Helle kills the alarm clock at 6.35. When she emerges from the shower, I have managed to put on my glasses. I didn't sleep well - woke up with nausea during the night and I'm not very lively now. Only my stomach is. Could it be last night's mussels? - One must be careful in this heat.
Breakfast includes no yoghurt today and I settle for coffee. Helle eats heartily of the tough rolls and the nauseous cheese. Oh, a horse and a kingdom for a glass of orange juice.
The plan for today is to visit Castel Sant'Angelo, and we catch the Metro to Lepanto. Maybe it had been wiser to take a bus, because it is a long walk through a desert of banks and office buildings. But we find an oasis, a fruit shop, and I buy an apple and a peach. My stomach has cried out for this all morning, and the fruit is consumed in the green centre of Piazza Cavour.
Even though it is just a few minutes past 9, the sun is blazing. We buy tickets and inspect the citadel, which was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian.
Since then it has served as fortress and refuge for popes, when times were hard. It is believed that the papal stronghold is in Hadrian's tomb, and the ancient treasure chest is huge.
It is so big that it cannot possibly have passed through the door, so either the room must have been built around it or it must have been assembled on the spot.
There are many halls and rooms. Angles of every kind dominate the fresco paintings. On the top, right under the Arch Angel Michael, is a roof terrace with an extraordinary view. However the heat is also extraordinary up here, closer to the sun.
Click to enlarge
On our way back to the Metro we find the cat shop on Via Federico Cesi. It sells all kind of things that might tempt cat lovers - except live cats. We shop and have a coke in a bar with air condition.
We have considered going to Frascati tomorrow, and at Termini we check the ticket machine. It speaks more languages than your average Italian and is quite easy to operate. We have a panino in our room and watch CNN. An Israeli fighter helicopter has - most likely in self-defence - sent missiles against a car in Gaza. The Hamas leader in the car survived, but several passers-by were less fortunate.
I visit the Internet café in Via Urbano and write to my friends. Via Urbano has many small shops, and opposite the Internet café a cabinet-maker is working in his shop. The door is open to the street, where cabinet-mamma and cabinet-grand-mamma sit where they can look left and right and not miss anything.
Evening in Trastevere
Later we go directly to our wine bar in Trastevere. We have switched from Greco di Tufo to Frascati. Frascati has more acidity and is better in the heat. We sit immobile except when I order a second round. The stocky woman in black goes home, and around 8 we take a walk on the south side of Viale Trastevere.
Trastevere is usually quieter at weekdays, but even so it is more peaceful on this side. Restaurant Vincenzo alla Lungaretta looks cosy, but a Danish couple is arguing loudly at one of the tables. We pass in haste on behalf of the nation.
Trattoria La Villetta - good, and well hidden
Life is enjoyed in Vicolo del buco
without much disturbance
In a crooked alley, Vicolo del buco, we find a cosy restaurant, "La Villetta de Gino la Rocca". Vicolo del buco isn't even marked on my map. You find it by walking east along Via della Lungaretta.
The first street on your right hand side after Viale Trastevere opens to a small square called Piazza del Drago. After a few metres and to the right, just past the colourful tourist-restaurant "Pantino-something", lies Vicolo del buco.
Prices here are very modest, and several local guests is promising. Helle has Spaghetti alla Carbonara and I Spaghetti Pomodoro (tomato sauce) - huge portions and very good. The main course is Abbachio al Forno: roasted lamb with potatoes.
The meat is served with many bones and cannot compete with the succulent lamb we had in 2001 at "La Cisterna", but it is tender, tastes good, and maybe it is more authentic than the luxurious variation at La Cisterna. Even so, we are not able to eat it all and have no room for dessert.
For all this we are billed 32 Euros. The staff is polite and considerate, and Papa himself shuffles around keeping an eye on things. If something displeases him he barks an order, and his daughter (?) or the young waiter obeys immediately.
We are seconds too late for the tram. We wait patiently for the next, but after half an hour we begin to wonder - normally they leave much more frequently. We suspect problems with the electricity, because now 2 buses appear on the tram rails showing the tram's number (8).