Enroute To Roma

I am writing this to you from the economy class section of an Alitalia MD80.

We arrived at the Istanbul airport around 11.30am and headed back to Starbucks for our morning coffee fix.  Thank God we have invested in Starbucks – maybe need to up the shares a bit!

We took advantage of the free Wi-Fi and booked our hotel in Rome.  We didn’t know if we were going to be on the flight but having checked the loads before leaving the hotel we knew we were not going to have a problem.

A short stroll from Starbucks had us at the check-in counter for Alitalia and a pleasant check-in girl.  We received confirmed seats on the 2.10pm flight to Rome, checked our bags in and headed for the departure gate.  All very seamless.

I have taken the time at the departure gate and on the flight to update the past few days of our travels so all I need to do now is add some photos and upload the pages to the site.  I hope you enjoy them.

We haven’t slept on the short (2.30 hour) trip to Rome although we could have done with a quick catnap after last night’s (this morning’s) late finish.  Oh well, I guess we will operate on the energy reserves until we get into our hotel in Rome.  Having said that I am looking over at The Princess and I see that she is struggling to stay awake.  I think we will be having an afternoon nap on arrival at the hotel.

The hotel that we booked in Rome is located about 15 minutes from the city centre.  There is a free shuttle service into the city so that will serve us well.

We aim to catch the train from the airport into the city centre (Termini) and then call the hotel for pick-up.  It sounds like a cunning plan – let’s hope it works like this when we arrive.  If it doesn’t then we we will go into “remain flexible” mode and change plans.

I shall type some more after getting to the hotel as we are now on descent into Rome.  It is a bit bumpy and I can’t read the screen.

Ciao!!

OK, back again.  Well, we arrived without incident to a beautiful sunny Italy.  The flight over Italy to Rome was very picturesque – lots of green paddocks and the Alps in the distance.  Rome has had a lot of rain in recent weeks so the place is lovely and green.

The baggage claim and passport control procedure was relatively simple – the Italian authorities were not too phased in getting to know us.

After working out where the train was we made our way to the train station and bought some tickets (11 Euro each for the one way trip to the Terminii in Rome).  The train arrived after a few minutes and we started the challenge of getting to our hotel!!

Getting on the train was not a simple procedure.  There are around 3 steps (up) to get into the train then you have to negotiate your way into the carriage.  Quite remarkable for the “airport train”.  Not very well designed at all.  However, once we got into our seats and settled in the trip into Rome was rather straightforward.

The trip into Rome was rather uninspiring.  The airport is a long way from the city centre so you pass through some farmland before reaching the city outskirts then finally into the city itself.  There was nothing of note to see on the way to the city.

The trip into the Termini (Central Station) took around 40 minutes and, as mentioned, it was quite comfortable.

On arriving at the Termini we grabbed a trolley, loaded up the baggage and went in search of the bus to the hotel.  We had spoken to the hotel at the airport and they gave us the directions on how to get to the hotel.  Not as simple as the description on the phone!

I had to find a bank that I could get some money from before I could by our three day pass.  It turned out that I was standing next to it but I circumnavigated the Termini before realising this fact.  This was fortunate because during my short navigation exercise I was able to work out where to buy the tickets from – you would think this would be obvious in the Termini – not so.  This was our introduction into the complete lack of information and guidance for tourists in Rome.

Anyway, we sorted out the tickets and received directions to the bus.  So, with trolley in hand we set off to find the bus stop.  Enroute it appeared that the trolley suffered a complete malfunction so we found another one, changed over all the luggage and set off again.  Around 10 steps later this one seemed to malfunction too.  Bugger.  It was only then that we realised that we had reached the allowable area for luggage trolleys.  A magnetic “shut me down now” strip was embedded into the concrete and would not let the trolley go any further – back to bag dragging mode!! Fortunately we didn’t have too far to go to the bus stop.

Getting onto the crowded bus with the number of bags that we had was a bit of a challenge but the crowd were obliging to the two “struggling tourists” and allowed us to pile our bags on to the bus.  They also obliged us in giving advice on when to get off the bus – thankfully.  We would not have had any idea otherwise!!

This is where the fun began.  After getting off the bus (similar exercise to getting on to it!!) we called the hotel for directions again.  “After getting off the bus you will see a flower shop (should have been a fruit shop as it turned out).  Go past the flower shop and you will see a bank. Turn left there and you will see a gas station.  After to petrol station take the next road and go uphill to the hotel”.  This all worked out perfectly. However, it was the wrong hotel, we were nowhere near the actual hotel and if it wasn’t for some Canadian Italians who spoke to the hotel for us we would still be walking around Rome!!  The Princess was broken and Roey completed a month’s worth of exercise lifting the bags up flights of stairs and hills.  Lesson – take the airport – hotel direct Mercedes Benz to the hotel on arrival in Rome!!

We finally found the wonderful little hotel, checked in, carried our bags a few more flights of stairs then collapsed.

Being rather famished after the bag dragging we asked for directions to the nearest restaurant, rugged up in some warm clothes and set out to get some supper.  The restaurant was delightful and we enjoyed some lovely pasta, pizza and red wine before returning to the hotel.  After a warm shower we collapsed into bed and slept like “logs”.

Off in search of “The Complete Rome Experience” tomorrow.

Ciao!!

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