Friday, March 14, 2014

Dinner in Rome

Before I get to my Germany Wrap Up Post, just a little vignette of this afternoon and evening.

I got into Rome around 1:30 pm, right on time -- early, in fact. With Italy and Germany both being members of the EU, no more "passport control"; so I got over to the baggage claim area, no problem!

But as mentioned in my last post, while waiting for my checked bag to vomit out onto the carousel, I discovered I'd left my iPad on the airplane. Fortunately, it was found, and an Alitalia employee brought it over. I asked if his name was Antonio (it was Diego), explaining that I'd been praying to San Antonio to find my iPad! (I don't think he understood that part.)

So I headed back -- this time, catching a train, which was a mistake. Actually, the mistake wasn't the train, necessarily, but in not having very precise plans for which train-and-bus-combination I would take to get back. Rome's transportation system is not well designed for people who "wing" it. So when I ended up at Stazione Trestavere, asking the lady behind the glass what my next train or bus should be, her answer was less clear than...well, let's say I didn't understand. And when I told her this, she repeated it, only much louder.

That's when I walked out and caught a taxi.

Now, I should explain, in case I didn't (I can't remember), that for this stint in Rome, I'm not staying at the same location as before. Before, I was taking part in a program through the North American College; and so I was at a residence on the NAC campus. But since I opted out of the "module" currently underway (so I could make my German pilgrimage), the institute had booked my room for another attendee. So I had to vamoose. Recommended to me was a guesthouse run by some Sisters of Saint Philip Neri. So that's where I came back to. And when I got back around 4:30 pm, I spent some time checking emails and so forth.

It turns out, my rectory back in Cincinnati was burgled. Our admirable director of vocations, Father Kyle Schnippel, has been covering things for me in the parish. And when I got a connection at the airport, I saw a message from him about a break-in, in which he lost several very valuable things; also stolen was my cell phone.

My $9.88 special from Wal-Mart. Stolen.

So when I got back here, I realized I should probably contact Tracfone and see about cancelling it or whatever. But since I don't have a phone, I did it via the Internet. Unfortunately, they really wanted me to call them; so it wasn't easy finding the way to do it via "chat" -- but I did it.

With all the delays and disconnects, I got that taken care of. If you have my cell, don't bother calling. It's cancelled. When I get back, I'll get a new one; I hope with the old telephone number, but we'll see.

So it's getting on to dinner; add the fact that I didn't have lunch, I'm getting a bit peckish. But in Rome, you don't go get dinner at six. In fact, for restaurants, even 7 pm can be a bit early. So around 7:30, I walk down the street to a restaurant I'd visited last week. Even then, I was "early"! I was going to leave and come back, but they said, no, no, have a seat; and no less than the cook came out and went over the menu with me (it was all in Italian). I explained that since it was Friday, in Lent (I'm wracking my brain to remember how to say "Friday" in Italian, and I haven't a clue about "Lent"), I didn't want meat: "sin carne." He nodded and pointed out several items.

One of them was a Tuscan soup, with beans and vegetables, so I ordered that, plus a tuna dish. Please understand, dear reader: what I heard was, ItalianItalianItalianTUNAItalianItalianItalian. I didn't really know much more than that -- but isn't that the adventure of traveling? But then, I have two advantages: there are very few things I won't eat (isn't that obvious?); and I'm in Rome, where they take food very seriously. So this is where one of my rules applies: they wouldn't put it on the menu if it wasn't good. (Note: that only applies in places that actually respect food -- like Rome.)

In going over the menu, the chef had highlighted one of the antipasti; but I didn't really need three courses, and I really wanted some soup, so I skipped over that. Then, a few minutes later, he came out with a sample! When he came back to see how I liked it, I showed him an empty plate, and that made him smile.

So then came the soup: and to my surprise, it was quite thick! I asked the owner when who came by (did I mention I was the only patron in the place at that point?) about this, as I remembered the soup I had here the last time was likewise thick. He confirmed that Tuscan soups (the restaurant specializes in Tuscan dishes) tend to be very thick.

Then came the tuna. When I saw it, I wondered if it actually was tuna; because tuna, when I've seen it, turns greyish-brown when cooked; but this was a rose color all the way through. According to the all-wise Wikipedia, some tuna is pink. Did you know that?

In any case, it was delicious! When the cook came back, I told him, in an atrocious mixture of English, Spanish, Latin and Italian, that not eating meat on Fridays is supposed to be penance; but not this fish he served me! I don't think he got much of that, except he saw I liked it.

So that was my dinner tonight; and now either I'll write my wrap-up of my German pilgrimage, or I'll fall asleep...

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Real Italian food is awesome! That's kind of an overused word, but it's really that good, isn't it?

Sorry about the burglary. It is a real violation to be robbed. I hope your colleague feels okay and at peace. I will pray for him.

When we are the victims of these crimes, we see why greed is one of the seven deadly sins. When someone dies in a robbery, the newspapers refer to it as "a robbery gone bad." But have you ever heard of a robbery that DIDN'T turn out bad?