Lifestyle/ Travel

Koula heads off to Rome

Koula, 94.7 presenter and F&HE blogger, is loving all things food-related in her travels through Turkey, Greece, Italy and Israel…

Thursday 6 September

I think I might be in the most incredible place in the world right now! Am completely in love with Rome!

We caught a late-morning flight out from Athens to Rome for our 48-hour adventure. No translator, no tour guide, no concrete agenda – a welcome change after the last three weeks. My husband had booked accommodation online two days before and seeing as we’d been warned about how uninformed tourists are taken advantage of in Rome, we proceeded to the information desk at the airport to find out the best way to get to Ostia Antica (the town where our B&B was located). Relieved to find out that the regional bus line would take us there for about two euros, the next challenge was to find the ticket office. After several staff members pointed in the direction of the ‘office’ and an hour later, we were told that the tobacco shop sold the bus tickets. We must’ve walked past it at least 10 times and there were no signs on the window to advertise ticket sales but we were glad we’d found it at last!

The bus took us into Ostia (next to Ostia Antica) and we took a cab from there to the B&B. As we stepped out of the cab, the exquisite fragrance of confectioner’s custard welcomed us and, much to my delight, I realised our tiny B&B was above a bakery! This was a very good start! There were several delivery trucks outside the bakery, transporting delectable pastries across Rome and the part of the bakery open for local customers operates 24 hours a day. Bliss!

After a short rest, we explored Ostia Antica – fascinated by the large castle that was just a few hundred meters away, then watched the locals play soccer and restaurants slowly set up for business (South Africans do seem to eat dinner a lot earlier than many other nations!). We walked to the Metro station, just a few blocks away and took the tube to Colosseo, thinking that there’d be plenty of signs pointing us in the right direction of the Colosseum. To our amazement, as we exited the Metro station, the enormous, magnificent Colosseum was right across the road! What a sight to be greeted with!

I was on a mission to have an Italian risotto and we had to walk a few blocks before finding a restaurant that didn’t just serve pizza or pasta. We eventually found a cosy restaurant that offered shrimp risotto as well as a spectacular view of the Colosseum and savoured the sight along with a glass of wine. I was so glad we weren’t working in Rome and could just enjoy ourselves! Sadly I wasn’t blown away by the risotto – they’d used regular rice and it was quite soggy but the tiramisu I’d ordered for dessert was the best I’d ever had! My husband ordered chocolate ice cream and it was the most delicious we’d ever tasted too – dark, creamy and perfect! And then… cappuccino! I’m a bit of a coffee addict and throughout our time in Turkey and Greece, if you didn’t enjoy the local, strong shots of coffee and you ordered the western version (simply called ‘Nescafe’ in both countries, regardless of what make they were actually serving you), you’d be in luck if they had milk to serve it with. It generally came standard with coffee creamer – not my favourite. So to savour a real cappuccino rounded off the night perfectly!

We took the tube back to our snug little room and were welcomed by that delicious custard aroma once again. I am a very happy girl tonight!

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