An Urban Adventure
Before we go any further here, I want you to be sure to understand what the lesson of this tale is. We all know that if you are going out hiking, no matter how long you plan to be gone, you should bring plenty of extra food and water. This is ALSO TRUE when looking for somewhere to eat lunch in the middle of the day in August in Rome.
I almost died of starvation and thirst yesterday. (Well, that might be an exaggeration …) Saturday was Ferragosto – which is a huge Italian holiday. Everyone leaves the city to go on vacation, including all the shop owners. And those who don’t leave the city hide in their homes lest any of their neighbors see them and find out that they did not, in fact, go on vacation. (Leave aside the amusing facts that if both you, and your neighbor who sees you are in the city, then clearly neither of you are on vacation.)
At any rate, we left home around 1ish, having not eaten since breakfast, in search of food. It was ridiculously hot, we are in a hilly neighborhood, and EVERYTHING was closed. No tabacchi, no news stands, no hairdressers, no bars, no restaurants. EVERYTHING.
We found a Best Western, stopped in and asked if they knew of a restaurant that was open. She said yes, gave us a map, and showed us how to walk 3 blocks to a restaurant that was open. It was not open.
I wish I had had my camera, because I got my hopes up once when I saw a sign that said “Bar d'(street we were on) number 39 (address right next to 37, where we were) will be open ALL of August”. I’m sure you can guess, that Bar D'(street we were on) was not, in fact, open.
We sat down in front of the closed restaurant and decided to reevaluate our map, and plan to get out alive. We decided to turn and head back towards home. We had some peaches, cereal, milk, and a faucet full of water that would provide a lovely meal.
As can be expected, we finally found the oasis once we had given up hope. One Bar (more of a snack bar). With 5 sad-looking sandwich halves. and plenty of huge bottles of water. We ate sad tomato/tuna sandwiches on the side of the road, where the mosquitos feasted on us. Having regained the energy to move, we came upon the mecca – a grocery store. A HUGE ONE. It’s actually good that we had already eaten, because I’m pretty sure I was so desperate, that I would have just laid my head down in the pile of grapes and started eating whatever I could reach with my tongue.
We stocked up on essentials to last us through the rest of the weekend that everyone had warned us about. We lived to tell our tale, but remember – in august in Rome, you can never count on food outside the tourist center – bring plenty of food and water!