Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rome! Day 1

Leaving Paris was hard to do. It's a fabulous city full of excitement, monuments, and baked goods that are absolutely world class. Props to my friend Pat who told me about Macarons. I never would have tried them without your advice -- and I would have missed one of the best culinary delights of my life so far!

Trains were not the most fiscally reasonable way to get from place to place for us. We booked flights on discount airlines (ryanair, easyjet) instead. The main differences between discount airlines and, um, legit airlines, are in the airports utilized and the distances traveled.  Instead of leaving through Charles DeGaulle (the DTW of Paris), we left through Beauvais airport, which is somwhat like the Flint airport in Michigan. And we arrived in a minor airport just outside of Rome. Our flight was just over an hour in length -- most discount airlines mostly fly short stints between European cities. Also, most of the people on the flight were Italians flying back home after a visit to Paris. Boy, were they rowdy! We had originally planned on sleeping through the flight, but the rest of the plane was carrying on as though they were on a roller coaster. It seemed like everyone on the plane knew one another and everyone joked and laughed and shouted back and forth. Kevin and I were just sitting there, like, uh... this is weird and kinda funny.
Flight #4 of the trip
When we landed at the Ciampino, it was at an airport notoriously known for having the worst cabs in the Rome viscinity. Our hotel was just over 2km away, so we figured we could hike it (yes, with all of our stuff, in the middle of the night in a foreign country. Don't do this, it's not smart.). We asked a cab driver to point us in the right direction (I had the directions written down, just needed to know where exactly we were starting from) and the conversation went like this:
"Escusi, Hotel Louis?" and I pointed to the direction I was pretty sure was accurate.
"Ah, yes, 30 euro, I get you there."
"It is far away. 20 kilometers."
"It's 4 kilometers away, we will walk. Which direction?"
"That way." And he confirmed my direction.

And we hiked it. A mile and a half with twenty or so pounds of stuff in our packs. For over an hour. There may have been some hitch-hiking involved - buuuuut that's a story to be told, not written. Hitch-hiking is not safe and no one should do it without very careful consideration. Rest assured, we were smart about it, and got a ride from a woman around our age who was fluent in English and very kind to drive us the remaining kilometer or so to the hotel. "Priscilla, we will toast to you every night we are in Rome!"

We got to the hotel slept for a few hours until the sun came up, then packed up and took the train/subway directly into the city, paranoid at all times of being pick-pocketed or stolen from. In Paris we never had to worry about that, but Rome is very different. After emerging from the subway and being accosted by people offering tours of the Vatican along the street, we arrived at our safehaven - the Pensione Ottaviano Hostel.

We gathered ourselves, dropped and locked all of our worldly possessions, and went out to do some exploring.

Something big and covered in statues.
Archaeological dig sites are EVERYWHERE. It seems like half the city is being ripped up.
Ran into this big guy. The Colosseum.
Vegetarian meets Italy's largest sausage


  1. Priscilla sounds about as amazing as that giant sausage looks!