I don’t know why, but 33 degrees in Rome last week felt like someone had dragged me into the pit of hell. There’s some point where I just totally lose it when it comes to heat. I thought I had everything under control – careful use of umbrellas, stepping into the air-conditioned apartment or shop when needed, drinking lots of water, etc. But on the last morning before I left, I walked around outside for about two hours – last minute shopping – and ended up back at my aunt’s hotel absolutely dripping. And not in a sexy steamy shimmery way, instead sporting more of a drowned poodle look.
I could relate to this sign which we ran into during sightseeing.
Yeah, that’s me on the right. At least during dinner, when drinking wine and wondering why they couldn’t turn the air-conditioning up a notch. 😉
Despite this, we had a good time. I just had to think back to Singapore and realize that *nothing* is that bad. The tours were great – our guide was great – it was amazing how she packed in a whole eight hours of the Colosseum, the Forum, Trevi Fountain, etc. without making us lose our marbles from the heat and crowds. My aunt Sue very generously sponsored that part of the trip along with all the lovely dinners we had with her and my cousin.
Yes, Rome is PACKED with tourists during the summer. I really look forward to going back sometime in the late fall or early winter, when the city is more of just an amazing city and less of a tourist destination.
Here we are, somehow reasonably sweat free after an hour walk in the evening to The Forum – before our official tour. It was wonderful to walk around for a weekend even before my aunt arrived and we did the tours just to see the architecture and try the food for a few days. Experience it without the official learning part first.
The Colosseum had just been cleaned in the past year or so – and the grey/black soot was gone from must of the facade. In the early evening sunset it glowed orange and gold, as did much of the city.
Inside, a few days later, we braved the heat and had a look at the huge space that used to hold up to 70 thousand people at a time to watch the fights and the spectacles. Can you imagine the wonderful odor of the crowd watching the games during the summer? Ummmmm…..
Two of the best things we ate? Well artichokes were everywhere. In the Jewish quarter during lunch we ordered the “jewish” artichocke preparation – essentially just a deep-fried artichoke that was amazingly crispy and salty and oily in a frech-fry kind of way.
And even better that that was a seafood pasta with fresh shaved truffles that we found and ordered in a little trattoria near the apartment we stayed in. It competed with *the best pasta I have ever eaten* near Milan some years ago, coming close but not topping it.
I’m back home now, and the heatwave has followed us, although it’s far more tolerable here, and not as hot.
But I still wanted something cool and refreshing for dinner tonight so I went with a spicy raw fish bibimbap that I love. Chopped vegetables, steamed rice, raw fish, and a delicious garlicky sauce all come together in this yummy creation.
The recipe is from Maangchi – the little Korean YouTube sensation. The link takes you to her simple 8-minute video where you too can learn how to make this dish, called Hoedeopbap 회덮밥.
As long as you have the ingredients for the sauce on hand, the whole thing comes together in about 30 minutes – the time it takes to make the rice.
Cool, refreshing and filling with both the rice and the fish, it’s more than a salad, but light enough that you walk away from the table without feeling like you need a nap.
Next trip begins in about a week and a half, although I’m not yet sure where I am being sent. Around Germany, from what I hear. Stuttgart and…? No idea. Hoping to stay cool.