If you ever want a multitude of opportunities to train your dog to leave it, come to Rome. At least in the Vatican area the streets and especially St. Peter’s Square are covered in various colours and flavours of gelato. Pearl is pretty good at leave it and drop it but the last few days have been very hard on her. Everywhere we go there are enticing blogs of sweet, dirty, milky, doggy goodness just waiting for her to lick them up. I wonder if Roman dogs get used to it and just don’t bother with licking up those globbs after awhile? Pearl has become quite Roman in one aspect. There are almost no grassy areas or even dirt areas in room except at the Colosseum but I’ll come back to that later, so she has learned to poop wherever, just as other Roman dogs do. This includes shop doorways! I was horrified until I noticed that doorways seem to be a favourite spot for many dogs to go. Although I do admit that when dogs go in doorways their owners usually clean it up which is not necessarily the case if they go next to a building or on the side of the road.
I also watched them dismantle the nativity scene and cut down the Christmas tree which was so big they had to chop it into logs before they could take it away. That was our early morning walk so Pearl could do her business in front of the Basilica. I’m sure St. Peter didn’t mind.
I took some of the worst video ever at St. Peter’s Square this morning. I wanted to send it to my mom but it’s difficult to juggle a dog and a phone, plus I’m really not used to a selfie stick so a lot of the video is of the ground. It was supposed to be a panorama of the square. Oh well it’s all good. My mother apparently liked it. Although, since she’s not fully lucid anymore I don’t know if that is saying much. The pope was chatting about something on the big screens they have around the square, but unfortunately my Italian was not good enough to figure out what he was talking about. I don’t think it was a mass. He chatted for a bit and then this younger guy whose pictures are everywhere, one day I’ll figure out who he is, would chat for a while and then the pope would come back and talk for a bit, then the younger guy, next a cardinal and on and on it went.
Once again it was very cold so before venturing further we went back to the hotel room and had some breakfast and I had a long, lovely hot shower. By the way I love the heated towel racks in European bathrooms. Most hotels have them and some of the nicer Airbnb’s that I have stayed in had them too. They are great when you just wanna wash a few things and hang them up because they dry so quickly. It’s also nice to have a lovely heated towel when you get out of the shower.
Once it warmed up a wee bit we headed back into town. I wanted to go to a Vodafone store and see if I could get my damn Sim card to work. It worked for a little bit when we first started out, which was great because I wasn’t really sure what direction to go in, and then it stopped. Kaput! No phone calls! No Internet! No Google maps! This meant it would also be very difficult to find a pet store which was a necessity. I had picked up treats for Pearl the day before but had forgotten to get her food and she was nearly out. I really wasn’t sure that I could find the hidden pet store we went to the previous day, but luckily before I had left I had found another one on the main road to the Parthenon and the address was still showing up in Maps. There was just no route. So off we went across the Tiber again. This time we went on a lovely bridge with beautiful statues. I have no idea why or how we ended up on that bridge but I’m glad we did.
I actually found the pet food store easily enough, which was completely amazing but, wasn’t sure I want to carry a bag of food around all day as they didn’t have sample sized bags. The smallest was a 2.2 kg bag, so I decided that to come back on the way home and said to the shop keeper “returno” and that actually is the correct word.
Now to the Vodafone store. Everything looked kind of familiar and kind of not. If you’ve ever been to Rome you’ll know that there are hundreds of churches and too many Piazzas to count. The day before we had walked down a street with lots of embassies so I asked somebody for the street with all the embassies. That did not work! Apparently there are a multitude of streets with embassies on them. I asked two people, but they both wanted to know which embassies. I thought there was a Russian one, but neither person knew where that was, so I asked if they knew where a Vodafone store was. I got a much better response from that although, the directions made no sense whatsoever. You cannot follow a street for many, many blocks when the street stops in 2 blocks. At that mont you need to decide which is the best choice to continue in the same direction and hope for the best. After walking for 15 minutes to a store that was supposedly due minuti away, I thought of the address trick I used for the pet store. Success! The address was still in Google maps memory. Things were looking up! Now to better understand directions to the streets — easier said than done! I remembered the word for left from my Italian classes many years ago because sinistra sounds like sinister and left hands used to be thought bad or sinister, so as long as I had to go to the left I’d be OK. I thought that straight was dritto, but that’s not what people were saying, I can’t remember now what it was but it definitely wasn’t that, and of course they wanted me to go right not left, but my brain decided to kick in at least briefly, to remind me that destra is right. Of course I had already walked about 2 km in the wrong direction before I could find someone who’s directions I vaguely understood, so once we reached the street I was at number 384 and needed to be at number 174. Poor Pearl’s legs were getting tired and the cobblestones were bothering her little paws so once again I was carrying her. It was that or just watch her as she lay on the sidewalk refusing to move. Eventually we did manage to find the Vodafone store where a man informed me, as as he threw his hands up in the air, that there was nothing he could do! It was a system failure, but if I need but wait a couple of hours and all would be good.
Worrying about my mom and my decision not to go home had given me a sleepless night so instead of going to the Pantheon or the Colosseum I decided to just head back to the hotel. Even though my mom told me not to come home it was still very hard especially since I’m six hours ahead, so getting hold of people is very confusing.
But first I somehow had to find that pet store and return for Pearl’s food. I’m getting better at knowing where the Tiber is and knew that the pet store was not far from the river and that I had to cross to get home. Also, since I had just been at that Vodafone store the day before I had a bit of an idea about what direction to head in. So off towards the river we went. Fifteen minutes or so late, hot and sweaty because by now the temperature had gone from -2 to 14°, I made it to the river. Thinking that I was too tired to go any further I went over to a taxi stand to ask how much it would be to go to the pet store and then back to our hotel. I had only gotten to the pet store part when the driver driver laughed and said senora, this store is down that street due blocks away. OK well that was all well and fine but I still had to get home! But like a good girl I trudged off to the pet store and got Pearl her food. Of course when I left the pet store I accidently took a different way because the streets in Rome are just here there and everywhere and make no sense and so I didn’t end up back at the taxi stand. However I did end up at a bridge, so I figured I might as well start walking and somehow I ended up back at the hotel for a much needed rest.
After a rest and a cold beer and sandwich for fortification, off I went to the local Vodafone store to try once again to get my phone working. I had my Fido Sim card back in because I needed to get hold of people at home and they needed to get hold of me, but it was costing me a fortune! The store was only about a 10 minute walk away thank goodness because I don’t think I could’ve gone any further. BUT the same reaction as in the afternoon. Throw hands up in the air and say there’s nothing we can do it’s the network. Now my phone would not work that day, but it would work Romani – hah and I’d like to sell them some quicksand in Florida! Not believing that my Vodafone SIM would EVER work, but too tired to tackle getting a new card or refund that night, I stopped at a Tim store to ask about their plans, but it was way too busy, but the Wind store was not, so I got info on their plans.
OK after all this walking a good dinner was in order so I walked back towards the hotel, where there are dozens of restaurants within a couple of blocks and randomly picked one. First things first! As soon as I sat down I ordered a glass of wine to drink while my meal was being prepared to go since Pearl was startling at every noise and dogs due to her tiredness. The waitress suggested the lasagna and a Caesar salad so that’s what I got. She also poured my wine into a plastic cup so I could take it with me. Back to the hotel to feed me and Pearl. The lasagna was OK, not great but pretty good, BUT the Caesar salad was Romain, a couple of hard-boiled eggs, soggy croutons and enough mayonnaise like substance to soak three or four heads of lettuce. Needless to say I only had a couple of bites of that!
I added a couple of pictures to the blog, rested for a bit and then texted for a bit with my lovely niece Ariel before taking pearl out for her final toilet of the night. So I mentioned before that I had not found any shopkeepers to be dishonest but I was beginning to get a strong suspicion that Vodafone is. Apparently it was only the tourist network that was down and all the regular Sims worked. Enough of that for now. I’m hoping for a good night sleep after very little sleep the previous night.
Random pics taken in the neighbourhood:￼