For our last day together in Rome our good friends John and Jess had organised one last jaunt which involved my absolute favourite subject in any country: Food. A walking food tour of Roman specialities to be exact.
We met up with our Eating Italy tour guide and group in Testaccio, the original foodie neighborhood of Rome. Eating Italy’s mission is to showcase local, established family run businesses whose authenticity and passion for their craft is unsurpassed. I don’t want to spoil their tour, as they have worked hard to establish relationships with these businesses but I’ll give you a little peek with the photos below! At the start of the tour though they give you a flyer and map outlining all the spots as well as extra recommendations so you can come back to explore on your own.
At every stop (all nine of them) there’s a chance to chat directly with the owners themselves who are more than happy to explain subtle differences and feed you titbits (as if you weren’t stuffed already!).
We ate our way through antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno and dolce of famous Roman dishes and products, even visiting a fresh food market and a couple of nearby local landmarks.
My favourite stop was at a gorgeous restaurant where the whole group sat down family style on one big long table, while huge platters of three kinds of pasta (carbonara, cacio e pepe and amatriciana) were passed around along with jugs of local red and white wine. This is not the last stop though, there was more food after this.
In Rome there are thousands of gelato shops, and not all are equal, so be sure to research before you go. We learnt that you pay by cup/cone size and it is always assumed you will have two flavours, even in the smallest size. Also proper gelato places should offer you complimentary fresh whipped cream (con panno) to go with your scoops. Exercise your rights!
The last few hours together was spent a little more subdued, with us trying to return the favour by testing out what we had learnt in our miniature AirBnB kitchenette.
A for effort, John says. Some final taste-testing in the form of pasta, olives and cheese accompanied our goodbyes as John and Jess flew home to Sydney. Our Schengen visa was fast running out and after some calculations we realised that our Italy time was closing as well. Trying to rush through all the cities we wanted to see wouldn’t do them justice so we picked an EasyJet out to our next destination: England. But not before one last pasta and gelato (with con panno!).
To get our bikes on the plane we had to beg two bike boxes from local bike stores. Bike stores receive their stock in bike boxes and usually have a couple by the rubbish bins which they are happy give us. We got lucky with the first one with a bike shop down the street but the other induced a nerve-wracking cross-city sprint the morning of our flight.
After stomping all the edges flat, securing them with occy straps and making sure we had extra cardboard, packing tape and markers we were ready to ride out to the airport.
Fiumicino Airport is small and crowded and there was no quiet spot to break the bikes and our panniers down so we just found a bit of space outside, trying to keep things as neat as we could, and began! No one bothered us and people sat right up next to our bench.
Then it was off to check in our panniers and send the bike boxes through Oversized Luggage (being EasyJet we did have to arrange for extra luggage costs when we bought the tickets online).
Bags and boxes away there was nothing left to do but lounge about till our flight!
Daily Costs for 6 Days:
(We tossed our budget out the window for this, but we had saved up a buffer while in Croatia.)
Sightseeing/Food tours: €264
New Bar Tape for Suyin: €25
New Bike Shoes for Cleave: €95
Replacement Clothing: €59.73
Flights to London: €313.12
Miscellaneous Items to Pack Bikes: €9.80
Average per day: €223.32/$338.27AUS