When we have each other, we have everything.
Melanie picked me up at 11. With our backpacks and travel purses in tow...we were on our way to a trip of a lifetime! Jason dropped us off at the airport and we were eager to get off the ground. The flight to JFK was uneventful.
We fueled up on snacks and drinks for the long 9-hour flight and boarded the plane around 7:30. Then...we sat there...for 4 hours. There was a mechanical issue and it took them several rounds to get it corrected. So many people on the plane were worked up, but Melanie and I were just happy that they were making sure the plane was safe to fly. We snacked and watched movies while patiently waiting for the announcement that our trip would actually take place.
We eventually made it into the air and enjoyed the movies and lack of crazy, crying kiddos around us. However, neither of us got more than 3 hours of sleep. Not sure if it was the excitement or the nerves...but we were wide awake!
We landed in Rome and began our journey. First up, a call to Marco to ensure that someone would be at our rental to let us in when we arrived. He informed us that it should take only an hour to get there. Awesome...except for the fact that we didn't get there in "about an hour."
1. Had trouble purchasing train tickets because my credit card didn't have a pin
2. Went to a booth instead, but needed cash
3. Found an ATM, but it charged Melanie an $85 fee to take cash out against her credit card :(. I didn't have that issue with a debit card.
4. Got cash, got train ticket to Trastevere(Google maps suggestion)...but realized that wasn't quite going to get us where we wanted to go
5. Got off train and a nice couple suggested a train to Roma Termini and gave us a map
6. Got train tickets to Roma Temini, but it didn't list the platform we needed to be on until the last minute, so there was some stress involved with asking non-English speakers where we should be
7. Got on the Roma Temini train and made it to the station with ease
8. Left the station to find the "metro" thinking it was a bus that would connect us to our desired location. Bought "bus" tickets only to find out that "Metro" is the underground subways. Headed back underground and had trouble figuring out which train to take. Finally found something that looked similar to what you see in the London Underground and took a train to where we needed to be. Fortunately our tickets worked even though we bought what we thought were bus tickets.
Located our lodging 3 hours after landing and were pleasantly surprised. After entering a gate, a small Italian courtyard unfolds before you leading to yet another locked door. Riding the elevator with the adorable landlady was interesting. I got in with my massive backpack...Melanie gets in with her massive backpack...the landlady squeezes herself in against the door. Here's to hoping the elevator is reliable!
The apartment was adorable: a little, blue room with two twin beds, a shared kitchenette with the two other units, and a private bath with two buttons for flushing. It was exactly what we were hoping for!
After reorganizing some of the important belongings, we headed out on the town for a bit. We stopped in a little cafe and had paninos and tap water. They did not know what tap water was, so the owner told us to just say we wanted water from the sink :) ... Doesn't sound as classy, I know. Then, we were on a mission to find gelato. We stopped in a really trendy gelato shop and enjoyed using our mini cones to eat from our big cones. That was a new experience! Melanie figured it out after watching others consume...not before she took a big lick right from the cone though!
Walking around, we saw amazingly old buildings, followed the massive stone walls of Vatican City, and took in the crazy, yet functional methods of driving here. We turned in early for showers and a Skype session with family, but beds beckoned our swollen feet!
Unfortunately, we couldn't get the door to the apartment open!! We tried and tried to no avail. We ran back down the amazingly long flight of steps and caught up with a couple that was hopefully not on their first date; as that would have been a story to tell the grand kids! We told them that we couldn't get the door open and weren't sure if there was a problem with the key or with us. Knowing it was the latter, they agreed politely and enthusiastically to help us. Poor things...we made them walk up all those stairs as we were a little apprehensive about the elevator. The gentleman inserted the key, pulled the handle, and voila...opened a door. Genius! He waited for us to practice and we thanked them profusely! The keys here will be the bane of our existence!
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Ben, Julie, and Amelia