Today marks the 2,000th anniversary of the Augustus’ death. In a city in which more than a few great leaders have drawn on the lessons of the emblematic first Emperor, you might expect some actual fanfare. But this is 21st century Rome, and for a myriad of reasons, the city has chosen a predictable path and undertaken a series of underwhelming and poorly publicized events to commemorate Augustus two millenia after his demise. Tonight at the Ara Pacis Museum (a controversial but totally spectacular building), the original colors of the first century BC altar within will be projected onto the monument. Pretty cool, I guess. But it’s been done before. What would Augustus think about recycling an old exhibit for this occasion?
I doubt he’d be pleased to know that his Mausoleum, the massive monument that he invested quite a lot of effort building, and where his ashes where ultimately interred, was open to a mere 90 people this morning. That’s right, three visits of 30 people each were all the city could muster in the very place where the Emperor’s remains were laid to rest 2000 years ago.
Jaap’s tyre was not only down to the canvas, but through a couple of layers. As a result the 120km ride to Springbok was a rather tentative one. We did however arrive safely around lunchtime, and were hopeful of being able to track down a tyre for Jaap. However it was a Sunday and the day of Nelson Mandela’s funeral, and the tyre outfit was of course closed. Miraculously we met someone who knew the owner and called him for us, but less miraculously he did not hold the tyre size we needed. We spent that afternoon and the Monday phoning around trying to find some way to get a tyre to Springbok urgently. I was running out of time before my flight to NZ, and was keen to explore the back roads on the way to Cape Town, rather than having to rush down. Unfortunately locating a tyre proved difficult, and it looked as if Jaap would get his tyre on Wednesday at the earliest. As Jaap was staying longer than me in South Africa and would have time to explore after Christmas, I decided to head off for an explore with him catching up so we could hit Cape
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A villager in Kenya was herding animals one day recently when he came upon a head-turning sight. A ghostly creature with a mighty long neck was grazing off in the distance.
Upon closer inspection, the vision was revealed to be a female reticulated giraffe — tall, majestic and preternaturally white — and she was accompanied by a smaller apparition: a pale baby giraffe.
The sightings in June, in Garissa County near the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy, sent the villager scurrying off to tell rangers,the founder of the Hirola Conservation Program said on Thursday. The news has been ricocheting across continents and making headlines ever since.
Conservationists who hurried to the site managed to capture what is believed to be the first known video footage of white giraffes, said Abdullahi H. Ali, who founded Hirola and has been working to conserve the critically endangered hirola antelope in the eastern part of the country.
A very pricey cocktail in progress on the roof of the new-ish DOM Hotel.
The DOM Hotel, a five-star luxury retreat, opened on Via Giulia in central Rome a little less than a year ago. The place is a good value, in relation to its category, and the location is hard to beat. I weigh DOM’s pros and cons in this Sunday’s NYT Travel section (or read online here).
Waaaay back in December 2012, I wrote a post in which I put Flavio al Velavevodetto(and few other places) on notice. That year, Flavio, a Testaccio-based restaurant specializing in traditional Roman fare, had gone from being completely satisfying to wildly inconsistent, a change that was likely linked to opening a second restaurant, Velavevodetto ai Quiriti in Prati. Service glitches and food failures became increasingly common, which isn’t unusual for a restaurant to suffer following expansion. Many readers and app users reported negative experiences–so I was concerned–but I remained optimistic that things would turn around.
Fast forward to December 2014 and Flavio al Velavevodetto has more than just rebounded. It has surpassed its earlier reputation and is one of the few places in Rome that manages to maintain an extremely high level of quality, both in its raw ingredients and its final dishes. Meat comes from the restaurant’s own herds and flocks, while seasonal vegetables are cultivated on their land in northern Lazio. Ingredients are transformed into superb Roman classics like polp
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