Last weekend I went on a bike ride with my friend Adriana to a nice little town called Monteriggioni. It is a truly medieval town, to the extent that it hasn't even extended outside of the medieval walls like Siena has. It was such a pleasant ride through the country, and we kept passing other bikers which made us so happy (and comfortable). As we got closer to Monteriggioni, though, we saw more and more bikers and parts of the road that were blocked off to traffic. Apparently we had been riding in the middle of a bike race! Whoops. No wonder they were giving us such funny looks. We got to the town, which normally would have been dead on a Sunday afternoon, and it was full of people watching the cyclers ride in. We climbed up on top of the city wall above one of the gates and watched.
And then an even greater adventure: Rome! We were there for 5 days and saw everything you should see and some more that I wouldn't have known about on my own. A few of my favorite highlights:
- Wandering around peaceful Palatine Hill for a few hours. Right in the middle of all the madness of Rome is this hill of ruins where the great palaces of Rome were built (after Romulus and Remus lived there of course). It's a nice open green space filled with ruins and people just strolling around.
- Hadrian's Villa, which is actually about an hour outside of Rome. Also a big site of ruins (noticing a pattern?) where the emperor Hadrian lived. It was even more peaceful since it wasn't surrounded by Rome. I just loved it.
- The breakfast at our hotel - the first granola I've had in Italy. It made me very happy.
- Enoteca (wine bar) Cul de Sac, where I went with two friends for wine and food one night. We sat for three hours at a table on the street, watched Rome walk by, had some of the best wine I've had yet (a shiraz from the region), and ate sundried tomatoes in oil, pecorino cheese cooked in cinders, and a potato cake. It was wonderful, relaxing, and of course delicious.
- Walking at night to beautiful (albeit touristy) spots such as the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.
- Seeing the Pope. Actually that wasn't really that exciting for me, but I thought I should let you all know. He is a very cute little man.
- Being able to fill up my little nalgene with public drinking water everywhere! Rome just has a million little water spigots everywhere of clean, cold, delicious water. It was so exciting for me.
- Taking pictures of strangers - in smaller places like Siena and Lucca they don't seem to appreciate that so much.
And then my sweater flew away in the window while I was taking it off the line outside my window just now. It's currently snagged on a hook on my neighbor's shutter but they aren't home. Shoot.