A few years ago I was watching Oprah when she announced her next Book Club novel, ‘Eat Pray Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. I usually don’t read books too much, usually if I do it’s as a learning tool and not for pure enjoyment, but this one took my interest. No doubt the reason it became a best-seller was not solely due to the notoriety from Oprah but the fact that, like me, so many women could relate to it even in only a minor way. I know I’m not alone when I say there has come at least one time in my life when I haven’t stopped and wished I could ‘escape’ my life at the time and remove myself from the circumstances around me.
Whilst I’ve never wanted to go to the extreme of taking 12 months out of my life to tour the globe, there was an attraction to the thought of going to far off lands to indulge in things new and exciting. In the book she visits 3 countries: Firstly to Italy to ‘Eat’, then India to ‘Pray’, then finally Indonesia to ‘Love’. I have to say, the first part of the book ‘Eat’ was very much to my liking
Our itinerary didn’t originally include Italy. After a series of conversations as to how we could spend the last few days of the trip before leaving Europe the thought occurred to include a whirlwind visit to Italy. There is so much of the world we haven’t seen, we made a fair effort at packing in what we could with the thought in mind ‘we may never come back’ so this was an attempt to sample a little of what Italy had to offer knowing if it was to our liking we would be more likely to return. ‘Sample’ we did, with little over 48 hours in Rome …..an when in Rome? EAT!
I not only read the book, I watched the movie and Julia Roberts made eating your way through Italy look MOST appealing. The home of pasta (and the ‘pizza’ is a debate) and rich tasty sauces, I knew I was going to like that! Our first day we had a quick trip to the ‘Flavian Amphitheatre; (Colosseum) so we stopped for lunch before our tour.
Although I’m a huge fan of creamy sauces and pasta I decided I should go for what is probably the most popular dish back home, they didn’t have spaghetti bolognaise but they did have it with fettucine …close enough. It didn’t disappoint. Whilst there wasn’t anything particularly special about it, there was something about sitting in a small Italian restaurant and digging into a large bowl of pasta that seemed most indulgent and nurturing.
Hubby conveniently got the cabonara, I didn’t hesitate to try …
…and Miss 8 had pizza of course!
We had our tour, ventured over to the Trevi Fountain and threw in a few coins before taking a wander. Up the narrow paved streets it was a hub of activity (oh, watch out for cars, their driving is manic!), the temperature was still in the 30’s and there was many a restaurant to choose from. We had been given some advice by friends on how to best choose without paying a fortune. The rule of thumb? If there is live music then forget it, many had a little fellow out front with his piano accordion belting out ‘That’s Amore’ or other famous Italian tunes. You PAY for that music, guaranteed if you walk around the corner the same fare will be on offer at a much lower price. We didn’t walk far before we were bailed up by a local, menu in hand, “Come in! We’re air-conditioned”. Well, the menu was in English, the woman was friendly, the prices seemed fair …good enough for me.
Whilst I very much wanted a healthy meat and veg meal, I WAS in Italy, it just didn’t seem right to pass up on those other traditional meals we’ve grown to love. Whilst the roast veal dish was very much appealing, a mushroom risotto also took my fancy ….easy decision, BOTH! Needless to say there was no room for dessert, though a great gelato would have gone down well. We paid and were about to leave when our waitress returned to the table. An aperitif was placed before us in a small shot glass – hmmm. Now I don’t know what it was, but I suspect some sort of Limoncello, regardless it went down rather nicely 🙂
After a 4am start in Paris to get to the airport and a busy afternoon walking around the ruins we had a most indulgent and enjoyable day in Rome but were keen for some sleep ready for our next adventure. Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert for your ‘Eat’ inspiration 🙂