Friday, December 18, 2009

When in Rome...... (Part IV)

Dec. 3rd was a travelling day to Rome. It was also my 25th birthday.

We woke up in Marseille, France at the family house, got ready with our bags and left to the airport to catch our first plane back to the London hub.

We arrived in London right before lunch time and decided to have lunch at the airport. We patiently awaited for our next flight to take us to Rome, quickly coming to realization that our vacation was coming to an end. Rome would be our last destination.

We arrived in Rome fairly late in the evening, and had a bit of a harder time getting to our hotel. The language barrier was a bit problematic, but most agents and customer service at the train stations managed to speak english and guide us in the right direction. However, we hadn't done any research on how to arrive to the hotel, and I became overwhelmed lugging around my heavy briefcase and not knowing which bus to take. I got the ingenious idea to call the hotel to tell them where I was at (about 7km away) and ask how to get there. The manager told us to take one more metro ride and arrive to the stop where there would be a shuttle bus waiting for us. I was so relieved and Sebastian very happy.

We arrived at the hotel and quickly unpacked our stuff and got into bed. Sebastian had been very hungry and got frustrated when the supermarket right across the street closed as soon as we got there. I told him to eat some of the sausage we had brought back with us from Marseille, and the sandwiches we had been given onboard our flight.

The next day, we woke up to have breakfast downstairs and catch our first glimpse of the weather- gray, dull and hazy. We took the shuttle to the metro station and made our way into central Rome, unfortunately in some rain. We slowly strolled around going from one landmark to the next.

We had dinner at a tiny restaurant where I managed to spit out the phrase "acqua di rubinetto" to specify that I wanted tap water and not bottled water at 3€.

We went back to the hotel and had some more sausage while we watched TV and drank cappuccinos.  I mentioned to Sebastian that I had found it entirely fortunate that we had not been subjected to loud sex by next door guests in any of the hotels. As we were watching TV, we suddenly hear the moans of a man in the next room. I wasn't sure if it was sex or talking, so I immediately put my ear to the wall when Sebastian went into the bathroom (where apparently he was doing the same thing.) It became apparent that it was a SEX session when I heard the sound of skin slapping against two body parts.

There's no way that's masturbating, right?

We quickly heard the moaning grow louder, nearing its grand finale. We never once heard the woman make a peep. We laughed when it was done, telling ourselves that we would compete the following night.

The last day, we took the metro to the Vatican city. What bothered me the most were the incessant amount of peddlers coming up to us to sell crapless roses or offer guided tours of the main momuments. One guy bothered me so much as I was getting my picture taken that Sebastian yelled out "Hey! We're taking a picture here" and motioned for him to move out of the shot.

We arrived at San Pedro's Plaza, the entrance to the Vatican City, to see them setting up the christmas tree. The plaza itself was incredibly big, and Sebastian and I took a break on the steps before we continued to the next place.

We also found Rome to be a lot dirtier and ruder than the other 3 cities we'd visited. It seemed that as further south we headed, the harder it got. I think it has a lot to do with not being able to respond in Italian, even though I can understand a majority of it (I also speak french and spanish fluently)

As we came back to our hotel to pack up our bags, I finally let out a sigh of relief. The trip had come to an end- and a very good one at that. In preparation for our early 8am flight the next day, Sebastian opted for reassurance and commodity to arrive on time at the airport and decided to pay for a shuttle to come pick us up- at the tune of 65€. It hurt me a bit because it was the equivalent to what we'd spent on two nights at the hotel, but it was going to take us too long to do it by bus, metro and train.

That night, as we sat in bed watching the last bit of TV and talking, I remembered how excited I'd been at the beginning of the trip and thinking that maybe 12 days wouldn't be enough. I told Sebastian that after 11 days, I was ready to come home as I was beginning to feel a little homesick, and moreover tired of lugging our luggage from hotel to hotel, unpacking and packing every 3 nights, and hopping on 6 flights and 1 major train ride- plus countless other subways, trains,metros, trams and cars.

We had concluded our trip to Europe- "planes, trains, and automobiles." It was over, but time to come home. Before leaving our hotel room though, the guests next door decided to grace us with a going away gift: Loud laughter and sex at 2:30am, when we had to wake up at 5am.

Sebastian was pissed and made a shitload of noise at 5:00 am when we began getting ready to leave. I just laughed along.

There's a few lessons that that I've learned on this trip-

1) "Free wi-fi" does not mean free wi-fi
2) Pack light
3) Getting lost in Paris is Priceless. There's always an interesting sight to see around each corner.
4) Learn to ask for "tap water" in the different languages. It's free.
5) Carry coins to use the restrooms in Paris and Marseille shopping malls, public restrooms.
6) Wear comfortable shoes.
7) Read the destinations on subways and metros before hopping on.
8) Try a new dish each time
9) Carry cash to leave tips.
10) Pray you don't get a room next to an Italian Couple.

We now return to our regular programing.

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