It’s been a whole long while since I last wrote here, and it was about food! It doesn’t seem like I was gone for a long time, though, since I’d been primarily active on my beauty blog. This has occupied most of my online writing time, and I don’t know if that is unfortunate, or sad, or anything else to you, but I think that it’s just an inevitable turn since I have acquired this weird, nerdy obsession with cosmetics.
I haven’t stopped taking pictures, though.
These are from about ten days ago, when we went to karaoke after an awesome dinner at El Cirkulo. Typing these words out, I wonder if there is a point to taking pictures of these silly moments, or if I should just let them run their course in my head. This hazy picture is what memories often end up looking like, anyway.
Deep down, I think I like memorializing things, though. Even if it’s in the form of hastily-written blog posts or pictures that don’t have anything to do with one another. Even if it’s about a tiny karaoke night at a place where the videos don’t even have words you can sing along to.
On another note, this is only funny in a you-had-to-be-there kind of way, but me with two of my “team mates” for The Manila Review, which is now online!
After St. Peter’s Basilica, we had lunch at a Place Which Must Not Be Named Because Their Food is Atrocious. Please not the displeasure on my sister’s face. This was the only pizza in Italy that I can say I did not want to eat again. Yech.
After lunch, we went to Castel Sant’Angelo or Castle Saint Angel. I’m not really sure what it was supposed to be, but at some point, it was meant to be someone’s very, very large tomb. Apparently, this is where Popes often took shelter in during war times, which doesn’t make very much sense to me because then the attacking parties would know where you were hiding now, wouldn’t they?
Apparently, this castle was also famous for the instruments of torture it held in its prisons. Of course, it figures that I never saw those. There was an exhibit, but in true Italian fashion, we were not allowed to take pictures.
The girl on the far right had an LC-A+, too! And she looked a lot like and had the same vibes as Winona Ryder. Being the semi-creeper that I am, here is a photograph of her back. I didn’t want to sneak a photo of her face because then she would know exactly what I was doing.
Thank goodness for the view of the small but lovely garden that surrounds it…
… and of beautiful Rome.
While we were resting in the shade, these two people came along to look at the view, dressed from head to toe as though they were from a forgotten era. I know girls like to do that whole vintage look thing, but I had never encountered a couple who both liked dressing up like so. It’s a pity they were standing against the light; it was so cute.
Outside, there were a lot of posing tourists and street performers.
And then we had to stop by that gelateria near the apartment that we rented out. This time, I tried latte menta granite, which was amazing. I figured I could go around anywhere in Italy and get this, but I was wrong. And now I regret not going back to get more!
But, a silver lining to everything: there was a cute car parked right in front of where we had been sitting, in the exact color as my Italian ice.
To shake off the feeling of displacement that I’ve illustrated here, here’s a post about where I ate yesterday. Which is: Ukokkei Ramen Ron, an almost cult-ish ramen haven for ramen nuts! It closed down for a while, but now it’s back in business, and would you believe it was both mine and Sarie‘s first time to eat there last night?
We got the Tantanmen ramen (Php 390), which is one of their more “special” items. I don’t really know what that means, but it’s not on the menu (it’s on the wall) and it sure tastes special. The broth is thick, flavorful and rich, and the noodles were superb. Sarie and I are doing splitsies now because of mutual weight gain, but the serving was more than enough. We had the gyoza as well, but it’s nothing worth noting.
The ramen, though. You must try it at some point in your life. Judging from the color of the broth, I’m thinking they used a lot of la-yu, the sesame chili concoction that I eat with everything. The waitress said it was a mix of miso and sesame, so you can imagine the potential party in your mouth.
On another note, I don’t know if it’s notable or anything, but I’m going to say it anyway. I’ve decided to try something different! No, it is not to dress in a manner that will make me more likely to be assaulted on public transport, but just to dress “better.” Of course, I don’t know if it is actually better in an objective way, but hey look—color!
My clothes are from Primark, which is a super cheap, kind of trendy apparel chain in London. I don’t normally like wearing rompers because it makes me feel like a giant baby, but I liked this one a lot, even though it takes quite a long process to um, pee. I also love this sweater, because duh, it is trés cool. My headscarf is from a super cute Etsy store, Chichi Dee, which is also based in London.
Meet my cute watch! I got it in Venice, and though I don’t normally wear watches with faces this big anymore, I am quite enamored with it. It’s by Fullspot and the idea is you can mix and match the straps and the faces to suit your personality and mood. Apparently, they’ve started selling these babies in RONAC last month, so I have to check out which colors I can get from here in Manila, because I only got one other watch strap (a grey-white). I checked the price point and it doesn’t seem to be that big of a difference. I’ve got my eye on some of the animal print faces.
For kicks, Sarie has captured how I apparently look like when we eat together:
And to end, please please please grab a copy of the October issue of both Rogue and Preview, on account of well, me!
Preview has included me in their Creative It List for 2012, which I think was awfully nice of them. :) The photo was taken by Everywhere We Shoot, and the words were written by the wonderful Karen Bolilia. Thanks to both of you, as well as the Preview editors and the rest of the Preview team.
And! My first contribution to Rogue’s Columns section, which is on the Golden Age of Television and why we (the Philippines) are not a part of it. Thank you to Clinton Palanca for helping me out on this one. Snaps for Paulina Ortega, my seatmate for all of (college) eternity, for putting my words into pictures.
I would appreciate it if you guys grabbed a copy of these issues because they are both quite special things to me. That said, Arrivederci! I shall see you all in my next installment of The Great European Backlog of 2012.
I’ve been trying to upload and edit my pictures as diligently as possible—to no avail. It doesn’t help that my connection speed has been akin to a snail’s. I got back fourteen rolls of film, though (3, I have yet to have processed) and I’ve scanned them all. I guess I should try to find the time to do that, too.
In any case, it’s been a high stress situation, being back. Something I’ve decided to remedy by vegging out while reading bad YA lit, and super-cramming everything
We started our Roman holiday by alighting from the metro, thinking we were two minutes away from our rented apartment’s street—only to find out that we were not. Rome’s underground rail covers only a little bit of the city. The quickest way to get to our new home was to cross the entire Vatican City, dragging our luggage on the cobblestones. As unpleasant as the experience was on our arms and fingers, Rome, at least, offered a spectacular view.
We settled in, had spectacular pizza (!) and a new dish my mom discovered made from Bresaola (dried beef), rocket salad, and shaved parmesan. The next day, we planned to conquer the Vatican Museum and to see, of course, the Sistine Chapel.
We crossed St. Peter’s Square everyday, to get to the central places, as well as the Roman underground.
Space invader! I saw one in Montmartre, Paris as well, near the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
I think Rome might have my favorite trees. Check these ones out, lining the first floor wall of the Vatican Museum.
They have such wonderful mosaic floors, too.
There was a room dedicated to maps. It was quite thrilling to see people who made these partly from imagination, as there had been no cameras to take accurate pictures of land and water at the time.
I had no idea that Raphael’s “The School of Athens” was going to be there! I walked into one of the rooms, which was adorned in the style that was typical of this Museum. Then, I turned around, and there it was! I love this fresco; we talked quite a lot about it in school.
A bigger surprise: a series of Matisse!
We finally reached the crowning jewel—the Sistine Chapel. It was so breathtaking, I actually thought I was going to cry. The last restoration was conducted between 1980 and 1994, which reportedly made the colors really pop. Prior to the restoration, the chapel was dark and badly cracked. Imagine being part of that restoration team! I suppose it would have been exhilarating but frightening as well.
Technically, you weren’t allowed to take pictures, but of course no one listened.
The exit by the post office was an enormous spiral staircase and a thing of beauty. My dad wanted a picture, but we couldn’t time it properly without other people passing.
We had pizza from a random place called Pizzeria Rustica (near the Ottaviano stop), which created personal delusions of how any random place in Rome had great pizza. Lots of places had excellent pizza, but you could luck out and eat at a bad one—which we did. Here, you pointed to your chosen variety, they cut it for you, and charged by weight.
The crust is a bit thicker than typical Roman pizza (they like their crusts thin!) but it was delightfully crispy and burnt in some parts.
We took the underground to the Spanish Steps, which as you can see, a lot of tourists also wanted to see. I don’t exactly understand the fuss, but my brother said it was a big deal because it connected the Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Trinità dei Monti. It is also the widest staircase in Europe.
This fountain, the “Fountain of the Old Boat,” was thought to have been made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s less famous dad, Pietro Bernini.
We walked to Fontana di Trevi from Piazza di Spagna, and I can’t seem to find the name of this statue (monument?), but we all loved looking at it.
It is said that if you throw a coins into the Trevi Fountain and drank water from it, you would come back to Rome. I didn’t see the later part and just threw in a bunch of coins, so I guess my Roman future is still up in the air.
Apparently, around 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain everyday and it’s being used to subsidize a supermarket to feed Rome’s needy. I wonder if there are enough coins thrown into the Trevi Fountain, in total, to get Italy out of debt.
A lady sitting in the Pantheon. I don’t know why, but I expected to see a lot of Renaissance renditions of old pagan gods and goddesses in the Pantheon, but I did not.
Accordion player at Piazza Navona.
Piazza Navona is a city square that’s flanked by three fountains, the center one (called “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” or “The Fountain of the Four Rivers”) made by my one of my favorite sculptors, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. I learned quite late that my favorite work of his are housed at the Galleria Borghese, which requires pre-booked reservations, so I’m happy I got to see this fountain, at least. It’s supposed to represent the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and the Platte—great rivers of territories or continents where papal authority had spread.
Lady in the window. Tomorrow, the Colosseo!
With nothing left to do (Musée d’Orsay, Versailles and the Catacombs were closed that day) after finishing our itinerary for the day on the previous day, we set out to do some things within the city. We passed by the Opéra national de Paris.
I was looking forward to having a meal at Maison dela Truffe, to which my mom accompanied me. The food was alright, though I suspect that I should have ordered dishes with the black truffles, instead of the seasonal ones. The servings were really big, too; I think we ought to have shared.
We reconvened after an hour and decided to go around Montmarte, since we didn’t get to go around the last time we were around the area.
That’s when we found a great view of the Sacred Heart Basilica. Nearby was the Dali exhibit, which was sort of like a rehash of the exhibit I saw with my brother and Sarie in Singapore. Not a lot of paintings, mostly prints, drawings and sculptures. There was an awesome short film made up of a couple of clips of Dali, though.
With nothing else in mind, we ended up looking for Café des 2 Moulins, which is the cafe at which Amelie Poulain worked. The road to the cafe—a winding, downhill trek along Rue Lepic—was pleasant. I saw a lot of houses and I wondered what it was like to live there. We got a little bit lost as the street curves sharply to the right.
Café des 2 Moulins (or the Café of the Two Windmills) was, as expected, incredibly quaint, though I don’t know if I would go there regularly if I lived in Paris.
I wish they had kept the original interiors.
They named their crème brûlée after Amélie. It was alright.
We ended the day early and went home after that coffee, as we had a big day the next day—Château de Versailles!
We began our first Sunday morning away from home in Paris with a visit to Porte de Vanves. Porte de Vanves is a flea market open only on Sundays. Although I was assigned to research on Italian places, I couldn’t resist taking a peek at what Paris had to offer. I was pleased to see that we would be around for this.
We didn’t really know how to get there from the station, but we noticed a steady stream of people going in one direction, so we followed them, et voila! We found the flea market!
The market has a fascinating mix of offerings, from furniture to vintage trinkets like these rubber stamps. I guess, as they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. I imagine it would be a much more exciting experience if I were someone who just moved to Paris in search of better furniture. As a visitor, I only had room (and funds) for small items.
There was a fun mix of jewelry, old photos and vintage bottles and such. I got the blue and yellow ring in the picture above. See if you can spot it. :)
We had to leave because the market closes at 12:30, after which we tried to go to the Catacombs, which was unfortunately closed because of some problems. We didn’t want to risk being stuck underground, so we went to the Centre Georges Pompidou, which had a Richter exhibit up.
It was a pretty long day, but here’s just a peek of our morning! We’re currently in Florence now, which is sort of the middlemark of our trip. For the record, I think I love it in Firenze the most.