Gastronomical downtime – Split & Rome

Happy Monday!

The past few days have been a little slower – well relatively slower compared to the last few weeks. On Saturday, Kat and I were unable to secure a day trip down to Dubrovnik so instead, we settled for a chill day in Split. Note – do not try and wing Croatia if you’re there on limited time. The connections and transfers are not so readily available on a whim so you’re best off organising everything in advance!

This was the perfect opportunity to spend a bit of time at the beach as well as sample the local cuisine – admittedly, our diets have been horrendous since we went overseas (potato chips for breakfast have become perfectly acceptable), so it’s been great to actually have some decent meals at proper times! I’m really glad we had a bit of time to do this because I now have a huge appreciation for Croatian food. Being by the Adriatic Sea means that fresh seafood is in plentiful supply (scampi, shrimps and cuttlefish seem to be popular here), and if you do a little research, you’ll find local places that do the produce some decent justice on a totally reasonable budget.

Shrimp risotto & black cuttlefish risotto at Konoba Marjan, Split 

  
After eating ourselves into a food coma, we eventually got ourselves down to Bacvice Beach (all sand, no pebbles yay!). We would’ve stayed all night partying at the Split Beach festival if it weren’t for the early morning flight to Rome the next day 😦 
I didn’t get the name of the place we went to for dinner, but they make a mean Octopus stew, and have great service. Many of the Croatians I’ve encountered have a very dry and sarcastic sense of humour (a little smart-assy even) – they’re hilarious once you’ve realised they’re cracking a joke! For my Rbc people, I now have a bit more understanding of why Ante is.. Ante.

 
Octopus stew with handmade macaroni and a side of grilled veggies – oh how I miss vegetables right now 😦 

I’ve also gone a bit Kinder crazy in Europe (one of these was yesterday’s breakfast)

Yesterday morning we got to Rome. Accomodation is great, right by Termini station so the transfer was painfree – a relief for Kathys arms and my back!  We squeezed in an afternoon tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Being the afternoon of a stinking hot 36 degree day meant that we were the only people on tour with our lovely and knowledgeable Italian guide Francesca (who is a self titled unemployed archeologist now working in tourism). Having a private tour was unexpected and ended up being awesome!     
    We were told that the government recently approved the reconstruction of the arena floor for future use as an event venue, meaning that one day these underground tunnels won’t be visible anymore. 😕

The view of the Roman forum from atop the botanical gardens 

After our tour and becoming a few shades more crispy, we freshened up and ventured out to a local Italian restaurant called Flavio al Velavevodetto. I’ve purposely held out on eating pasta for awhile now, in order to wait for the perfect Italian pasta in Rome. Thankfully the wait was worth it! The food here is simple, but done really really well. Wine is by the bottle. The area seemed a bit dodgy to get into after dark (may be better off getting a cab) but that’s what you get if you want to chase the local stuff.

 Spaghetti al Velavevodetto

 Rigatonni carbonara with pecorino sauce – the best Mac n cheese I’ve ever had

  • Tip from Francesca – when picking a place to eat, use the price of a Margherita  pizza as a guide. €7 is acceptable, anything above €10 means you’re stepping into a tourist trap

After all the carb loading, we should hopefully have enough energy to explore Florence today!

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