“I am in Rome! Oft as the morning ray Visits these eyes, waking at once I cry, Whence this excess of joy? What has befallen me? And from within a thrilling voice replies, Thou art in Rome! A thousand busy thoughts Rush on my mind, a thousand images; And I spring up as girt to run a race!”

Samuel Rogers

Olympians, with their amazing toned bodies and inherent talent, began their competitions today in London.  I, with my amazing appetite and inherent talent for eating, began my pasta consumption today in Rome.

We touched down in Rome at 9am and hitched a ride to The Westin Excelsior, about 45 minutes outside of the city of Rome.

Westin Excelsior Rome

Our hotel is beautiful.  The Westin Excelsior was built in 1906 and has since undergone $7 million in renovations, and it shows.  This hotel is host to celebrities and statesmen.  In fact, as we were checking in to the hotel, the Beach Boys were checking out.  One of the beach boys, I believe the one on the far right as you are looking at this picture below, was sitting at a table looking extremely grumpy and miserable.  He looked unhealthy like he might have a heart attack at any moment (but hopefully not).

Our room is surprisingly big.  It even has a walk in closet!  The décor is very old world.  There is intricate crown molding designs on the ceiling with a crystal chandelier in the center.  All of the furnishings are beautiful antique wood with a marble top. Mi piace un sacco (I like it a lot).

Chris did not throw up on the airplane, but he does have some sort of stomach virus, so I left him to work that out on the bed while I went to find myself some pasta.  I vowed to eat pasta everyday while in Rome, since it is my favorite food, so I started my trip by doing just that.

I ended up at this little place called Café Bruschetta, a few blocks from the Westin.  There was nobody eating there since it was only 11:30am.  A charming young Italian man greeted me by kissing my hand and then he led me to my outdoor table.  I ordered one of my favorite dishes – Pasta Arrabiata – spicy tomato sauce, and a Fanta.  I waiting for a good 20 minutes for my lunch to come out, which was fine because I had nowhere I needed to be.  I did get antsy sitting there after awhile because I am so used to running around waiting on small deliciously cute children at home.  So I just tried to relax and observe my surroundings.

First, a man who looked like either the chef or the owner came out carrying plates, which he walked across the street into another establishment.  He walked out without the plates, but with a half of a loaf of bread. It was a random unimportant event, but it made me chuckle.  The charming young Italian man who was supposed to be the host of Cafe Bruschetta decided he needed an iPod cigarette break.  He planted himself down on a moped and lit up, headphones lodged in his ears.  A minute later a startlingly loud alarm sounded.  Young Italian guy jumps off the moped and goes to stand in the middle of the road like he has no idea why the alarm on the moped is going off.  The chef/owner of Cafe Bruschetta sees the entire event and starts yelling at him.  If I could translate what he probably said it would go something like this:  “heya douche baga.  Whya are you sitting on the mopeda when you are supposed to be working?” (insert eye roll and look of exasperation).  My pasta was very oily but delicious.  Young Italian guy was so excited that I was from California.  He loves the Lakers.  I’ve noticed that wherever I have been in the world, when you tell a foreigner that you are from California, they automatically assume you are you live in Los Angeles.  Young Italian guy kissed my hand again and sent me on my way.  I could definitely get used to that gesture.

We are hoping that Chris wakes up feeling 100 percent on Saturday so we can fully enjoy our Rome experience.  It isn’t the same wandering the streets of Rome with him.  Tonight we will dine at the place that my grandparents met our great friends The Taylors from Australia back in 1975.  I hear there was opera at this restaurant 30 years ago, and I hope that there still is.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.

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Rome Day 1: Pasta Here I Come
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