20.07.2015 31 °C
I could live here. Amsterdam is a real, live-able city. We mastered the narrow Dutch steps and we nailed crossing the street without getting hit by a car, tram or scooter and we had avoided being angrily ringed at by a bike for at least two days now. (The trick is to look left: bike, left: car, left: tram then tram right, car right, bike right. Warning: Vespas can be anywhere).
I would totally blend like a local, all I have to do is dye my hair blonde, grow 8 inches, don a leather jacket and buy a basketed bike. (Added bonus: there are no hills.)
Like the U.S., Amsterdam has a variety of ethnic cuisines. We ate Javanese and Pho, Moroccan and burgers. Stroopwafel and all-day pancakes are traditional Dutch, as is their love of mayonnaise. It's no Heinz though, they make their own. (I will still pass on the herring, thank you anyway.)
Unlike the U.S. in some ways, the Dutch are tolerant. In Amsterdam, it is not: "this is legal" and "that is illegal", things are not criminalized. Even the Belgians rent out The Netherlands' jail cells. Things are tolerated and society takes social responsibilities.
The sky is constantly changing. Better dress for all weather- bring an umbrella, even if there is not a cloud in the sky. You just never know.
We will take that kooky weather over the hotbox that is Rome. In the matter of a less-than-two-hour flight, we went from 58 degrees to 96. And that is at 5 in the afternoon. Our last European destination is for just one night, solely for cacio e pepe. We will be here less than 24 hours.
Arco del Lauro, our B&B, arranged for a private taxi for us. The Travestere neighborhood is a tangled web of Roman streets and our hotel could be hard to find, so they sent a taxi. Once here, we shed a layer and went for a stroll to get our 10k steps for the day. Of course we checked with Tony's cacio e pepe place first, just to make sure they will be open and see if we could secure a table. Roma Sparita is in Piazza de Cecilia, right around a corner or two from our hotel. The Boss said "open at Sete y mezza - no problem". So, in the meantime, we walked and had a prosecco, and then listened to nuns singing at the square's cathedral.
At last, at the opening minute of 7:30, we were seated and ready to eat, and very happy about that:
We started with a bottle of wine (bianco, of course), antipasti: fried zucchini flowers and rice croquettes, primi (really the centerpiece of the meal):
Cacio e Pepe in a Parmesan crust. Obscene.
Secondi: involitini (beef rolled over veggies in a tomato sauce) dolce: tiramisu.
Limoncello was waiting in our b&b fridge, and we did not want to keep it waiting.