Sunday, 3 April 2011

All Roads lead to...

March 18 2011

Our cell phone alarm went off at 6:00 local time, and we dragged ourselves out of our comfortable beds to watch the sun rise. I woke Alden, but he was slow to rise, so I told him where we would be and Rachel and I went to the upper deck to se if we could determine which direction we were headed, and thus the position of the sunrise.
We walked around a bit and figured out which spot on the horizon was the brightest and figured that for the position of the sun.
Alden showed up in the nick of time and got to sit with us and watch the sun rise over the Mediterranean Sea. It was beautiful.

After sunrise we went back to out cabin and packed up for Rome. We arrived in Rome somewhat after 9:00. We then had to take a train into Rome proper, as we were on the outskirts.

On arrival at the train station we debarked and headed for the street. A man accosted us and asked if we needed a cab. We said "yes", and he hustled us into the street and loaded our luggage into our cab. Most train stations and airports have a cab line outside and usually and elderly gentleman at the head of the line pointing out the next available cab to the tourists. This guy was a rogue driver and a hustler who didn't abide by traditional methods. We gave him the address of the Hotel Turner, where we were going to stay. He swung out into traffic, and the next ten minutes made the pod race from Star Wars look like a kiddy ride. The guy was nuts and totally aggressive. He fought for every centimeter of space, wedging his bumper in front of other folks to crowd his way in and slamming us back into the seat with wild acceleration as he tried to gain an extra 20 meters or so that was unoccupied. We finally arrived at ur hotel miraculously unscathed with several more white hairs than we had started with. He charged us 25 euros, which was a ripoff, but I figured it was a cheap lesson in international travel, and didn't want to take up a bunch of vacation time in a police station. I gave him the 25 euros and we got our luggage out of the cab.
We checked into the Hotel. It is a wonderful place to stay in Rome and I would recommend it for anyone who plans to go to Rome. One odd thing about it was that the key had an accompanying stud that had to be inserted into a dock in the wall in order to turn on the lights. The hotel had a nice king-sized bed and a bath with a shower that had a line of jets to spray your whole body down at once. It was wonderful.
We walked to the "termini", which is the bus station, and found a tour bus. Tour buses brand you as a tourist, but many other things brand you as a tourist too. You really can't pass as an Italian without extensive study, so why try?? We paid our 20 euros, which granted us passage on the bus line for 48 hours.

Rachel and Alden on the tour bus
These are "hop-on-hop-off" buses that allow you to spend any amount of time at a particular site and then allow you to jump on the next available bus and proceed to the next place where you want to hop off and spend some time. We stayed on the bus for a tour of the city, made a list. The first was the Coliseum. We stayed on the bus and drove by the Coliseum and the Arch of Constantine. The arch was built by a guy named "Joe", but for some reason they call it the "Arch of Constantine".
Seriously, Constantine was the first christian emporer of Rome. He built the arch to commemorate his victories, and later converted to christianity. We figured it was too late to brave the crowds of tourists trying to get in, and decided to come back in the morning and actually have time enought to see things without a rush.

We got back to the hotel around 9:00 P.M., and watched some Roman tv. We saw "Celebrity Isolation" (Italian "Survivor") and French Idol.

We looked for a grocery store and a laundromat, but didn't find either.
We went to a restaurant around the corner, had dinner, and retired to the hotel so we could have a lot of daylight to nurn the next day.

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