From Caius Cestius' Pyramid to the centre
The bus to the pyramid departs from Via Cavour just a few metres from the hotel. Reading the timetable Helle suspects that the bus is not in service on Sundays = "giorni festivi". I argue that Sunday cannot possibly be a day for festivity, but it is: An elderly gentleman with an even older dog stops and informs us kindly that the bus does not go on Sundays.
Instead we go to Termini and catch the metro. Even on a Sunday it is crammed. Most leave the train with us at the pyramid, Piazza Ostiense.
Click to enlarge
Actually it is funny with a pyramid in Rome. The city has several original Egyptian obelisks stolen in Egypt by the ancient Romans, but this pyramid was not taken. It is only 36 metres high and is the tomb of Caius Cestius and not a pharaoh.
Apart from the name, nothing much is know much about him. According to an inscription it took no less than 330 days to build the tiny pyramid in white marble.
Next to the pyramid, just outside the old city wall, lies the Protestant cemetery. It seems closed and abandoned, but on the wall are some memorial tablets.
Walking along the Tiber
Walking westwards along the old city wall we pass some villas and then one apartment block after the other until we reach the Tiber. On the other side is Trastevere. We walk alongside the river. In many windows are rainbow-coloured flags with the word: "PACE", peace. Public resentment against the war in Iraq is still strong here.
The weather is beautiful though still getting hotter, and as man needs more than water we turn right, away from the river in search of something else than apartment blocks. Sure enough, we pass more than one bar with empty tables in the sun before we find a bar in the shade next to a supermarket.
Here we get espresso and water and free entertainment from Mammas and Grand mammas chatting along while enjoying their pre or post shopping coffee. It is no more than a few kilometres from the city centre and there are no tourists (except us, that is!) and the prices are accordingly: 2 espressi for 1.40 Euro with free tap-water - at Piazza Navona this amount would only buy you a few drops.
We continue along the Tiber towards the city centre. It is now very hot and I feel a stinging sensation between the two large muscles on my lower back: the friction and the heat have combined to create sore skin in this delicate place.
There is an oasis in the Argentina Square. The waitress is extremely slow and looks very tired and no wonder: she takes many unnecessary steps, which is exhausting in the heat.
The old Romans did not know of the wheelbarrow, however they did know how to use both hands at the same time and how to make use of a tray. Her colleague seems brighter when he arrives.
At a bar near Termini we get a panino for lunch. The air is very humid and in the distance we hear rumbling from dark clouds. Regretfully the quenching rain stays in the mountains.
Strolling - and supper at Hosteria Gli Angeletti
Tonight we don't bother to dine in Trastevere. This is partly due to my sore behind. Instead we have spotted a local pizzeria. But alas, it is closed for the Sunday so we continue down Via Urbana (a road parallel to Via Cavour) until we find a cosy bar where we can enjoy an open air-espresso.
Not far from here, in Via Dell'Angeletto, we find Hosteria Gli Angeletti, which looks inviting. However it is too early and too hot to eat. So we go around the corner at Hotel Duca d'Alba, where we find a Finnegan Scottish/Irish pub. There are a few tables outside and lots of space inside.
Smoking is not allowed inside, so everybody is outside where we take the last free table outside on the pavement. It sounds as if all the other guests are English and Americans.
Most of the guests at the table next to ours are English. The men will probably contribute to the refinement of the special English hooligan-gene.
Most of the girls behind us are Americans. You can hear that not only by the accent, but also by their voices frequently hitting the high notes:
"I tell you, it was the most [up 2 octaves] beauuuutiful [down 2 octaves] thing I have ever seen. [Up 2 octaves] Eeever!!!".
Why do some American women speak this way - like slow yodelling? American men don't and neither do European women. I am just not used to it and wonder why and how this vocal culture emerged.
Quite early - at a quarter to eight - we are among the first guests at Gli Angeletti, which is good because we are able to get a table. It is not getting any cooler, and only when the waiter rushes past a breeze is created.
We have Spaghetti Carbonara, and as second course Helle chooses thin slices of red Angus beef with leeks in Gorgonzola-sauce. I have fillet of rabbit in a spicy sauce of tomato, olives, capers and Balsamico vinegar. We share a salad and a house red.
Click to enlarge
The food is delicious. The two waiters are extremely busy and obviously very hot. The oldest takes off his waistcoat, but junior is not allowed such liberties. They are so busy bringing food out that it is almost impossible to persuade them to bring the bill, but eventually they do and we wobble home full to the brim.
(P.S. We revisited in 2010. Maybe the place has got new owners - it was very disappointing, and we'll not return.)