Back in Rome 03/08/08

March 8th 2008

I just finish showering, I am now at my new hotel/hostel that I had booked myself called Carlito’s way. I had checked in at their sister Hotel Hotel Des Artiste on Villa Franca. The room itself is actually near the Russian embassy. The walls link each other. The receptionist who walked me to my room insured me because of this the particular area was safe, but out side of this tiny Russian Embassy area it was not fully safe to walk around at night alone.

When I got back after dark that night I turned down the street after walking down another street from the Metro stop, there was an armed police guard. He held more then the ordinary police issued gun.

I do feel safe in the area even if people say the Termini station area is a little dodgy at night. However I am a little nervous and to be honest this will be first time I am total alone for more then one night especially in a non English speaking country.

I finally got my luggage last night. Even though the night before that when I arrived back in Rome to find yet again I had no luggage I called the British airways customer service number tired and aggravated and in tears, and they promise me once again that my luggage will be there by morning as in by 3 am. The morning after when I got up for sightseeing I walked down to the reception area to ask if my luggage was brought in during the night. They were use to me being manic about it by now. Seeing how during the night I woke up at 3am thinking in at it was quarter after 5 am and walked down their in my Pj’s once again asking about. He told me the same thing he told me at 3 am that nothing was brought in.

After the phone call to BA, I went to included dinner on the 4th floor breakfast room. I clearly was up, and Rene asked what was wrong. I had to get up and go back to my room and get myself together. Normally lost luggage is not a big deal, but when it’s pushing five days without it gets to be to much.

When we left Florence we had arrived in Rome we were taken into Rome for a guided walking tour of some of the major tourist sights. Like Venice and most of the trip so far it rained. We did not get to see Piazza Navona like I wanted to, but we did get to see the Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, and the Panthon.

The next morning while waiting to bored the tour bus to center of Rome, Silvia, our tour guide took my luggage information and promise she would help get to the bottom of this.

Today was our free day. It started off as an optional tour of out side the Coliseum, fourms and Victor Emmanuel. I left early to go to the bathrooms and then took the metro to the Vatican. I saw St. Peter’s and the mile long line to get into the Vatican Museum. I looked into some of the shops by St. Peter’s. A thing I notice about clothes in Italian stores were their clothes were all bright neon pink, greens and yellows. From their tops and bottoms to their shoes to their accessories, and most of the stores only carry one size. Afterwards I got back on the Metro and headed for the Del Corso area to buy some more clothes.

I made my way back to the hotel for 3 o’clock. I asked the receptionist about my luggage and she claimed she knew nothing of it. Disappointed I went to my room and found my bag waiting for me there.

I laied around until it was time to go to our optional Dinner at Papa Rex near the Vatican. Out of all the experiences Contiki had offered on this trip, this dinner was far the best. There was a charming Italian opera singing couple. The gentleman got the crowd into it serenading couples and the ladies. He handed out musical instruments for us to play along. The women sung beautifully and played the piano.

The Red and white wine was fantastic. I drank several glasses and I don’t even like wine. I took home an open full bottle with the permission of waitress who probably thought I was nuts. I wanted to hopefully find this wine back in Canada when I returned. Since the bottle was open I went down to the reception and shared it with Rene, Frankie, Nicole and out tour guide Silvia.

I packed the empty bottle in my suitcase along with the bottle of Bellin Il cocktail Di Venezia.

Today we woke up at 8:45 and go ready for breakfast and was out by 10 am. Tammy and I had originally not planned to check out until later but we agreed to go with another tour mate and walk to the metro stop. The small elevator was not big enough for three and our luggage so we had to take turns going down. Once getting to reception area I knew there was no way with my suitcase full of clothes, my collapsible suitcase I brought full with souvenirs, tickets and other things I collected the last 8 days in that bag, and my oversize messenger style day bag, that I would not be able to drag all that along cobble stone streets and uphills to the closes metro stop and decided to park with more money and take a cab.

The receptionist called the cab for me. Cabs in Italy (Rome at least) they start their meters before they pick you up when they receive the call. The cab cost me 15 euros. I was unable to get into my room until 3pm. I left my bags in Des Artise hotel reception’s luggage area and took off sightseeing. I attempted to follow Frommer’s walking tour called Rome of the Ceaser but end up doing it backwards and could not find the resturant it mention but at ate at one up on the hill with a great view of the Colosseum. A can of coke and spaghetti with tomato sauce cost me a fortune at 15 euros! By then it was close to 3pm and I took metro back to the hotel.

The receptionist walked me to my room, I got settle in and made my way back to the Colosseum. I arrived there at 4:15 to find out that it was closed. I had trouble finding a working pay phone to call home but I eventually found one near a restaurant. I walked the length of Via Del Imperial until I found a restaurant. I had spaghetti, salad, 2 cokes and tip that came to 20 euros. My server was very sweet and attentive.

I stayed their till dark then walked back to the see the Colosseum lit up. Beautiful! I didn’t stay long as I was very cold and the big meal I ate was making me sleeping. I took the metro to Castro P. Metro stop. Which was 3 stops away from the Colosseum metro stop. I check my map a few times and made my way back to the hotel.

Staying in a hostel in a private room I stilled shared a bathroom. I walked down the hall and took a shower, later coming back to the room to to write, watching the Italian version of “Who wants to be a Millionaire“. “The Next Pussy Cat Dolls” and “The hills” was dubbed in Italian on MTV.

Tomorrow I plan on attention the papal blessing in the Vatican at noon.

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