Sunday, July 13, 2008

When in Rome ... (Days 1-2)

It's been nearly a month since my last post and it has been one heckuva month! This is an epic trip, so the best way to cover it is to go day by day, or city by city.

We left for Italy on a four-leg (including Atlanta, Newark, Paris, Rome) hop over two days on June 18. (The picture to the left is of Maggie and Griffin eating croissants in Paris.) Our luggage arrived on June 20, minutes before it became June 21. We were on the tarmac of Newark for nearly three hours, missed our connection to Italy, and our luggage apparently stayed behind in Paris for one more go-round of croissant. So in the awe-inspiring monument that is the Collesseum, I'm sporting the lovely "Sky Team" t-shirt that was provided to some of us courtesy of the airport. And, yes, we stunk! When the luggage was delivered, I didn't care what time it was and that we would be getting up somewhat early, I showered and washed and washed and washed. (I would have burned my clothes, but we just gathered them all and put them in the "stinky" bag. I think it could have walked itself back to Utah.) Fortunately, I made sure the kids packed a full set of extra clothes in their backpacks for just such a scenario. I packed a pair of socks and sweatpants. John had nothing.

But really, aside from smelling REALLY bad, we were in Italy! And what's the first thing you do when you're in Italy (after you drop off your, well, lack of luggage at the hotel)? EAT! So we took a moment, then walked with Mom and Dad, Meagan, Seth, Joshua, and Elizabeth to a local eatery where we let Dad wheel and deal our way in, promising we could eat at different tables (the Griesemer clan was already there on their second course or so). And THIS is what we ate, and it doesn't taste anything like Olive Garden.

Griffin ordered the cannelloni, and ate ALL of it. You'll also notice the bottles of water. The come with or without "gas" or carbonation. We would go through probably more water than they ever imagined, but hopefully our water bill made up for the lack of an alcohol bill.

Ellie enjoyed the lasagna, which was huge, and well, looked nothing like lasagna. I think she was able to make it through half of it, which was okay because we all pretty much took a few bites of what we ordered, and then everyone else would dive in to have a taste.

And for dessert, there was panna cotta. This is the richest, most wonderful, unbelievably delicious dessert I may have ever tasted in my whole life. This is Panna Cotte Frutta di Bosca or with forest fruits. In the two days I was there, I had it with caramel (which almost tasted a little burnt), with chocolate (I finished Griffin's), and then white (which was plain). I figure I was sweating and walking it off, so I didn't even feel guilty. Mom has since sent me her recipe and it's pretty darn easy to make. (That's a bad thing!)

We went to this restaurant both nights we were in Rome. (I liked Griffin's cannelloni so much that I ordered it the next night.) This was the family that owned and ran the restaurant standing behind Mom. The momma was so taken with baby Joshua that she would scoop him up as we walked in and use his charms to bring customers in. (This was not an isolated event. Baby Joshua is going to grow up with an Italian accent as each restaurant momma made sure to take time holding and talking to him.) As taken as the momma was with Joshua, Maggie was as taken by Emmanuel, our favorite waiter.

And all this for just the food at our first restaurant!

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