See for yourself:
It was a long trip, I needed a lot of stuff. The bag had rugged wheels so that I would be able to roll it wherever I needed to go, despite its weight. My travel plans were easy: the shared ride from airport to hotel, a train from Reggio to Rome, a cab from train to hotel, and a car from hotel to airport. I was all set.
As I mentioned on Monday, the shared ride fell through and I learned a few things over the course of our navigation to the hotel via bus, train, and cab.
Fortunately, I could lift the big blue bag. Unfortunately, I needed two hands to do so.
Fortunately, I have two hands. Unfortunately, my carryon rollerbag took up one of them.
Fortunately, there were elevators in the train station to get us from one track to another. Unfortunately, four people with 8 bags take up those elevators completely, and when those people keep missing trains and hogging the elevators, the locals - and the weary travelers - begin to get annoyed.
Fortunately, we eventually found the right track at the right time. Unfortunately, unlike most trains I've ever been on, there are narrow, steep steps to conquer on Italian trains.
Fortunately, I have two strong legs. Unfortunately, I had two cumbersome bags.
Etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum. You get the point. We relied on the kindness of strangers, and eventually made it to our hotel.
So almost from the start, there was a part of me that began to fret about how I was going to get myself to Rome without travelmates. Turns out the itinerary I had planned included a change of trains in Bologna, which had struck me as no big whoop from my comfy desk in San Diego, but was now a wee bit troubling. The more stuff I accumulated,
Anyway, to make a short story excruciatingly long, I tried to hook up with a few folks who were also headed to Rome, hoping that the buddy system would save my sorry arse, but nothing was quite working out in a way that would be helpful. To me. And then on the very last day I ditched my rolly carryon, bought a backpack, took another look, and discovered that there was one train, leaving early in the morning, that would get me all the way to Rome without changes. It was a high speed number. And there were only first class tickets available.
And that is how I found myself lounging in first class on a high speed train, watching the Italian countryside fly by my window. A guy brought me cafe and chocolate at regular intervals. At one point he asked me: "snack?" I said si, por favore. He asked "sweet?" I said no, grazie. He gave me a bag of bugles. I swear to God. I miss that guy.
And then just like that, I arrived in Roma! I got to the hotel (via taxi, no problem), and
I resisted my natural inclination to move, trying to be more accepting and zen like the buddha and less - you know - American about everything. Plus, I knew mom would be there soon, and she'd do it.
A few short hours and one major rainstorm later, there she was!
|The rooftop terrace at our hotel, where we had breakfast every morning and drinks every night.|
|Our piazza, so festively adorned in honor of the reunification. We vaguely wondered what this building was for much of the visit, and finally ventured in one day to discover an olive oil tasting in progress. It was an event space. Fancy.|
That first day, I was a total badass with the map, navigating the trek to and from Termini station with ease. Then we had a drink(s) before dinner, and a bottle of wine with dinner, and then we decided to check out the Trevi Fountain again since it was right there in the 'hood and we hadn't had a proper photo op. It soon became clear that my mad map skillz are null when faced with Italian wine, and we walked around and around and around, getting helpful advice and directions from friendly passers by. That's when we heard the directions that became our mantra for the weekend: "Cosi, Cosi, Cosi" (with a heavy Italian accent and aggressive hand gesturing)
But we found it!
The next morning, I lay in bed listening to the sounds of the street, cold and certain that we'd be facing more rain. It wasn't ideal, but it would be allright. Mom and I are both troopers, it would just require the proper attitude and fortitude.
Can you imagine our surprise and delight to emerge onto the terrace and find this?
Oh, the joy. Rapture! It was a stunningly beautiful day, and we were treated to similar weather for the duration of our Roman holiday, with the exception of one downpour, for which we had ample notice in the form of ominous and foreboding skies, and plenty of time to get ourselves back to the lovely piazza de pietra before it hit.
That was a great day. They were all great, we just kept doing all the right things and we were so happy to be together in that stunning city. We decided to get ourselves on one of those hop on/hop off, open air buses to get our bearings and have a look at the city. The desk manager at the hotel, Emmanuel, pointed us in the direction of his namesake's monument, where we'd find all manner of buses to choose from.
|Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele, or as we called it, Victor. It was an amazingly easy landmark to guide us home from all points in the city. We'd just look around and go: "Oh, there's Victor."|
|Some of that shit is really old.|
|Ominous and foreboding|