I think it might just be possible that I had the best-hot-chocolate-in-Europe today.
Okay, it's a pretty grand claim, I know, so lets change that to MY personal best over the past 4 months ;) #itsahardlife but I'm not complaining!
Slightly irrelevant backstory:
T had to collect his MacBook from the Apple store (Boo dead laptops) this morning so the boys watched some TV (they've been obsessing over the Disney channel or "American shows" as they call them, since we arrived in Rome) while I finalized some flight bookings.
Flights booked, the boys and I stopped in the Campo (we've rented a holiday apartment right off Campo di Fiori here in Rome) for nuts to snack on from one of the multitude of market stalks before winding our way through the Roman streets to the Trevi Fountain. Which was heaving with people, and beautiful still, which is saying something. It was the boys first time and they were both struck by its grandeur.
But we didn't stop for long; we had set a time to meet T by the Zoo in the Villa Borghese, the wonderful heart-shaped lungs of Rome for some soccer and fresh air, and there was still a decent walk ahead off us. We ate a simple picnic together and as we gathered our things a fabulous thought sprang to mind - this is the time to go and have a cup of coffee by myself somewhere nice! The boys were happy to run off without me and have some dad-only time and minutes later there I was, spiraling down the path to the Piazza del Popolo - Alone. With a capital 'A'.
It only occurred to me later in the afternoon that I haven't actually gone out by myself for some quiet time in maybe 3+ weeks? The last time was probably in the week before we left Paris. This family-travelling business is truly an intense experience and some distance and perspective is good for everyone...
But back to the hot chocolate :)
Having done a little online-research I knew, roughly, where some of Rome's nicest hotels were. And one of them led just off from the Piazza. The Hotel de Russie. Perfect! I straightened my coat, ran a comb through my har (desperately in need of a trim - I haven't had one since we left Australia) and crossed my fingers I didn't look too scruffy for the doormen ;)
Once inside I stumbled across the lounge, drooled over the English-speaking newspapers selection (bliss!) and looked at the menu. Ahhhhhh, 7 euros for a cappuccino. That's at least $10 Australian and even though we've enjoyed some pretty fabulous extravagances on our trip we are really working on a tight budget at the moment... I hesitated, pondering the room, admiring its modern elegance and ummmm-ed. But I couldn't put down that newspaper. And decided it was worth it.
I did however feel that ordering a 10 dollar coffee was a bit of a gamble; I've had some nice coffee recently, but I've also been disappointed by a lot of luke-warm Joe! And I'm not a huge hot chocolate gal (which isn't to say that I don't like it, my kids both do too!) but I'll rarely order one for myself - except today - when I decided that something gluttonous was probably in order if it was going to be a bit of an expensive treat!
The waiter approached and I asked if the hot chocolate was a good choice. He assured me that it really was. Sold.
And he didn't let me down. Out came a silver jug full of thick, hot, creamy chocolate with a side of whipped cream as big as a breakfast bowl - the most remarkable thing ever - and a generous serve of biscuits. Enough hot chocolate to fill my cup 3 times over.
I was in heaven!!
Heaven in the form of chocolate-perfection, the International New York Times and some peace and quiet. Ahhhhhhh.
Please excuse the post-Villa Borghese grottiness, my Adidas need a clean I only notice now :) These, btw are fab travel shoes. Smart enough to wear into nice places but comfortable enough for all of the necessary cobblestone treks. And they look cool too.
So, that's the end of the story. I don't know if the waiter took pity on me and concocted a super-special hot chocolate or if that's the Stravinskij way. But I likey.
Bar Stravinskij. Hotel de Russie. Via del Babuino, 9. Rome.