The street vendor I passed today was selling beautiful flowers planted in charming little pots. Each arrangement had been topped with a miniature inflatable soccer ball. I tilted my head and shifted my gaze upward, unconsciously assuming my Confused Lori Thinking Position, and there, hanging above me, was a rainbow lantern in the shape of – you guessed it – a soccer ball. My friends, the World Cup has begun. I started becoming aware of the monstrosity of this event upon my arrival at the grocery store early last week. Flags of various countries were lining the parking lot outside, staff members were decorating every inch of the store inside, and huge banners had been hung over the checkout lanes. They were in Italian of course, but between the numbers, the language’s proximity to Spanish, and the general vibe I had been getting about the World Cup, I figured it out. 50% off if Italy loses the game, 100% off if Italy wins the game. Obviously there is some fine print, and the discounts only apply to certain marked items, but still…Go Italy!
Italy’s first game was against England at midnight on Saturday, and a group of us went to watch the match at a local bar. The atmosphere was contagious and both goals were fantastic. Italy won 2-1. And don’t worry, I took my trusty coupon to the zoo of a grocery store the following day and saved a whopping €0.51 (about $0.70). But hey, that’s like a quarter of a gelato. 3 more wins and I’ll be set.
In between World Cup games, there is much more to see and do! Friday I got to visit Northern Lazio as part of an Art History excursion. We saw Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, enjoyed a lakeside lunch, swam in the volcanic Lake Vico, and soaked in the Bullicame hot springs. Back in Rome, I got to watch the full moon rise from my favorite spot above the city.
Saturday I took the metro out to Repubblica and then wandered through Barberini, Quirinale, and Spagna on my way back to the Residence. I saw Piazza della Repubblica, the Triton fountain at Barberini, the home of the Italian President at Palazzo Quirinale, and various other buildings, churches, columns, and fountains. For every one aggressive Italian, there were three others offering to help me find my way.
When I arrived at Piazza di Spagna, I got cozy at Babington’s Tea Room with a peach tea smoothie. Once I had slurped the last of it through the straw (as politely as one can in a historic tea room), I continued my walk home. I bought pizza from my favorite shop and sat on a bench in my favorite park to eat and watch the kids play – I love that I have favorite places now!
I’m still saving up for my next gelato, but in the meantime I had a Nutella crepe that deserves some kind of an award.
And, back by popular demand – ok, three of my favorite people – the weekly Parking Award!
Assume the Confused Lori Thinking Position as necessary.