Sunday, October 23, 2005: Dove La Dolce Vita?
Up early, we dragged our suitcases once again through the cobblestoned streets of Florence to the train station. We are tired of the crowds, and the wet cobblestones, and are looking forward to something new.
We hopped the 10:53 Eurostar train – clean and fast – to Rome. We emerged into the Roma Termini station just 90 minutes later, on guard for taxi hucksters, bands of scamming gypsy children, and pickpockets the American guidebooks made us afraid of. We encountered none of the above.
We grabbed a taxi and marveled at the driver’s expert and death-defying navigation through the streets of Rome, quickly learning that Rome traffic lives up to its reputation! 20 minutes and 30 Euros later, we were deposited at the edge of the Campo de Fiori, which was a short walk from our apartment located on Via del Pellegrino.
Finding the address at last, I called the owner of the apartment, Adele, on her cell phone. Thanks to me speaking just enough Italian and her speaking just enough English, she guided us up the stairs to what would be our home for the next four nights. Did I mention it was up 4 flights of very steep stairs – 57 steps to be exact? This steep climb was made extra fun by our souvenir-laden suitcases.
Michael followed Adele to a Bancomat so we could pay her the balance on the apartment and stopped for some basic groceries while I took a much-needed shower. Thankfully, M made it back in one piece and brought with him a delicious assortment of meats, cheeses, bread, fruit, and water. While M showered, I made some grilled panini sandwiches and we soon enjoyed our first meal in Rome.
Since the sun was shining and we had some daylight to spare, we decided to hop on a city bus to the Colosseum. After walking around for what seemed like an eternity we sat down at a bar for a couple of overpriced beers, feet throbbing and swelling in our shoes. Since it was a Sunday, the buses didn’t run as frequently and so we decided to walk home from the Colosseum – a walk which would be very doable on fresh legs and nerves, but a bad idea in our current physical and emotional states.
As we wound back through a dirty, overcrowded, loud, and rude-person laden section of Rome, I began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into. I was hating every step, and the filthy air and pushy people were doing nothing to help my disposition.
Where was La Dolce Vita? Were we going to be stuck in hell for four days … ?
Next: The Pantheon, cats, more cats, bus tour, and getting scammed at Trevi Fountain