Perfect ending…

Today’s itinerary got tossed entirely out the window. Bill is sick. I am tired. Kaitlyn is tired. I was supposed to go to to the Borghese Gallery at 8:30am. Then the afternoon was a trip to the catacombs. Nope and nope.

                    After sleeping in a little bit, we returned to the Colosseum determined to see the inside. A couple of people tried to get us to take their English tours, but we figured Kaitlyn’s patience for tours had probably reached its end. The line to get in was long, but not horrible. And since it is Valentine’s Day, we only had to pay for one ticket! The tour organizer outside had told us of the deal.. and she said that if Kaitlyn were three she’d get in for free. So I told the ticket lady there were two adults and one three year old. She peered through her glass enclosure suspiciously but finally gave in. I did pay for the audio guide, so we could learn a little bit while we were there. The first thing I learned is that figuring out where you are supposed to stand for the different recordings is challenging in the Colosseum. All you get is a vague map with some numbers on it. The second thing I learned is that Kaitlyn thought the audio guide looked like a telephone and she wanted to talk on it. So I listened to a bit of the tour, then acquiesced to keep the peace and let her “talk” the rest of the time.

                    Continuing on the “things to make Kaitlyn happy” theme, we took a taxi from the Colosseum to Villa Borghese. Thank goodness, since the whole journey was uphill. And earlier this morning, Bill tried to put Kaitlyn on his shoulders and that caused a searing pain so he put her down and forced her to walk on her own.

                    I’d read that Villa Borghese, which is a giant park, has boats you can rent on the lake. I don’t know why but I assumed they were little remote control boats. No, they were actual rowboats. It was not easy to convince Kaitlyn that we were not going to go on a boat ride. It’s chilly, Bill is sick and I am wearing a skirt. No boats! There was a sign for a train so we tried to follow that. The first path we took was the wrong way. We stopped and got lunch at a truck along the road… Bill and Kaitlyn got hot dogs and I got a chicken sandwich that I only ate half of because I was so hungry it was gross. We finally found the “train.” It isn’t a train at all. It’s a sort of arcade. There are little bumper cars for someone Kaitlyn’s size. She tried those but got annoyed because she kept bumping into the walls or the parked cars, so she got out. There were other rides, like the kind you find at the entrance to the grocery store in the United States. She rode all of those, then wasted some money trying to win a stuffed animal with one of those claw games.

                    From the park, we planned to take a taxi to the hotel. Kaitlyn saw some escalators and insisted on taking them. We figured a ride on the metro would do for her train ride, so we went. After riding countless escalators and walking for blocks through a tunnel, we came out near the Spanish Steps. Bill is convinced we found some strange shortcut through Rome that no one else knows about.

                    We stopped at the McDonald’s there for a snack and a bathroom break. The bathroom was disgusting. The snacks were fried shrimp… minus the heads!

                    Even though we were only a few minutes from our hotel, Bill and Kaitlyn took a taxi back. He told me later that they, of course, stopped for gelato next door.

                    I continued my quest for the perfect souvenir. I bought a cool Vespa calendar, but it still isn’t the “perfect” remembrance. I stopped at Daniella’s coffee shop for another cappuccino, then realized I’d mis-ordered when the guy next to me got a hot chocolate.

                    I returned to a shoe store I’d gone into yesterday to try on some boots. Shoe stores in Rome are completely different than shoe stores I’m used to. All the shoes are on display in glass cases in front of the store. You take the salesperson outside and point at the pair you like. I tried on two pairs of boots and was ready to admit defeat to my chubby calves when the man who appeared to be the store owner offered a solution: he has a machine that can stretch the boots to fit. Can I wait 10 minutes? He measured my calves, took the boots and went into the back. Ten minutes in Rome is like 10 minutes in France… more like 30. I wanted to go get a cup of hot chocolate, but didn’t want him to think I wouldn’t be back. I could leave the bag of tights I bought for Kaitlyn as a guarantee of my return… nah… too hard. So I sat and waited. His trick worked and I bought the boots. I wish I’d had them in all that rain!

                    Back at the hotel I found Bill watching tv instead of napping. After a while he turned to me and said “go ahead and get whatever Sky tv you want… I do miss just watching plain old tv.” We watched a show on Animal Planet about some zoo then I flipped around and found “Three Sisters” followed by “Gilmore Girls.” I don’t even watch “Gilmore Girls” but was thrilled with it… just to have a show in English.

                    We finally decided we had to stop watching the American tv and eat. But we could barely wake Kaitlyn up from her nap to go to dinner.

                    Tired of all the heavy and pricey meals, we went to a pizza restaurant written up in two different tour guides I read. Pizzeria Baffetto. It was a short walk from our hotel. When we got there, all the tables outside were full and I was afraid we’d have to wait. Someone lead us inside, up a tiny staircase and into a room crammed full of tables and chairs. When you sit down the waiter puts down the table “cloth”… white paper. And as soon as we sat down, the waiters started gushing over Kaitlyn. And Kaitlyn flirted back. (she is never allowed to go to college!) We started with bruchetta, which isn’t my favorite. It came with some mushrooms and white beans on the side, so that’s what I ate. It was incredible. I don’t know how a plate of beans that appeared to have nothing on them could be so incredible, but they were. The waiter made sure Kaitlyn’s pizza would be ready first. She got one with cherry tomatoes on top. I was glad she didn’t see the one with egg on top. Then came mine and Bill’s. He got spicy salami. I got mushrooms and onions. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I have never had pizza that good and I will make a trip back to Rome just to eat there again. I found my perfect souvenir… a menu from Pizzeria Baffetto.

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