Monday, July 16, 2012

Travelogue – arrival

(Yeah! Internet access from my hotel! Well, the lobby... So to start posting the suff I wrote over the last week.

I started writing this Tuesday evening, but I don't know when I'll post it. The hotel login system said something about cookies being a problem but is too vague about what and I can't seem to find where in Firefox to do anything about it.

While I'm kvetching, In spite of my care when making hotel reservations Orbitz has me staying here one extra day, meaning I am booked in two hotels for the same night. Yesterday (when the hotel let me onto the network) Orbitz showed an error when I tried to change it.

But onto stories about the trip.

Friend B volunteered to take me to the airport on Sunday, but then declined because we couldn't work out a schedule such that she wouldn't miss the church picnic. Friend A (the one who usually takes me to the airport) agreed to pick me up extra early before service (because she was greeter) so she could dash to the airport between service and picnic. So I was ready by 9:15. As we walked in the door, friend B cam up and apologized. The picnic is next week. But no need to go home for lunch because there was no food in the house. So I was plenty early for the flight.

The flight from Newark to Rome was not full, so I had a two-seat row to myself. That meant I had two pillows.

… I'm glad my netbook has a battery. The power just went out for a couple minutes. Back on now. …

With about 300 people on board it takes about an hour to serve dinner and about that long for breakfast, so there isn't a lot of sleep in a 7.5 hour flight. I also didn't sleep well the night before, apparently anxious about going. But I guess it was enough sleep.

My first ATM offered to let me choose a language. When I chose English it offered to let me choose a language. I'm glad I had dollars to exchange for Euros to get a bus into the city.

That bus ride was the first I saw of the ever present motor scooters. They have no fear of slipping between anything.

The bus took me to the central train station and it was about a half-hour walk to the hotel. I'm at the Hotel Giolli in Rom, which you can barely see in this picture. To the left of that sign was another hotel sign that got me to laugh.

At the hotel desk the clerk said he would be with me soon. Have a seat in the lounge and he would let me know when he could help me. Yup, lots of others in the lounge and it as 45 minutes before it was my turn.

Once registered, I grabbed camera and other stuff for the day and headed out to wander the streets. And wander I did – all over the downtown area. I've got pictures to prove it.

Past the huge monument to the first Italian king. This is Victor Emmanuel. I heard about him through music history. In the mid 1800s Guiseppi Verdi, opera composer, included The Song of the Hebrew Slaves in his opera Nabucco. For a country split into little chunks, many governed by foreign powers, this became a national rallying cry. And Verdi's name became an abbreviation for Victor Emmanuel, Roi (king) del (of ) Italy (at least that's what I think it is). So this monument is a point of national pride, though many think it is a trifle overdone and took too much space out of the ancient Roman Forum. Yes, for over a thousand years (500 to 1850) Italy was a bunch of competing territories.

Over to Campo de Fiori to see the open-air market (huge selection of pasta and spices for sale), across the river and up the hill to the park with the monument to Garibaldi (he was an important freedom fighter in Rome after unification when the outside rulers didn't want to lose their territories – one learns a lot from historical markers).

Down the hill to the river to the Castel Sant' Angelo with a view of St. Peter's.

Across the river and into Palazza Navona.

Into the Pantheon (an amazing spherical dome built in the 1st Century).

Past the Trevi Fountain.

And over to the Spanish Steps.

Yes, stops for lunch and supper along the way. Back to the hotel about 9:00 when I tried to fix the reservation problem, and into bed by 10:00. I slept well, apparently over jet lag. The room is small and somewhat warm (the AC doesn't work – neither do the lights – unless the room key is inserted in a box by the door).

I may have to rethink these posts that include lots of photos. It takes nearly a minute to upload each one.

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