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Coliseum!

First Espresso

We had a bit of a late start today but it was certainly a jolt when it was started, a jolt of coffee that is. I guess if you are going to have your first cappuccino and your first espresso, Italy would be the country to do it in. The Espresso was so strong I thought I would bounce off the walls.

Please note, I am the girl who when ordering a tall latte that normally comes with four shots I ask for 2 and make one of them decaf. Once a coworker brought me a coffee and after having 2 sips I felt like my heart was going to burst from my chest and my couldn’t focus on anything. She said she couldn’t remember if I had 3 or 4 shots, so she got me 4… So one little teeny tiny mug of espresso was me set for the whole day!

Svet and I having an Espresso

I made us some lunch, Pasta Italiano (taught to me by Nicola when we were both at the wildlife refuge in the Amazon). It was a little too much pasta and not enough Italiano unfortunately, but still yummy. See recipe below:

Pasta Italiano (as taught by Dr. Nicola DMV)
Fresh Tomatoes
Garlic
Olive Oil (generous helping if going true Italian style)
Oregano
Salt and Pepper

Heat olive oil in pan, lightly brown chopped garlic, add tomatoes and let simmer for about 20min until they are broken down. Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Best served with spaghetti pasta and a generous helping of parmesan cheese.

It is so simple and yet so amazingly delicious, the amount of garlic and tomatoes all depends on your taste and how many people. I have made this for friends and family all over the world now as it is a great alternative to my family’s spaghetti bolognaise when staying wither vegetarians.

Art

Italy is known for its great works of art, The statue of David, the Cistene Chapel and many more. However, it was the local art that had me captivated as we walked around town. Before the small shops opened you were faced with closed metal doors, but it was what was painted on these doors that had me bemused. No signs needed as it also gave away what the store was selling.

Jewelry Perhaps?


Clothes and Stuff I Suspect!

Coliseum and So Much More

Finally we hopped in the car and drove downtown towards the Coliseum and some much anticipated culture. I couldn’t believe it, it was huge. It blew my mind that it was 1,932 years old. Started in 75 AD and finished in 80 AD. Guess the don’t build them like they used to and it is still in pretty good nick, except for side of course.

It was Cultural Week in Italy and that meant all government run Historical Monuments, Museums etc.. were FREE!!!! Woohoo… until you realise that 90% of all these things are run by private groups, including the Coliseum. It was rather expensive to get in and so we opted for an external view, which was still pretty damn impressive if you ask me.



This is one of my favorites for some reason

The weather was a bit crappy, but coming from Eugene Oregon where we have 6mths of grey rainy winter, I was used to it and at least it wasn’t pouring.

There was literally history oozing from every corner you looked, there were times you almost tripped over it.

Walking Down the Main Drag

We past a line of statues depicting different rulers and I found myself correctly guessing most of them. I seriously need to get out more.

Julius Caeser

We walked past the Monument to Victor Emanuel II, also known as the giant marshmallow building, we crossed the main road of traffic (and an amusing traffic officer) and into the back streets.

Kate and I in Front of the Marshmallow


Stop Stop I am a Speed Cop


Italian Cars are Just My Size

A Wish To Return

The back streets were brilliant and confusing. At one point I popped in to buy some postcards and walked out promptly losing Kate and Svet in the massive crowd. Being barely 5ft (1.5m) tall I had no hope of finding them. But what I did find instead was the famous Trevi Fountain. That is, I found it after I had to elbow about 500 tourists out of the way. I promptly forgot I was lost when I saw it.

I found an intelligent looking girl, who spoke English, and asked her to take a picture of me and my coin and the fountain. The silly twat took a photo of me and my coin, seriously????? Maybe I should have rather chosen someone who didn’t speak English.

Me, my coin, and…

My Aunt had down right ordered me to throw my coin in the fountain telling me how my wish would come true. Later I learnt it wasn’t so much a wish in general, but rather the wish to return to Rome. Well I guess I wished she could return to Rome, so maybe it will work.

Suddenly realising I was still lost, I found something to stand on and called Kate, they were still standing outside the postcard shop. Oops!

Organised Crime… Italian Style?

All feeling rather exhausted from a long afternoon of walking and exploring we headed back to the car. Only to discover that it had been broken into and they had stolen the GPS and some foreign coins. They had left the radio though.

Not wanting it to spoil the rest of the day, we headed off to a vintage and artists market, very retro with hand made goods from locals.

Vintage Clothes and Bags Made from Vinyl Records

Back at home I cooked up some pasta vegetable something or other for dinner, it was actually rather good, and we settled in to watch a movie. Tomorrow is a day on my own and I think I shall head to the Vatican City.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in RTW, Travel

 

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Last Day….

30th November 2011

The Dilemma of Laundry

Yesterday we didn’t do much as we were both quite exhausted from the trip. But since I was leaving soon I needed to get some laundry done. Also, since Buddha had been crashing at the hotel and not been home to his mother’s for over a week, we did his laundry too. I put in a rush order for his and paid the extra, due to the fact that he was stuck in his room with just the sheet… His would be done by 10am. However, the Nepali power company had other ideas and promptly switched off the power for 4hrs.. We had no idea when he would be able to make an appearance and he did threaten at one point to come down toga style.

In the meant time I ran some errands and had the cook, Robin, taught me how to make the amazing potato hashbrowns I had become addicted to every morning. I would order the expensive, $3, breakfast just to get the potatoes. Turned out it was tumeric that was the secret. I took some up to Buddha so he could at least eat something while secluded in his prison.

Around 2pm the laundry appeared much to our relief. Yogi, the hotel owner, took us across the road to a clothing factory where he knew the owner. I picked up a jacket, skirt and some funky harem pants. That afternoon we went back to visit Buddha’s friend and owner of the Facebook restaurant and had momo’s and tea. Then Buddha met up with Yogi to go to a Tourism Conference and I returned to packing and sorting… I think I will need to buy another bag!

My Last Day…

It feels like I have been here for so long and now it is my last day. For those of you who hadn’t guessed by now, Buddha and I had become very close in these 3weeks and our friendship had grown into something a bit more… It will be very hard to leave!

But until the moment actually comes, there are errands to run, bags to pack and one more trip to monkey temple.

We made a run to the mall to pick up a few more DVD’s for Buddha and he noticed a guy doing henna tattoos. He remembered that I had had one when I arrived from Malaysia and that I had mentioned I wanted to get another done before I left (sometimes it amazes me that he remembers these things). So encouraged me to get one done and haggled with the guy till he gave me a decent price.

Henna

Choices

Errand 1

I had bought a tapestry the day before and had bargained the guy to a decent price, but upon return to the room I realised there was a flaw.

The FLAW…

I didn’t feel like dealing with the guy on my own so had asked Buddha to come with me. While we waited for him I noticed a bag I might need to pack all my stuff, it was a backpack with wheels and cost around $35, not too shabby. We decided to first have me pack and see if I really needed it.

Finally the guy showed up and after some haggling realised that there was nothing much he could do as there wasn’t another of that size and the one that was there had a bigger flaw. I decided I could fix it as it was awfully perrty.

Errand 2

Spice shopping with Robin, the cook at Hotel Silver Home. I particularly wanted the spice he used for his hashbrown like fried potatoes. It took a bit of a search but we eventually found it and also some different kinds of masala for curry.

Spices!

Errand 3

After the spices the plan was to go meet a friend of Buddha’s from the ship whose sister owned a pashmina store. Now, after weeks of him prank calling me (one of his favorite past times), he had been trying to reach me for real as his friend was waiting and I was off exploring the land of spices… cooking that is. When I got back he had got a little exasperated (which is not a lot in most people’s books as he is so laid back). But we weren’t too late and we were soon our way off to meet up with him. The factory was on the same property as a very imperssive house. However, it cracks me up how houses are built, as often you end up blocking light and views of your neighbors.

Their house is the white one on the right

I was fairly certain I could pick up some pashmina cheap cheap having an inside contact, I was thinking maybe $10, $15 max… Ummmm yeah not so much.

They owned a factory who had a deal with Rolex, every time someone bought a watch they got a pashmina, so you can imagine the quality. It was fabulous, felt like cloth water and the cheapest price was $35 for a small one. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on something I would never wear (most likely out of fear of ruining it). Please note they did offer me a fantastic discount, but being at the end of my budget I just couldn’t. The joys of a backpacker budget…

Errand 4

Finally it was time to say farewell to the monkeys and temple who had brought Buddha and I together. It was bitter sweet walking through the temple knowing I may never be back to feed them again. I even recognized a few and I swear there was some recognition back, at least that is what I am going with, it might have had something to do with the cookies. I will really miss the dogs there, I definitely knew a lot of them and was on the verge of naming a few.

Buddha’s friends joined us and so we were able to get some pictures, I think putting them up is the best way to show you all:

Troop 1

Pack 1

My Favorite in Pack 1

This Day Buddha got on Film

Mobbed by his fans, Buddha stays Cool and Collected

This Little Guy Figured Out the Source

He Was Quite Content to Stay as Long as the Cookie Supply Lasted

Moments Before He had a Cookie in Each Hand and THREE in His Mouth

A Moment to Treasure

Soon the Monkey on my Shoulder Discovered the Cookie Source

The Monkey Whisperer???

No Words…

Here is a short video of Buddha feeding his minions and the temple. I will miss these outings more than I can say!

Finally we had to leave and return to the hotel as we had dinner plans. First I popped over and bought a yak wool blanket and some of the cheaper (not pure) pashminas and the extra bag. Then we headed to the tongba place for dinner and one last round. On the way we stopped at one of the street side snack vendors. they have tubs of popcorn, peanuts, corn nut like things etc and dish them into a little paper cone for you to enjoy. I had never had any as you fear for your stomach, but Buddha has a way of showing me new things, and I wish I had got this yummies from the first day and trusted my African constitution to stand by me.

Snack Vendor

Namiko from Japan joined us along with Yogi and Raj. It was a great night, and I am going to miss the boys all terribly.

Buddha, Yogi and Raj

The Crew

And so back to the hotel, up the four flights of stairs for the last night. It is bitter sweet and I can’t believe this section is over, that I will be leaving some amazing people and that my journey is just one country from its end…

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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