port city of Rome, is very well preserved with a very ‘Mos Eisley’ feel for me. If you don’t understand my reference, suffice to say it was definitely an ancient city designed for sailors, traders, merchants and possibly the occassional wookie smuggler.
[David here. Ostia’s another one of these well preserved ancient cities that we had to rush through because there’s so much. No volcanic eruptions this time, though, the city was just abandoned when the river changed its course. The place was full of mosaics, baths (something like 18, Janak was getting really sick of them), warehouses and apartments, and so on. There were also a lot of Mithraeums, which were these distinctive buildings used by the cult of Mithras. Not a lot is known about the cult, since its members were all sworn to secrecy, but it was basically like the Masons with more feasting. Cool stuff. We also decided that, since Janak has the stripey sweater and everything, we needed to start playing Where’s Janak. Can you find all the Janaks?]
Day 77: David stayed behind to look at more ruins near the Forum, Trajan’s market. My Assisi daytrip is another post.
[David again. Trajan’s Market: they used to think it was a big mall, now they think it was more a big office building with some shops below. Either way, it’s this huge semi-circular three story complex built into the hillside. Very impressive. Also, there’s Trajan’s Column, showing his conquests in a sort of marble relief comic strip that winds around the pillar. It was my first column in Rome, so I was excited. Now we’ve seen them all over, but I still think it’s cool.]
Day 78: A haphazard ‘relaxing’ day, which involved the Pantheon (Hadrian’s feat of dome-engineering), the Fontana di Trevi (Bernini had a weird imagination), a stroll through Villa Borghese and a rendezvous with my friend Sumukh and his family from San Diego. Delicious food, awesome company.
Day 79: A quest for glorious food. Recommendations from various friends as well as reviews online have led us to Frigidarium, L’Archetto and Taza del Oro. The results? L’Archetto has amazing pasta (100 sauce options) for reasonable prices, as well as a wonderfully cozy staff. Taza del Oro does in fact have the best cup of Joe in Roma, and Frigidarium… my God. I think I will try and explain the ‘frigidarium flavor’ they offer, a mixture of caramel, cookies, chocolate and creme with a ‘yo dog’…
“Yo dog, I heard you like flavors, so I put flavors in yo flavors, so you can taste more while you taste more”
Out of the many gelatos I have had in Europe and throughout my life in America, this was certainly the best of my life. And the service from my newfound friend Raphael was unparalleled:
Raphael: “you should try this one as well, its another one of my favorites!”
Me: “are you sure? I’ve had like 5”
Raphael: “well then, which do you want?”
Me: “Can I have those 3 in the medium cup?”
Raphael: “and anything else?”
Me: “you mean I can have more in that cup?”
Raphael: “Sure! 4 flavors, why not? you are in Italy my friend!”
Me: “Oh well then add that one”
Raphael: “And to dip it in? Chocolate or Cream?”
Me: “Oh its dipped?! Chocolate!!!”
…thats right folks, I got 4 scoops of ice cream on the medium sized cup, dipped in chocolate which hardens agains the cold gelato, all for 3 euro. Like I said, unparalleled.
More to come,
Janak and David