when Nick arrived back at the apartment a little after 2 (after eating pranzo with the faculty -- he tells me the meal included salad, pasta with salmon, and a main course of veal!), i headed out. right now, the most convenient store is the Carrefour supermarket chain on via della Fornaci, just over a mile's walk from here. the weather continues to be brilliant -- highs in the low 90s, so it's certainly hot, but there's usually a nice breeze. it reminds me of the weather in Phoenix. i wouldn't want to be running a marathon in it, but it's completely fine for walking around (as long as you have plenty of water!).
after about twenty minutes' walk i spied the Carrefour, and smiled to see the same cart-return system used at my beloved Aldi. the store was well-stocked with all the essentials, although it took me a long time to find everything on my list (as it always does when shopping at a new store ... with the added challenge of trying to decipher the labels!). their system for purchasing produce is particularly genius. you weigh and print out the barcode yourself, which makes it faster for the cashiers and also ensures you know how much you'll be paying for an item.
the cashier spoke English, which was helpful, and he also saved me from being scammed. when he went to scan the laundry detergent (yes! actual detersivo and not ammorbiente), he frowned, opened the cap, and peered inside. "see? is mostly gone," he said. and indeed, the bottle was only about a quarter full. he sent another employee to fetch a bottle that had not been tampered with. apparently people will steal laundry detergent directly out of the bottle (and there's no window on the side of the bottle to check the level). next time i'll check it myself!
i did have a bit of sticker shock at the register -- it was a total of €116 ($132) for four days' worth of basic groceries, although i did buy some household staples today that will last for a while (the laundry detergent, anti-calcium liquid for the wash, balsamic vinegar, all purpose cleaner, and cleaning cloths). the meat especially is more expensive compared to prices at Aldi. the only chicken breasts they had were the equivalent of $10.87 a pound and the ground beef was $5.79 a pound. anyway, i loaded everything into my bags at the counter, and then headed outside to redistribute everything for easy transport back home.
today's dinner was a simple one, whose "recipe" i gleaned from a blogger who called it Italian comfort food: rice and zucchini, with baked chicken on the side. i quartered the zucchini, sauteed for a few minutes in olive oil, then reduced the heat, covered, and allowed to cook until soft (about 15 minutes). i cooked the rice just like pasta, in plenty of boiling salted water, for 20 minutes, then drained it, mixed the zucchini in, and added freshly grated parmiagiano, salt, and black pepper to taste. for the chicken, i made a little sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, and basil, and baked at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 15 minutes since the pieces were so thin. simple, but delicious!
|this is the real deal|
|kinder egg treats for the girls were a huge hit|
after dinner, we took a passeggiata up the via del Gianicolo, past the pediatric hospital (we live right next door to it! i hope we will never need it, but it's nice to know it's there!), up to the crest of the Janiculum Hill to the Piazzale Guiseppe Garibaldi. our cell phone cameras couldn't quite do justice to the view of Rome at night -- we'll have to go back sometime during the day! in fact, i know we'll be back soon, because they have a puppet show there every weekend.
|sharing a cone of gelato|
Greta fell asleep in the stroller on the ten minute walk back down the hill, and Cecilia was asking for "seep! nap! seep!" as we walked in the door. they both went to bed without any trouble, and now it's time for me to "seep" as well!
|the dome of St. Peter's peeking out above the campus of the NAC|