Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rome - Day 16

The Easyjet flight has no hand baggage weight restriction, thank goodness. And is not very full, so we bag a window seat forard of the engines. It's a clear day, and the plane takes off westwards, circles over the Avon mouth, and describes a slow circle back up the Severn, crossing the Channel over Portsmouth. Then the cloud sets in a bit so I turn attention to figuring out where the hotel is. No luck: we isolate the general area, look in Lonely Planet, to discover that said area is the rough side of town, allegedly. Oops.

Off the plane and through the laughably absent border control. No luggage checks, Britain does not know that we even left, and we walk straight from a perfunctory passport check at Ciampino Airport, to the public land-side area. The 'something to declare' Customs lane is taped off. And bio-security aspects are confined to warning signs... There is a sole police officer with a machinegun. But the whole EU border control stuff is just daft in these times.

We catch a Terravision bus to the main train station (Termini), orient ourselves once we find the station itself, and immediately buy a Central Rome detailed map. Find our hotel street (Via Ruinaglia, which is just off a main drag, Via Cavour) and start walking. It's only 600m or so, but streets change names over major intersections, or are blocked off. Eventually we find the hotel, which turns out to be very well appointed for just 2 stars. Thanks, LastMinute.

The proprietor teaches me enough Italian to get by over the next couple of days, and recommends a ristorante just around the corner. As we have not eaten since breakfast, this works out very well. Good pasta, a quaffable red wine, and gelato. We retire happy, satisfied, and are lulled to sleep by the gentle rumble of the Linea Blue Metro (tube) trains which pass right under the hotel. Well, it is a 2 star...

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