Monday, October 20, 2008

Basel to Rome

This morning was a very early morning for the both of us. We didn’t get to bed until around midnight, so the many 5:00 am alarms came very early. We managed to get ourselves together and ready for the cab. We’re still not sure what language they spoke in Basel, but it was a new one for us. Our taxi driver didn’t speak any English, so that was interesting. We made it to the station just a few minutes after 6:00 am. We found the platform and managed to get ourselves up there. The train was already there, so we loaded up all of the bags.
There were only 2 other people on the train at that hour. It was still very dark out so we snoozed a bit. We woke up and it was starting to get light out with some heavy fog. What woke me up was this buzzing noise and something hitting my head. There is evidently a button that operates the sun shade and it was coming down as I fell asleep on it. What a rude awakening! Once the dining cart opened I went down and bought croissants and coffee and coffee for our breakfast. We then enjoyed our breakfast as we came upon the Swiss Alps.
The scenery was very beautiful with only a few snow-capped peaks in sight. We managed to doze off again and missed the end of the Alps and we were only 15 minutes from arriving in Milan. Fortunately our next train was only one platform over, so it made for an easy transition. We are now seated next to a mother/daughter pair from Chicago who are going as far as Florence.
We should be arriving in Roma Termini at 15:30. We began talking to Anna and Danielle and found out that the daughter, Danielle has been studying in Estonia for 2 months and is now on holiday between exams and going to Morocco for 2 months. Her Estonian family had given her some fruited bread for the trip which she was kind enough to share with us. It was very good and was almost pumpernickel bread with large pieces of fruit in it. We’re not exactly sure what kind of fruit, but it was good. Considering all we’d had today was that and a croissant about 7:00, it was a nice snack. The trip down to Rome was about 4 ½ hours and had very nice scenery – more vineyards! We arrived in Rome exactly on time and headed out to find a cab. This is where the day started going downhill a little bit. He took us to the street of the hotel, but said he couldn’t drop us off because of the construction. So here we were with two large suitcases and a backpack on a gravel road. We made it about ½ way down the road and the numbers weren’t adding up. I had to leave mom with the luggage to go and explore to see where we needed to go. I had tried asking in a cafe, but they didn’t speak English. I finally found that it was another block and a half in the other direction, so it was back through the construction, carrying all of the bags and up to the hotel. Needless to say, I was not a “happy camper”. We did get checked in to the hotel which is nice, very Italian. They have a lot of security measures in place including doors on each floor that are activated by a card pass (like at office buildings), and there are security cameras in all of the halls. The rooms are extremely quiet as we found out when we opened the window to a very noisy street down below. Once we got in our room we almost immediately set back out as the daylight hours were waning. We walked about ½ mile down to the Collosseum complex.

It is hard to explain what it was like for me to be standing in front of it, and especially having mom there too. I’ve seen so many pictures, watched so many shows, but to actually be here is quite something. I spent my time taking lots of pictures, but was in need of an ATM. There was a brief bit of difficulty, but a young Italian woman helped me out and I was most appreciative. At this point it was about 18:30 and we were starving. We stopped at a little street side restaurant to get our Italian food fix. Mom had lasagna and I had a caprese salad and Margarita pizza. We of course had to have some Chianti and finished off the dinner with some wonderful gelato. Mom had the hazelnut (Nicola) and I had the chocolate chip (Specitella). With our appetites sated, it was time to go back and crash. We are both so exhausted. We did talk to Dad and Hunter which always makes our day. I do not have internet, so I am going to have to post this when I can. We have a car picking us up at 10:30 tomorrow morning to take us to Civitavecchia, and yes, I can now pronounce it!!! We are both looking forward to a little R&R.

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