EMILY NESI & CHOCOLATE
I had been waiting for this weekend for some time now. A friendship that began in Italian class 6 years ago all came down to this one weekend. Emily’s arrival in Rome.
Emily and I have been friends for 6 years now. It all started in Signora Altherr’s Italian class at NVOT. Our friendship blossomed from there and this weekend we traveled together in Italy. No matter how much time passes between seeing each other, we pick up right where we left off. The last time we saw each other was in August when we were hanging out by the pool in her neighbor’s backyard reminiscing and talking about how crazy it was that we’d be in Italy together. I can’t say it enough, but this whole thing feels like a dream. I can distinctly remember us wishing we could go to Italy together and at the time we had no idea we would both be studying abroad and in Italy nonetheless.
She arrived on Thursday evening and I walked over to the Trevi Fountain to meet her. The fountain is currently closed for repairs and it looks so depressing. There is glass about 7 feet high surrounding the whole thing and you can’t even get close to it. And I found out this weekend that the Spanish Steps are also closed for repairs until next spring! I haven’t gone over there yet and I thought I would have time, but I guess I don’t now. My dream of eating gelato on the steps like Audrey Hepburn faded away very quickly. I will still go over there to see them, but it just won’t be the same. Emily got a little lost on her way to the fountain, but after a bit she suddenly appeared and we couldn’t have been happier to see each other. We made our way over to a restaurant named Baccano which was super nice and delicious, as has everything I have eaten in Italy so far has been delicious. We sat there for hours enjoying the food, the wine, and each other’s company. Before we knew it we were closing the restaurant! We then walked over to the Pantheon and then we walked back to her hotel. I was going to make the walk back to my apartment, but it was late and it would have taken me about 40 minutes so I took a cab. Better safe than sorry!!
Saturday we both slept in and around 1:00 I walked over to Palazzo Montecitorio to meet her. It took a little while for me to find her because there was something going on in that area that day, but I finally found her! We decided we were going to explore the Borghese Garden and we did just that! The Borghese Garden is a little slice of paradise in the middle of Rome. As I have said in previous blog posts, I really miss seeing grass so whenever I see it, it’s always nice. We sat on a bench to take a break from all the walking and we noticed a bunch of people riding two- person bikes. The friendship Emily and I have is more of a laid back one and we don’t take many chances, but when we do they usually turn out pretty well. With that being said, we found ourselves walking up to the stand to rent one of the bikes. There was a bit of a learning curve at the beginning. The bike had two sets of pedals and two steering wheels, but only one person could pedal at a time and the second steering wheel wasn’t even connected to anything. We had a lovely ride around the gardens and saw most of it even though we went in the same loop about four times. For 10 euros, it was worth it! Around 5:00 we decided we were hungry so we ventured over to Via Veneto and found a place to eat. Via Veneto is a very upscale road/area in Rome where all of the fancy hotels and restaurants are, so the prices for everything are a bit high in order to trap the tourists. If we were closer to my neighborhood I could think of about 10 different, cheap, but delicious restaurants we could have eaten at, but we had a delicious meal regardless. After dinner we walked back to my apartment to pick up my stuff so I could stay the night at the hotel with her. It was nice to be able to show her the place I have called home for the past 2 months. On the way to her hotel, we walked past St. Peter’s, Castel Sant Angelo, and Piazza Navona which are always really pretty at night.
On Saturday we were up bright and early to catch a train to Perugia. Waking up at 7:00 was a little difficult considering we were up until 4:00 catching up and talking about nothing in particular. Train tickets were purchased and we hopped on the train. I slept most of the ride and before I knew it we had to switch trains and get on the local one that went to Perugia. The region of Umbria is so beautiful and on the ride we got to see Assisi through the window. All of the villages are nestled into the hills and each is different. We passed Assisi and were able to see the huge chapel dedicated to St. Francis. Soon the train pulled into Perugia and we jumped on a small trolley called the MiniMetro and headed up the side of the hill to the center of town. We followed the crowd, which ended up being a mistake. The crowd we were following went into a church which wasn’t bad, but it was not exactly where we wanted to be. So, we turned around and soon enough we were in the right place. We were both hungry so we decided to eat at a restaurant that was underground. After lunch we headed back above ground to begin our chocolate adventure! To say it was crowded was an understatement. I usually have a lot of patience for people, but it was getting close to 2 pm and I still hadn’t had any chocolate yet, so my patience was running thin. In the distance, we saw the main attraction, the Guinness World record holding CHOCOLATE MUSTACHE. Of course we got a picture with it….
After the photo-op we began to walk around the festival. We purchased chococards which we had to bring to certain stands in order to get a free piece of chocolate or some other sweet treat. As we were walking around I spotted a sign that said “PANORAMIC VIEW THIS WAY”. My curiosity took over and Emily and I followed the signs to one of the most beautiful views I have seen here in Italy. The views on the Amalfi Coast and in Perugia cannot be compared because they are in two different parts of the country.
After taking in the view we began to visit the stands on our chococards. One of the stands called “Ciobar” gave out what tasted like pudding, but it was hot and in liquid form. Other stops included Lindt, Riccola, Pernigotti, and a few other Italy exclusive companies. We had such an amazing day chocolate-filled day that by the time we got back to the hotel we were exhausted. Around 8:30 we headed down to the hotel restaurant to get something to eat. Once again, the restaurant was a little fancy, but we just went along with it and enjoyed eating higher quality food. The dessert of the weekend was tiramisu considering we ate it every night so we were hoping the restaurant would have it, but they were out so we got a slice of blueberry pie to split. It wasn’t nearly as good as tiramisu, but we were satisfied. After dinner, we headed back up to the room and facetimed with her mom for a bit before we headed to bed. I don’t think I have ever been so tired in my life. Once my head hit the pillow, I was out.
We woke up early again on Sunday because Emily had a plane to catch and I had to get back to real life. It was hard to say goodbye, but I’ll see her again in a few weeks in Sicily. The whole weekend seemed like a dream and a week later it still seems like it didn’t happen. I can’t wait to get to Sicily and climb Mount Etna and experience all it has to offer! But, first I have an essay to write…
Next stop: WHO KNOWS?