by Melinda Gallo

Leaving Rome

We expected to only work until about 3PM in Rome, but we didn't end up leaving the office until 7PM. I was afraid to leave too early because everyone at the company told me that we'd be stuck in traffic. They suggested that we take a taxi to the metropolitana (subway) and then take that to the stazione (train station).

Valentina was kind enough to drive Enzo, Marco, Dave and I to a small bar down the street from the office while she went home to have lunch with her children. We usually eat in the office, but because the pizzeria that they order from was closed, we had to go out.

Dave and I have decided to eat less pasta. I make it every day at lunch, but I think sometimes it might be too much for us. My nutritionist back in the US told me that I have a slight sensitivity to wheat. For someone living in Italy, that's practically a death sentence. I tried to eat less wheat while I was in the US, but it's quite difficult to do so in Italy. At any rate, I try to never eat pasta for dinner unless I go out. A lot of my Italian friends say that they try to do the same.

But, at the bar that we went to for lunch, they had fusilli alle noci (fusilli pasta with walnuts) and I couldn't resist. I had it in Sorrento for dinner on Saturday. I usually do not like walnuts much, but after tasting this pasta dish, I have changed my mind. They finely cut up the walnuts and add them to a base of panna (cream) and possibly burro (butter) and parmigiano (parmesan cheese). I have always been told that the farther you go south, the less they use panna, but I guess that's a general rule and not a strict one.

After lunch, I bought some dolci (desserts) for the girls in the office because they have been so nice to Dave and me. I got them some cenci (deep-fried or baked pastry), which are called chiacchere in Rome, and some bignč (cream puffs) with crema and Nutella. Italy is in full carnevale mode and there have been lots of desserts at the pasticceria (pastry shop) that they only make during this season.

After work, we walked back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. The man at the hotel reception desk called a taxi for us. We didn't have tickets for the train, so we bought them at the train station. We got seats on the next train to Florence and had some time to kill so we decided to eat at the train station, which wasn't the best option, but we didn't want to eat too late when we got home at 11PM.

We had awful seats on the Eurostar train this time. We were seated facing the back of the train and on opposite sides: we had a seat and an aisle between us. The train wasn't full, so we sat together sitting face to face.

I didn't know the train was going to stop twice along the way to Florence, so our trip was longer than usual. It took us two hours and ten minutes in all instead of the hour and a half that it usually takes.

When we opened the door to our building, I got the mail out of our mail box while Dave dragged our suitcase up the two flights of stairs. We walked inside of our apartment and were so happy to get home. Exhausted, but happy.

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