It wasn’t planned.
It wasn’t an unfulfilled desire to make my life, even for a day, seem like a couple of pages out of the super famous book, ‘Eat Pray Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. But at the end of the day, I had taken myself out on a proper solo date and it was romantic and kind of perfect, surprisingly? But would you have caught me dining alone in a charming restaurant in Rome before this day?…probably not. Why? Because, when it comes to traveling solo, I’m pretty efficient, economical and unromantic in my approach.
It was only near the end of my dining experience that my sister, who was following my Instagram account slathered in photos of food, architecture, wine, oozing of my love of Rome asked me how I was feeling while experiencing a combustion of delights, “Like, you’re eating, praying and loving?” she questioned.
At that moment, I sort of had an aha, tilting of the head kind of moment. She followed up by saying that I should maybe write about it, as she knows me too well, and knows that I have never really done anything like this before. Not even in Paris.
Perhaps I should share that the purpose of my trip to Italy was to attend a beloved friend’s wedding in a tiny town/village in the Campagna region over the weekend. Although I could have flown directly there a day or two before the big day, I decided to tack on a quick visit to Roma. Why not?
After I checked into my ‘room’ with all my luggage, up some three stories in a cold cemented building, chilled by centuries of thick walls and shade, it was time to enjoy the ultra-fantastic and beautiful lighting approaching dusk. I love that! I posted some photos to my IG account as per always: @allisonlwriter and on my blogger FB page: Allison Lund – Blogger. You are welcome to check out the ‘lighting’ there 😉
I walked through the ‘neighbourhoods’, passing beautiful streets and churches, notably the Spanish steps and of course the Trevi fountain. I’ve been to the Trevi fountain before and it was the first time I had ever seen, what seemed to be thousands of people (not hundreds) basking in the ‘je ne sais quoi’ majesty of this very famous fountain. I hovered in the doorway of a shop, shielding my sensibilities, allowing some ‘time’ to just look and stare.
Famished and now after 6:00 pm (too early for everyone else visiting Europe or Europeans to eat), I took a chance and googled the best restaurants around Trevi… strange move for me – #1
There was this ‘highly-rated’, not too expensive, charming kind of place that tickled my fancy and seeing as though it was around 6:15, and before their ‘busy time’, I GPS’d my tail way over there! Eventhough the kitchen wasn’t open at 100%, (no pastas and meats etc), I had my pick of tables, and from a mostly pizza-centric menu. Poor me.
I chose a table in the corner, perfectly situated to see the full room of tables soon to be filled, and a view of the ‘terrace’ and endless tourists floating around holding gelatos. My table wasn’t even prepared yet, which annoyed the busy looking lady unhappy to be serving clientele. Yet, I knew this was my spot and it was perfect. For anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m at my most comfortable and happiest with a forward view of the space and/or the door.
Perhaps because I felt comfortable in my little nook that I decided to start off by ordering a great sounding house salad with a glass of Nipozzano, before ordering my pizza. Strange move for me #2 – what happened to ordering a pizza to-go and eating at the flat?
I chose a typical, thin crusted, wood – fired pizza for dinner (yes, yes, poor me – pizza in Italy), thinking that I would leave once I was done eating, then head back to the studio and crash.
I ordered one of my favourite pizzas, ‘prosciutto e fungi’ where I happily added tons of chilli flakes. Pacing myself, feeling ‘thy belly’ getting ‘full-eth’, I took the very last bite, followed by a deep breath, trying to stretch ‘it’ all down. I proceeded to nurse the rest of my delicious and powerful wine. Maybe it would aid my digestion and what a way to finish my delightful alone time in a charming restaurant… or so I thought.
The jazz music was playing, the ambience was perfect, the place was packed! The restaurant was buzzing inside and out, and I didn’t mind being alone either! As the service was slow, I finished my wine and my 2 euro water while working on my Instagram stories, and people watched.
Soon after, almost expecting the bill, the server brought back the menus (both drink and food), and I had this ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment where, normally, I would never had ordered dessert since, number one, my belly was very full, and two, I’m not a huge dessert person, and three, it would continue to drag out this solo dining time when surrounded by nothing but couples and a few families. So I took a moment and looked at the dessert menu expecting to be uninspired, as always, but was I wrong! Wouldn’t you know it, about five options on that dessert list called my name, LOUDLY and so the trouble began. Strange move for me – #3
Fortunately, I knew I was at least 20 minutes away from even ordering it (yay for slow service), and ‘yay’ for more digesting time.
When the server finally returned, not being able to decide and not really caring which dessert I actually got (they were all that great sounding – rare!!), I asked the server for her favourite and with that – a millefoglie crema al mascarpone e fragola waltzed its way to my humble and small table 20 minutes later with a strong espresso. And wow, it was delicious!! It looked like a stacked pancake situation, but really, it’s the Italian version of the French ‘Mille-feuille’ puffed up and lathered with magic.
When it was time to go, for real this time, it was approaching the 2.5-hour mark of dining solo in an Italiano restaurant by myself in Rome on a beautiful night. Feeling a slight buzz from my one rich, dark glass of red wine as well as the start of a great carb coma in the works, it was thankfully time for that lengthly walk back to the flat. And best of all, this delectable meal did not break the bank!
When I left the table (slowly, very slowly), the whole restaurant was buzzing and there was a huge line outside. What would top off this amazing dinner experience?….
…throwing coins in the Trevi fountain, adding sparkles to wishes and ultimately financing an already fortuitous spot in Rome, sending prayers and intentions to EVERYONE!
The results of choosing to say YES to coming to Rome, choosing to eat out, rather than the grocery shop (which I typically do), somewhat pushing myself to do something atypical, out of the norm for me, something that would have made me cringe, turned into a beautiful experience, and I’m pretty grateful for it!
Did I Eat, Pray, Love?
I dined alone, happily and quite comfortably, and well! And when I tossed some coins in the Trevi Fountain, I was praying for everyone’s highest good, and finally, I was sure loving Roma, all of it!
And so the question remains… did I just start a new trend for myself? Did I just ‘get over myself?’
Life is about to get better! Taking more than 20 minutes to eat, ‘pay’ and ‘leave’, just got a little more exciting and appetizing.
With love from Roma, Italia (the airport actually, on my way back to Paris)
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