The Day I Went to Rome

Today is another one of those Red Letter Days of Life for me – I am now in Roma! I think I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming…

The trip from Lucca was a bit nerve-wracking – me alone on the train was a challenge. I was somewhat nervous but walked to the station with my rolly bag, got my ticket and checked to see which platform to go to. I was relieved to make it that far without incident and turned to look at the big clock to check the time.

What the???

The clock read 8:10 am. And I’m thinking it is 9:10 am. This can’t be right.

I asked a girl who was standing there if this was the right time. She looked at me strangely and shook her head yes.

Well how in thee devil did I get to the station an hour early? I made a detour to a coffee shop to check what time they had. Same. All I can figure is when I set my alarm the night before I somehow changed the time on the clock as well. Good thing I didn’t make it an hour later!

So I had coffee and waited. And waited some more. I felt like I was in a time warp. Finally I went to the platform and the train was already there but I wasn’t sure it was THE train. I sat on a bench to ask the next person who came along. No one came. Am I the only one getting on this train? Eventually a crew member came off the train and I asked “Firenze?” Yes, he replied, so I got on the train. Alone…

Soon a man came and punched my ticket so I figured I was ok but no one else got on the train for many stops. Seemed strange. But I ended up in Firenze at the right time and had to switch to a fast train to Rome. I didn’t have long so I trekked as fast as I could to the front of the station and over to track 12 just as the train pulled in. I hurried on and it was only a few minutes before the train took off again. I don’t think it was in the station more than ten minutes! Phew!

It was a relief to get to Rome but as soon as I got off the train I could tell I was in one heck of a big place. Big European cities are frantic I tell you! I was accosted by private drivers as soon as I came out of the station. “Quanto costa?” I asked one persistant man. He looked at the address I had and said 35 euro. “NO!” I said – “it should only be 10 euro!” He waved me away. Then I found the real taxi line and got a ride. I had debated about trying to save a few euro and take the bus, but thank goodness I didn’t. Just the taxi ride was harrowing. But the female driver was very friendly and took me right to the door of my B&B. And good thing – I wouldn’t have found it alone.

ImageImageI was expecting something like a hotel entrance but this was just a plain big double wood door with a row of buzzers on the wall. I pushed the one that said “Sweet Stay” and a voice came on. “I have a reservation,” I said. “hrrmmmm phhrrummm fourrrrr floor” came a muffled reply. I stood there perplexed and the door clicked open. I came into a barren looking entrance and noticed a frightening elevator – the type with a big screen on the front – and decided to take the stairs. Oh boy… fourth floor…

I was on the second flight when Piotr came rushing down saying “You didn’t take the lift!”

“It was too scary looking,” I replied. He grabbed my case and said he’d show me how it worked. So that got me to the right place. Sweet Stay is behind yet another large set of wooden doors on the fourth floor and just has a few rooms. My room has a large window overlooking the street and a private bath and is very nice. Again, I’m right in the heart of things but with a local flair. I love it!

ImageImageLooking down from my window I can see a bridge that crosses the Tiber River. And get a load of how the little cars park on the street! And it is noisy noisy noisy – very Roma chaotic.

So I had a nice little chat with proprietor Piotr and I had him mark on the map where I am so I could get oriented. Then I took a break and studied the map and the Rick Steves book and decided where I wanted to go.

When I got ready to leave the room, the other proprietor, Paola was in the kitchen across the hall and offered me coffee. I said no thanks and said I was going out exploring. She and Piotr walked me to the door and watched as I awkwardly got on the lift. Paola looked a little alarmed and asked if I wanted her mobile number. I think they were afraid I might get lost and not find my way back.

Well, indeed that is always a possibility with me when I’m alone, but I knew if all else failed I could get a taxi. So I waved and put on my bravest face and went back outside.

Oh my. The streets were teeming. I can’t think of another word for it. Teeming…

So I’ll end this post for now and tell you how the afternoon and evening went in the next post.

A presto!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ellyn
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 08:54:29

    Like Piotr and Paola, I’m worried about you too! Mrs. Potatohead is bumbling through Rome. Yikes!

    Reply

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