So much has happened since Sunday. On Monday, I was finally able to take Chris to Roma. I had to return the GPS that I had rented from Hertz. It was going to cost me 200 Euros for the full rental period. I can buy one for 100. So I took it back and of course we had taken the train in and I had forgotten a part. So they took it back, charged me 50 Euros and I had to come back to return the missing part or they were going to charge me the full 200. I got a two day grace period. Anyway, the Villa Borghese where Hertz is located is right next to the Spanish Steps. A famous meeting place and tourist highlight on all the brochures. Just a short walk is Campo Marzio, a wonderful park that overlooks the Piazza del Popolo. The park was dedicated to the people of Roma by Napoleon for a place families could visit. Had a great lunch at a restaurant just off the Piazza and people watched. I wasn’t going to do major sightseeing in Roma until we got back towards the end of our trip as we are spending 3 days there. But I had to show Chris the Coliseum. As you walk out of the Metro station, right there it sits. The iconic site that is Roma to many people was there to stare at. We strolled around it trying to put history into some sort of perspective. It is a very humbling feeling. Sort of like gazing out at the Grand Canyon. We made our way back to Casperia, went shopping for groceries and called it an extrodinary day.
Tuesday, I helped Franco move some furniture and kitchen cabinets upstairs at their new cucina. It sits on top of the two apartments they own. It was Franco’s birthday! As he tells it, “a very special holiday”, and he wanted fish. Off he went to buy fish and Paola, Chris and I went back to the restaurant. Man, he really wanted fish; fresh anchovies, calamari, clams and shrimp. Paola and I prepared his special lunch by dusting the anchovies and calamari in flour and a quick deep fry. De-shelled and be- headed a few of the shrimp for the pasta. Sauteed the clams in white wine and herbs, also for the pasta and quickly sautéed the remaining shrimp all intact. A friend, Georgio, came over and gave Franco a gift and he stayed for lunch. We polished off most of the sea food, drank a bunch of wine and sang Happy Birthday to Franco after downing some Scotch that Franco insisted we try, in what else, Italian. Funny how good our Italian got after wine and scotch.