ClustrMaps - Visitors to "Los JOP" blog

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Journée nationale du Fromage 2009

Today is the Annual (French) Cheese Day ... so go eat some cheese! Preferably, French and lait cru (unpasteurized or "raw" milk). Bon appétit !

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Packing day

Not much time to visit Rome as we leave this evening. Packed up and then lunched with Tiéno (merci encore).

Mid-afternoon we were able to get out and around a bit - but never quite found that "special, popular, laid-back but lively, non-touristy" neighborhood! Maybe next time. We sort of stumbled upon Basilica de Santa Maria Maggiore and an interesting shop next to it called Casa del Rosario - their motto might be "if we can put the Pope's face on it, we WILL!" - medallions, rosaries, statues, etc. Far out!

Any ideas form you all, Dear Readers, will be added to my list of things to see and do next time in the Eternal City.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Today is Monday ...

Up, not too late today, but a bit stiff . We arranged to meet Gianni at the Piramide metro station then took a bus to Mercato di Testaccio, a fantastic covered market, which is a foodie's paradise.

We picked up some items (cheeses, local veggies, etc.) and then headed out to find a near-by bar I'd read about (nameless, I had only a numberless street name). The place had been described as an authentic Roman "old man bar" and, indeed, as we approached there were quite a few geezers out in front. Turns out the place is called "Sora Rosa" and we all truly enjoyed the couple of hours we ended up spending there. We started with red wine (sold at an amazing 1.50€ per half liter) which comes from the owner's own vineyards (see their website here). Then I noticed some old fellows drinking what looked like Coke and white wine. We tried out one half-liter (OK, we had TWO) of what turned out to be a refreshing mix of white wine with Chinotto Neri. Topped all this off with some excellent cheese there (and was tempted by the barkeep's sandwiches made on Rosetta bread).

Tottered on back to the apartment to have lunch (including the excellently well prepared - and presented -"barba di frate"- grazie Odile) with a couple of cold Moretti beers and some afumacato cheese with a wonderfully rustic loaf of bread. Then a short nap and out again towards the Trastevere.

Odile had spied out the Libreria del Cinema (where I bought a fun book entitled "Film Posters - Science Fiction") - the bookstore has an adjoining caffé where we waited for Francesca and Tiéno (each getting off from their respective jobs) while imbibing fine wine and listening to oldies, such as Fred Buscaglione (a childhood favorite of Gianni's).

Afterwards we headed out to a vegetarian restaurant nearby called Jaya Sai Ma (whose name in Sanskrit means "Victory of the Great Mother") run by followers of Guru Sai Baba.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Maratona di Roma 2009

Feel free to cheer (really or virtually) for me - I am wearing bib number: 9296 ... and THANKS to many of you who have already dropped me messages via e-mail, facebook, SMS, etc. - I really appreciate it!

NOTES: As a participant in the City of Rome Marathon, one gets to drink in the city’s historic atmosphere right from the beginning. The start line is placed in front of the 2,000 year old Coliseum, and from there the course is a veritable festival of magnificent sights. Among other things, runners go past Saint Peter’s, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and through a lot of picturesque, narrow streets in the old part of the city. No PB aspirations (I'll break 4 hours next time) – one needs time to appreciate all the breathtaking landmarks and to conquer the cobblestones, that cover about half the route. The course, they say, is surprisingly flat for a city built on seven hills, but the sometimes uneven cobblestone streets, which in the narrowest places can feel quite crowded, may add a few extra minutes to finish times.

UPDATE: And, indeed, the cobblestones did add an interesting dimension (and 5 minutes to my last marathon time) ... I crossed the finish line at 4h44m49s after having staved off calf cramps (for the last 10km). A video of my shuffling arrival is here - about half-way through the segment, watch for me to "shake out" my hands. A close-up version is here. And, to see me in finer form, take a look here (towards the end of the video) filmed at 21.1km, the half-way point, where you'll see me with enough energy to run backwards (!) showing off the flag of Puerto Rico.

Dinner time saw us back at the "White Chicken" (see Friday March 20 blog post).

Saturday, March 21, 2009


We met Gianni and Francesa at the Policlinico subway station then took the tram to the Coppedè neighborhood. According to one guide book: "If Gaudí and the Grimm Brothers had gone into town-planning together, suburbia would probably look like this." Totally wacky!

Afterwards we walked about (perhaps a bit too much for me pre-marathon): Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo (for a SUNNY sidewalk café lunch at Canova), then finally back to cafe Cinque in Trastevere for tea and coffee (OK, we ended up with beer). Finally dinner (again) at the excellent La Villetta for a final carbo-load!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Marathon Village

This morning we're heading down to the EUR neighborhood. EUR was designed for the 1942 World's fair which never took place. Fascist inspired buildings include the Palazzo della Civita del Lavoro and the Palazzo dei congressi. We'll meet François, Odile's cousin, at the Palazzo dei congressi and then visit the Marathon Village to pick up our race packets.

UPDATE: François' wife Brigitte, and their friends from Aix, Didier & Margueritte; joined us for the race packet pickup - including cool ASICS backpack and black 15th Rome Marathon t-shirt plus tons of promtional stuff (including a frisbee). Metro-ed back up to near the Coliseum for a constitutional walk prior to lunch at the Caffe Aventino (just down from the Circo Massimo).

UPDATE2: We returned "home" to drop off the 4 kilos (!) of promotional materials I picked up at the Marathin Village and then headed out again - just us two - to the Trastevere (which we'd zapped last night). Few tourists out due to fairly cold and windy weather - we stopped at a few places for warm-up bracers, such as: La Casetta di Trastevere, Bar Le Cinque. Even got pious and stopped in at the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere (see photo below).

Early evening saw us rushing over to Termini train station to meet our friends: Gianni coming in from Milan and Francesca coming in from Florence. We all walked over to a nearby place for dinner: La Gallina Bianca (where I continued my carbo-loading with an excellent spaghetti alla carbonara). Tomorrow some walking about (but not too much - as to remain fresh for Sunday's big run).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My first Eternal City

We've arrived safely at Tieno's (thanks for putting us up) in Rome - near Piramide (see photo on left). My first time ever here in this beautiful city and already I am feeling soooo Italian - 5 kilos lighter, slim and sauve, with a touch of furious gesticulation thrown in, for good measure.

Odile and I eager to go out walking in the neighborhood so, dear Reader, catch you later; any suggestions for things to do, places to see, bars to go drinking at ... just add your comments here or facebook/twitter/e-mail me!

UPDATE: (Planned) This evening we're heading "across the Tiber" (Trastevere) for dinner with Tiéno.

UPDATE2 : Actually we ended up not far from the apartment at La Villetta for a wonderful Roman dinner, a top ten place!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Amour, Raspail, Vavin ...

Flo tipped us off to Jacques Bullot's book-signing at L'Arbe à Lettres (14 rue Boulard) at 7pm tonight.

His new whodunnit, this time, takes place in the depths of the Parisian subway, and, in particular, in certain stations of the Montparnasse district. Grim… and erotic Métro!

See you there, dear Readers?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Neuilly Night

Off to dinner tonight at Sophie's home in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Book recommendation

I can't recommend enough Lev's book (see video below) - I was lucky enough to meet him in Paris some years ago - and hope you'll buy yourself a copy (it comes out TODAY). I'm heading out myself to score me one.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Change and Innovation

For the next few days I am in Drogheda (Droichead Átha in Irish, meaning "Bridge of the Ford"),an industrial and port town in County Louth on the east coast of Ireland, 56 km (35 mi) north of Dublin.

I'll be doing the keynote speech for Enterprise Week 2009 run by the Louth County Enterprise Board.
Check out my profile!