Diaries from an Italian Summer- Touchdown, Rome

The August of 2016, the husband, me and a little brown leather bound journal carefully tucked away in my bag , traveled to Italy and checked off plenty from our bucket list. We devoured pasta like locals, indulged in wine like there was no tomorrow, learnt a handful of Italian words and drank in immense art & history. I’m glad I could make a note of our precious encounters during this ten day vacation because the many glasses of wine sure didn’t help with the memory! At this point, I’m not sure how many parts this post/journey is going to be sliced into and since I’m heavily ridden with a bad habit of “straying”,  I cross my fingers and hope that I can keep you entertained and not subject you to boredom. I hope this journey makes you as happy as it did us…..

August 10th, 5pm
The afternoon sun blazes in all his might with no respite for weary pedestrians. The deluge of light is blinding. We don’t have the luxury of complaining though, come December we look high and low for the slightest hints of warmth.
We trudgingly haul our suitcases to spot the usual “sea of blue”that engulfs Bremner on summer afternoons. Torontonians donning Blue Jays jerseys and basking in the glory of the baseball team is akin to India worshiping Sachin. Cautiously, we snake the wheels of our luggage amid many sneaker laded feet and hasten to get away. Familiar wafts of grilled hot dogs fill the air and although I’m a vegetarian, it dawns upon me that I might miss this present home in the coming few days.
We’re rushing to embark Toronto’s glossiest train ride to the airport, the UP Express. We’re headed to Rome.
The husband’s roaring snores & Mindy Kaling’s ‘Who’s Hanging Out With Me & Other Concerns’ keeps me company as the aircraft jets across skies for eight long hours.The thud of landing is accompanied by a boisterous applause & an even louder cheering…For a tourist, this gesture says much about the country that one is about to enter, the people that one is about to meet. The heart begins to relax as all anticipations vanish and we happily disembark…

The Air Bnb apartment that we opted for, instead of a regular hotel room requires me to walk up seven flights of stairs. While I don’t mind the walk, the husband doesn’t mind the ridiculously claustrophobic elevator with it’s walls lightly but eerily grazing his arms. We meet at the doors of apartment knowing fully well that this will be tradition for the next three days in Rome. I am never getting into that elevator!

Marissa & Maurizio, the owners, have done beyond a splendid job with the apartment space. The roof is slant and at times may require a “bend and walk” routine but I’m not complaining because it effortlessly lends a fairytale like aura to the space. Vibrant morroccan cushions and table cloths are strewn about in the neatest fashion and dainty flowers in little white vases have made a home on the coffee table. Maurizio, while giving us the tour saves the best for last. The apartment occupies a tiny space on the terrace, the rest of the space embedded with green lawn grass, white patio chairs and pots bursting with pink & lavender flowers. The magic however is the view.(More about that later.)

The kitchen is equally thrilling. An espresso maker, that I fathom will come of use owing to the jet lag,  a checkered tablecloth and a basket of fruits & pastries steal my attention while Maurizio introduces us to it’s ultra modern fittings. I catch a quick glimpse of the Ikea colander and pasta pots huddled together and feel an idea bubbling in my excited mind.
Rome Day 1
The idea of cooking pasta in Italy, using local ingredients is invigorating to me and after a spot of sightseeing, we make a pit stop at the grocery to forage for the freshest tomato & basil. The glorious wall of pasta there makes me want to squeal like a child in Disneyland. At the apartment, while my sweet sous chef assists me, I crush canned tomatoes and gently pluck gorgeous cherry tomatoes from their vine. As they bubble up, I drink in the aroma of basil and toss them into the sauce. Sprinkles of fresh ground pepper & sea salt make their way. Half a pound of cooked spaghetti is then dunked in. The process and the result are divine however, I take no credit. The juiciest, incredibly luscious tomatoes and the heavenly aroma of basil are the real superstars here.IMG_7217

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The terrace beckons us to move our dinner outdoors.The marble dome of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore rises high into the sunset sky painted in rich tones of orange.The church bells ring and the aroma of basil lingers in the air. A silent breeze brushes against us as we smile, we are savouring more than just spaghetti. We’re in Italy….

More cobblestone walks, ambrosial food & enormous history coming very soon….

64 thoughts on “Diaries from an Italian Summer- Touchdown, Rome

  1. So that’s where you’ve been! You lucky girl–I need to get myself to Italy! I’ll follow your adventures with enthusiasm, and I’ll take notes! You were so smart to take a journal with you . . . .

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  2. Che Bello…Mr.Google came to my rescue to translate lovely into Italian..the slanting roof over the bed is so whimsical and lovey dovey! and the spaghetti (the video is a real treat to the hungry greedy pigs such as me)dunked in tomato sauce with veggie balls is a royal treat ..but not had the luxury of basil in that! DD, the aversion to the cramped oppressive elevator seems to be an excuse for staying fit!
    An enjoyable Italian whistle stop!

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    1. Hi Sunita
      Google was our translator friend for those entire 10 days! Of course by the end of it, I learnt a few words:)
      Thank you so much for reading 🙂
      Wish I could share the spaghetti with you :)…..

      Haha…yes Sunita, staying fit is exactly what I tell myself every time I see elevators like these and they are in plenty in Italy!

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    1. Thank you so much Cheryl…I’m experimenting with the camera! Of course, when the husband is the teacher, it becomes easier to learn:)
      You’re so right and have put it so perfectly! it’s a beautiful place! And if I may I add to your list – the jovial people 🙂

      When were you there Cheryl?

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      1. We visited in 2010. At that time, we never really thought we’d visit Europe again, so we packed 4 cities in 2 weeks. Rookie mistake. 🙂 On our next trip (2013), we visited family and friends and in the same period, covered equal ground. Guess, we don’t really change. 🙂 The best part of Europe is its the connectivity.

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  3. Divya I am so jealous! Loved the look of your dish. It’s delicious😉👌 Even we too love to opt for Air bnb apartments overseas. They are so much better than going for a standard hotel room! I am sure you are enjoying to the core. Have fun. Oh yes loved that video wherein your pasta sauce is bubbling away with the cute little tomatoes basil and fresh chilli flakes. Yum!!

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  4. Italy is an all time favorite (although I am yet to visit) and I am glad that you visited! Your write-up is as usual dreamy but the pasta takes the cake this time, so delicious! Now that’s enjoying Italy completely, using local ingredients to cook pasta.

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  5. Divya, enjoyed the read your journey from Toronto to Italy. Your sauce made me drool!! Loved the apartment, and the video, promodori, basilica e pepperonchino….bubbling!! Hope you had a wonderful time. Looking forward for your posts.

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