Felice San Valentino!
The girls of Via Pascarella 12 had a good Valentine's Day. We're in the city that gives romance its name, how could we not? Marina, Shannon and I shared chocolate chip banana pancakes with powdered sugar and honey for breakfast this morning and Marina made me espresso. Then, being the only ones left in the apartment, Marina and I ventured out.
Our first stop was the pyramid so Marina could see it. Then we walked up to La Piazza della Bocca della Verita to see La Bocca della Verita (The Mouth of Truth). We stuck our hands in and took the touristy picture, like everyone in the line. The tradition is if you tell a lie with your hand in the carving's mouth, it will bite your hand off. While we waited in line, newlyweds pulled up to visit the carving and the church where it is located, Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
Then we walked up the Aventino to peek through the most famous keyhole in Rome. In Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, there is a door with two guards and a line of people waiting to peer through the keyhole. Why you ask? Because the view from the keyhole is like magic. You see a row of trees and then an opening which perfectly frames the dome of St. Peter's. It takes your breath away, and the thing is, not many people know about this keyhole. Marina's mom has been to Rome before and told her about it.
Once we got back to the apartment and Ro and Shannon got back we were getting hungry again. Luckily we went grocery shopping this morning so we started making the meal we planned: beef stroganoff and salad. It was so good, even if not traditionally Italian. We did eat our salad last, like they do here. And for dessert we had gelato sundaes with bananas, almonds, and homemade chocolate sauce.
The day didn't stop there, though. Next, Ro, Marina and I decided to go see a romantic movie called Questo Piccolo Grande Amore. The literal translation is "This Small Big Love" but according to Ro, there's not really a way to explain what the title means in English. The film was inspired by a song of the same name by Claudio Baglioni and loosely follows the storyline in the song. Even though it was in Italian, I understood it. I guess I would compare it to Across the Universe, because it was set in the 70s and had a lot of music, etc. It was good, and they even had popcorn there!
And guess what (who, actually) else was there? The one and only Anahel Cimei! We talked on the phone when I got here and have wanted to get together (she's offered to pick me up on her motorino sometime) but haven't been able to see each other because she working on her finals at school. And then tonight at the movie theater we gave our tickets to the girl who I instantly recognized as Miss Anahel. We were so surprised and it was completely random--I had no idea she worked at the movie theater! We couldn't talk long since she was working, but we got to do a little catching up and share the traditional two kisses on the cheeks.
One last thing about the movie: halfway through the screen went black and then the word "intervale" flashed on. The lights came up and a guy came in selling concessions. Yes, Italians have intermissions during their movies! It was just long enough for the guy to sell a few more drinks, and for the Italians to smoke a cigarette, then the movie continued. It was weird, but at the same time I'm really not surprised. Of course they would have an intermission in a movie.
And that was our Valentine's Day. St. Valentine is apparently from Rome, but they don't really pull out all the stops like America does. We saw a few balloons and flowers around town, but other than that they keep it low key, as did we.