Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A ride-through archaeological park

Tuesday was the "Befana" holiday winding up the xmas season in Italy. We took advantage on a sunny day to enjoy a ride around the famous Acqueduct Park near the ancient Appian Way.

Above is an artist rendering of what it may have looked like back-in-the-day.

While today you can ride your bike all over out here. Plenty were doing just that along with strolling in the warm sunshine. Hard to believe it's January!! These MTB's have really come in handy here. What Rome lacks in great roads for bici di corsa it gives back in opportunities to ride in the dirt at places like this. We've now found a way to get over here without too much bother with traffic once we get to the Circus Maximus, which is about 10 minutes from the Academy, most of it downhill.

We'd been out here before as part of the Appia Antica bike ride and noticed a nice-looking ristoro on the edge of the park. We thought it might be perfect for a relaxing lunch one day. Today was that day! But first we had to ride around a bit more since they weren't open yet. Turned out to be a smart move as they took our name for what turned out to be the last table available for pranzo. 

We like fixed-price menus. Not only do they often turn out to be very good values, more importantly for us the portions are reasonably sized, so we can enjoy a variety of plates rather than gorge solely on a primo or secondo as is too often the case these days unless you split plates, but then you still don't enjoy much variety. We started with this antipasto. The house vino rosso wasn't bad either so we ordered plenty!

Amateur food photos don't do these plates justice but the pasta with chickpea and guanciale sauce was very tasty as was the lasagne with radicchio and cheese.

A spiedo with various meaty bits and peppers was served with roasted potatoes and salad for a second plate. We gobbled the dessert (two types of fresh, moist cake) before we could take a photo, sorry! Espresso topped things off nicely and we were back on the bikes finding our way home soon after, though "Mr. Garmin" was by this time useless as his battery had croaked despite being turned off during pranzo. He did help us at one point find the crossover from the Appia Antica so we can't complain too much, but we're still amazed at the poor battery life of these reason we don't depend on them to help our clients navigate the CycleItalia routes.

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