Palm Sunday Lunch
On Palm Sunday we were invited to the home of Olga, the step-mother of a scientist friend of the Queen. She lives in an apartment just outside EUR on the southern edge of Rome. The view from her balcony was very nice and you do not think you are in Rome.
Olga lives by herself but is totally prepared for rain.
We had no idea what would be served at the lunch. The photo is of the Queen, Olga, Sandra and Yence at the table for the first course of the meal. For the first course we had was two different pasta dishes - one with meat and one with fresh tomato sauce that Olga made from scratch. The second course was lamb, veal, brocoletti, zucchini, agrete, two cheeses (burrata and ricotta), artichokes and potatoes.
Agrete is a green vegetable that is only available for about two weeks in the spring. This was followed by raspberries, blueberries, various cookies and cakes. To drink we started with white and red versions of spumonti and wine.
The after dinner drinks were numerous and included mirto ( blueberry liqueur), almond grappa, Courvoisier, a coffee/vanilla thing and Cynar, an artichoke based liqueur. Olga insisted that we taste everything and the alcohol content varied from 16 to 38 percent. When we finished between the food and alcohol we could barely move. Needless to say we did not have dinner. Lunch lasted over 4 hours.
In a small building in the Jewish Ghetto that had been empty for at least the 13 years that we have been coming to Rome they opened a new Holocaust Museum.
It had the 'typical' stuff but some of it was very interesting. For example, there were many Italian postcards from the war years that reflected very poorly on the Italian soldiers that were in Ethiopia prior to World War II.
They also had many newspapers - both Italian and German - from that period. Der Strumer, one of the worst of the German papers, had as its bottom masthead on every issue ' The Jews are our misfortune'.
Why do I have something so normal as a photo of a car with a ticket? Well it is because you never see them here. I would guess that in the 13 years we have been coming back to Rome we have seen only one other ticket that we remember. We live in the center of the city and you would suspect many more tickets especially with the way people park. This car was clearly over the end of the curb at the end of the block.
He is an artist and there was an exhibit of his work here in Rome. I will not say anything about his art but attach a few photos I took of his work.
Why did we go to see him? One of our very good friend's mother bought a piece of his art in 1982 before he was discovered. We would not have known who he was except for this. He died in 1988 of a heroin overdose at the age of 28. His last piece sold in 2016 for 57 million dollars.
The Arnaldi family owns the apartments on the top floor of the building where we rent our apartment each year. The building is actually five stories high and there are four floors of hotel rooms and one floor of apartments. The family still owns the fourth floor of the hotel and the one with apartments on the fifth. Last year we noticed that there were several prints of Rome done by Edyth Arnaldi that were in a chest in the hallway. Nicoli Arnaldi who we pay rent to and who manages the other apartments for the family told us that they were done by his grandmother and offered some to us. Right now we have one hanging at home in DC and Morgan has one. The one pictured here is located on the second floor of the hotel opposite the elevator.
The graffiti in Rome appears to go and come in stages. Right now it is the coming stage. This is a one block long wall near a university that is covered with graffiti.
This was the headline when we just arrived in Rome. The President had just sent cruise missiles into Syria. The translation of the headline is "The first war of Trump".
Romero has been working at the Hotel Medici where our apartment is since we started coming here 13 years ago. He is sometimes behind the desk, sometimes cleaning the apartments on the fifth floor, sometimes repairing things. One photo shows him at the desk with bags of laundry.
The other photo was a picture of a new job - washing the sign in front of the hotel.
Whenever we fly to Rome we try to ask the cabin crew where in Rome they eat. We have found that they often have some good suggestions and one of our favorite in Trastevere came from a crew recommendation. On our flight to Rome this time we learned of Ristorante Maccheroni. It happens to be on one of our biking routes through the city and since it is close to the Pantheon we have ignored it. Most of the restaurants in the tourist areas are not the kind we like. We decided to give this one a try. We stopped in one afternoon as we walked by it and made a reservation for that night. They only had outdoor seating and the nights were still cold but we wanted to go. The restaurant was quite crowded with every seat taken outside, inside and even in a large room downstairs. The Queen ordered eggplant Parmesan which is one dish where we can easily compare it to other places. We are probably spoiled since there are at least two other places where the dish is the best we ever had. Not only was this not special but it came with the inside cold although the plate was hot to the touch. We sent it back to be heated up. I ordered gnocchi with Gorgonzola and pear sauce. I like a strong Gorgonzola taste and this dish did not have it and the sauce was very watery. There was slices of pear in the sauce which was good. We ordered cicoria ripassatta which we like spicy. I asked the waiter to make sure it was spicy and it came very mild. We also ordered a grilled vegetable plate which had peppers, egg plant, zucchini and radicchio. This was OK but the radicchio was probably the worse I have had in Rome - no taste at all.
On top of this we were seated next to a smoker who made the OK meal less OK. This is one of the problems in Rome you have to live with. Since they outlawed smoking in restaurants they just moved the smokers to the outside tables. The Queen does not look too happy.
There are always strange shoes in the women's stores here. This is just a random photo of one of the shoes. We never see anyone wearing any of these strange things but maybe we do frequent events where they would be worn. It is the high heal.