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Wednesday 8 October 1997

(Continuing: Friday 3)

Alarm clock at 6 and time for an unrushed if only fifteen-minute breakfast on the terrace, James's last breakfast in Spello, then down to the train station, where we were very lucky: I'd assumed the new schedules were identical and they aren't quite; but the train was late and I'd built in quite a margin — so we got there, then the train got there about a minute later, et voilà.

Of course we got to Rome a full half hour late, having waited on a siding at Giuncano for another train to pass — not the first time this year, either. The trains are really not on time this year, that ran just fine in 1994 —

Anyway, a train to Fiumicino — it left six minutes late — and straight to the check-in: that part was easy, but the exit document and currency check was a long dismal line; and I couldn't (as before, neither in 1994) accompany James to the gate, so he went off dismally and I turned around and left for Rome as recorded.

That meal at the Porta del Colosseo​1 turned out to be very good indeed. They specialise in fresh fish — at reasonable prices, which in Italy is wonder­ful — and are Sardinian-owned and -run. I'm very proud of myself for having spotted boutargue under "bottarga" — and had that as my antipasto: despite my mother raving on and on about boutargue and hanging one above her bed! (like my Spello-Bevagna-Montefalco book says, the honest woman will not seek to have a translation!) I'd never had any: it was wonder­ful. Lemon juice, olive oil, etc. — even the radicchio it was served on — do nothing for it, and worse: I can see exactly why Mom would just chomp on it like sausage; mine also was served in thin slices: maybe next time I can prevail on them to serve me a chunk unsliced.

Next, linguine with all kinds of fresh frutti di mare: excellent, excellent. Then a fish — I didn't let them carve it up for me, obnoxious Italian habit, rather I cut it up myself — for one thing, I'd've been denied the cheeks — with olives and fresh tomatoes and potatoes; and cooked in vernaccia: a bit oily but quite good. Dessert and a sort of orange limoncello — I let my waiter do whatever he felt was most Sardinian (altho' in fact he was the only Roman on the staff): a good, good meal, and only 63 ML.

Note in the Diary:

1 Via del Buon Consiglio, 17; closed Wednesdays.

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