Yes my friends, it's finally over. My parole is up, the wife and kid are home safe and sound, and things are finally back to normal. More about that tomorrow. For now, I know you have all been waiting for the final Rome recap, so here it is...
When we last left our hero (me), he had had a less than thrilling experience in Bella Roma. So it was that I decided to go back for my last weekend of freedom, which just happened to be a 3 day weekend due to the Memorial Day holiday. I couldn’t leave things that way I did with Rome. I had to make things right. Things got off to a rocky start however. I arrived in Rome to a beautiful sunny day and found my hotel but my room wasn’t ready yet. So instead of freshening up, changing, checking the map and formulating my plan of attack, I had to leave my bag and head out with no discernable plan. When you have no plan, the first thing you do is find the nearest pub. Unfortunately, it was not yet lunch time so none were open. We were starting off on the wrong foot already. I lost my patience. We argued. We fought. I said some things I didn’t mean, Rome said some things she didn’t mean. Things got very tense. Finally I told her, “Let’s just sit down and work this out before one of us says or does something we’ll regret.” She agreed. So we sat and talked calmly and eventually we worked things out. I’m happy to say that Rome and I are fine now. In fact, we’re better than ever.
Roma and I, back together again
Eventually the first pub opened up – the Marconi. I had a pint while I checked the map and worked out every possible combination of how to get the most out of the weekend without killing myself. I decided to eschew the Vatican altogether as it would be too crowded. The main thing for Saturday was to watch the US-England friendly in one of Rome’s pubs so everything else was just to kill time until the match. I wandered around most of the afternoon and just enjoyed my renewed relationship with the Eternal City. Around dinnertime I decided to just relax and save some energy so I grabbed a quick kebab and hit the Druid’s Den. There were only a couple other people in there so I ended up just downing pints and chatting with the bartender, an Irish girl with a really cool name; I don’t know how to spell it, but it’s pronounced “Neev”. Eventually the match came on so I grabbed a seat and watched the US play like a bunch of journeymen. At the start of the second half, some guy came in and changed the channel right as the match was being played. I asked him what the hell he was doing and he ignored me, so I paid my tab and left for the Fiddler’s Elbow a couple streets over. This was inexplicably packed with a bunch of Americans. I chatted with a few of them and eventually the US actually pulled back a goal. They ended up losing 2-1, miraculous considering how bad they played. By the time the match ended, the place was crawling with American tourists, many of them college students. I even met a girl from South Boston named Alex – not Alice! Alex. We traded some Boston stories and eventually I took off. I decided to end the first night early and got back to the hotel around 2AM. The next day was rife with sightseeing. I decided to explore the Trastevere area of Rome, something I’d always wanted to do. The Trastevere area is sort of like Rome’s “Bohemian” area. It was quiet, tranquil, and even a bit quaint. On the way I did a detour to the Campidoglio, which offers the best view of the ruins of what used to be the Forum.
The Forum Ruins
You can even walk right down into them if you so choose. The Campidoglio itself is gorgeous, something you shouldn’t miss if you go to Rome (Interesting side note for Europeans – the Campidoglio is represented on Italy’s 50 cent Euro piece). Upon leaving Trastavere, I added Mad Jack’s to my list of Rome Pubs.
The afternoon was spent having lunch right in front of the Pantheon, which is probably my favorite of the Ancient Roman monuments. The view and the cuisine combined to make it the perfect Rome experience:
The view I enjoyed while eating lunch. A classic Rome moment.
After the Pantheon, I’d decided I’d done enough sightseeing and hit the Bulldog Pub, formerly the John Bull Pub. I was distressed to find that the only beers on tap were Slalom Strong (Yuck), Foster’s (Double Yuck), and Beamish (Better). I tried the Beamish and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t as good as a Guinness, but it was better than a Murphy’s, so I decided to stay. I ended up spending the rest of the night there, drinking pints of Beamish, writing out postcards, poring over the map, chatting with the Swedish bartender, and meeting people from all over Europe. English, Irish, Australians, Belgians, it was a veritable melting pot of international culture. At one point, I even got behind the tap.
A new career on my hands?
The final night in Rome ended around 3 AM as I stumbled back to the hotel. I left for home early the next day to prepare for the imminent arrival of my wife and kid. Had to give the house a quick once over and make it look somewhat presentable.
And just like that, my 6 week parole was over. It was a fitting weekend to end on. There were some crazy things that happened, but decorum prevents me from giving details. You’ll just have to use your imagination. I had a good run: 2 Venice Pub Crawls, Bologna, Amsterdam, Geneva, Lausanne, and Rome twice. But alas, the run is over.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.
If you’d like to check out the pics from this trip to Rome, Click Here.