2017 – Rome – Frascati, The Strike, & The Gypsies

To strike or not to strike, that was the question (trains, buses and the underground metro). But really, the question was how many hours to strike? At first it was announced as 24 hours, then 12, then 8, and finally this morning before we left the apartment, we were told 4 hours. We planned on taking the metro to the train to our first destination Frascati.  

Of course the day needed to start with a cafe. I’ve never seen a coffee maker like this one. It works the same as an espresso maker but is such an odd shape. We were able to get three cups out of this pot!

Last train to Clarksville … or Frascati. The strike did happen but didn’t start until 8:30 am – well you know these Italians do things in their own time. We truly did not know what would happen when we showed up at the train station. It was about 8:30 and were told there was one last train going out before the strike started. Antimo talked to the train staff and they let us through without a ticket because they said if we stopped to buy a ticket we would not make it.

So here we are running through the underground metro like in a Monkee’s movie. Antimo is in front of us, checking behind him to make sure we were following…. down another level, run… down another level. (Monkee’s music running in my head as my feet were running.) Is the metro train going in the right direction? That would be important to know! Thank goodness Antimo figured it all out and we jumped on the metro seconds before it took off. We’re off to Frascati!

Along the way we saw a few ruins. I get so caught up in what might have been back in the day when this structure was built, the people who lived in or around it, the politics, etc. 

We arrive in Frascati and guess what greets us? Stairs. Antimo then tells us this is a hilly town. Do you think he was hiding that fact until we got here (especially after yesterday)? By the way, after this section of stairs there was another just like it – so double what you see here – just to get to the town. This is the butt and glute workout portion of our day.

We saw an old man pushing an old woman in a wheelchair up this hill, however, they must have been locals because he was pushing her up the street where the cars go up and down. He knew something we didn’t know. When we got to the top we saw this beautiful monument with these dancing waters and across the street was a promenade lined with trees. 

A very pretty entrance to the city. My guess is that they had to put something appealing for people to see after walking up all those stairs.

After all that exercise, we had to stop for a cafe and treat. Here’s Ricardo’s donut and cappuccino.

A cute little town to walk around. Unfortunately, the view from here to Rome was hazy so while there was probably a great view, not picture worthy. 

I commented to Antimo that the bells that were ringing at this church were slow and melodramatic. He agreed and noticed that there was a funeral taking place, that’s why the bells were ringing slowly. It’s okay that we couldn’t go into this church, I think I’m churched out.

And then, I spotted the most fabulous thing in a store window!Yes, you see this correctly, a 3-breasted woman. We had to buy one (which is a cookie) just because. And the legend behind this is fun.

Even Antimo got into this cookie!

Here is the story in the picture above. Upon more research, it was believed that when the mothers went into the fields to work, they would give their babies to wet nurses who introduced this “third breast with wine” so the babies would be soothed and sleep. Ricardo wanted to know where he could line up for this.

This town has a macelleria (meat market) on every corner and it is known for its porchetta. We scanned the piazza for the best-looking porchetta lunch and settled on a little vendor who had the personality of a slug it turns out. His porchetta did not compare to yesterday’s, but it was good enough to satisfy us for now. 

Lunch today was light and simple. 

We headed back to the train and metro after lunch because the strike was supposed to be over (and it was). 

As we were waiting to get on, these nuns were getting off the train. What do you call a group of nuns – a gaggle or a flock? The Oxford Dictionary says “a superfluity of nuns.” I never knew that, but all indications point to Oxford’s definition. 

When my makeup mirror fell apart – I had a feeling. It didn’t break so I wasn’t too worried about the seven years of bad luck, but….. there was something…..

Getting on the metro (after the train from Frascati) we were pushed by a bunch of gypsies that stole Ricardo’s wallet. His money, credit cards, debit card, driver’s license, yep, they got it all. We were planning on visiting the Spanish Steps and perhaps a little more of Rome, but our first concern was to cancel the credit cards and get some cash (since we now don’t have any credit cards) so we can finish our trip. 

I started calling immediately and was able to get everything canceled and taken care of. All we have left is one debit card – so the bad news is I can’t go shopping on the Ponto Vecchio in Florence (lots of lovely jewelry) and the good news is I can’t go shopping on the Ponto Vecchio in Florence. We no longer have to worry about where Ricardo put his wallet because now I’m the keeper of the cash. Since Antimo has exercised us up and down the hills of Italy for three weeks, I’m pretty sure my thighs of steel will help protect us!

As soon as we got back to the apartment, Ricardo and Antimo went to the store to buy wine. We’re not crying in our beer, we’re weeping in our wine.

Dinner is being cooked and served in the apartment tonight – as you might imagine. Antimo created a pasta dish he is calling “ma porca puttana,” loosely translated means “what the f….” That about describes the end of the day.

Base to the sauce – garlic, peppers, and carrots cooked in olive oil. Minced hamburger meat added, then tomato sauce.  Almost puttanesca with the olives added that were bought at the market when we were in Frascati. Sliced mozzarella added when served (melted into the pasta and sauce). It tasted good, even if we weren’t in the mood to eat.

Tomorrow is another day. 





2 thoughts on “2017 – Rome – Frascati, The Strike, & The Gypsies”

  1. So sorry to hear about the F... Gypsies, they did the same thing to my son when he went to Rome years ago but he chased them and grabbed them and made them give back his money, he was lucky. I have to meet this Antimo he is awesome, tell him that from this Roman woman. Look forward to tomorrow journey. Hugs, Paola
  2. Thanks Paola. It's like taking a punch in the stomach when something like this happens. We have less than a week left so hope this is the worst of it.

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