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National Lampoons European Vacation or Return to Roma

Brandy and I got up this morning. The room still wasn’t what either of us would call hot but far warmer than anything we’d experienced to date in Sorrento. We briefly saw the night clerk last night when we got in. It appears she quit. She told us after settling the bill and telling us about Brandy’s luggage that she was fini. Too little money for sitting around. Same woman who several nights before shrugged at us when we asked about someone checking on the heat. This morning, her keys were on the desk and she was gone.

I was in the bathroom preparing to get ready when Brandy got off the phone with the airport… in Naples… I had this fear when the woman said the night before “the airport called” – first thing that I thought was “which one?” So, yes, instead of Brandy’s luggage being in Rome where we were heading, it was in Naples where we only intended to pass through… Great… Worse? Rome didn’t send the appropriate paperwork and they needed a release from Brandy to open the luggage sent to them in 10 minutes or they couldn’t send it to the B&B… Of course… The other option was for us to travel to Naples Airport on our way – not vaguely a good thing…

We tried the fax machine at the desk, which was hard given everything being in another language but harder still when we discovered it was not plugged in… bella…

I quickly changed from PJ’s and we ran down the street hunting a place with a fax service. Finally found one and faxed the authorization. They told Brandy after they got it, “okay, will be there at 3pm…” erm… we have to checkout and noon and we are heading for Rome… great… Brandy explained and the woman said she’d see what she could do – call back in 3 minutes… We were next to the cafe that serves breakfast for our B&B, so we went in for that. Halfway through, Brandy called and they compromised with getting it to us at 1pm… okay… best case we could get. We were not delayed tons and we didn’t have to deal with more of Napoli than necessary….

Noon we left and went and sat by the gate waiting for the airport guy… tick… tock… at least it was a sunny and comparably warm day.

He showed up 20 minutes early and we were off to the races. Hopped the train to Naples and both collapsed. I kept nodding off on the way but when we got to Napoli… yuck… Much harder train station than Roma Termini. We found a ticket machine and found out that the train we wanted out only had first class seats left… of course.. 20 euro more for a bit more comfortable seats and a biscuit and water… wow… I can see what it costs so much! Still, we were happy to be on our way out of there. The funny thing is we were doling cash into the machine and a pile of change came gushing out (all we had was bills). And Mr. Panhandler was johnny-on-the-spot as if a slot machine had just paid off… We went and watched the board.. but no train numbers and nothing said Roma… okay… So, to the information desk where we’re told track 16… hrm… Arrive there… Milan!?!?! We ask one of the conducters and he confirms the train goes to Roma. I GUESS that it continues to Milan. That or Napoli’s train station is even worse than I think.

Long ride to Rome. Two guys tried to disposess us of our seats claiming that we were in their seats (by the window). I’m convinced they were wrong. I selected the window seats when I was getting the tickets, but they said never mind anyway…

Read and occasionally watched the scenery until Roma Termini arrived outside the window. So, we got checked in at the hostel. Briefly met our room-mate, Mel, who sounds as if she’s from Australia. We are only on first floor this time (one flight up)! Yaayyy!! Much easier with Brandy’s big bag which we’ve rolled up far more than enough stairs at this point.

We meandered about this evening since there wasn’t much time left for Rome. Brandy wanted to do her coins in the Trevi Fountain again. I figured that maybe going to Sorrento counted as this being another visit so did mine as well again. We wandered over to the Pantheon and I showed Brandy some of the stores I found last week. I also paid… gasp… 16 euro for three pairs of athletic white socks because that’s what I need to keep from doing any laundry before I leave.. gasp… the laundry might have almost been a better option… I was in sticker shock, but at least I found plain socks. Everything else we would consider dress socks. I asked in one shop for white socks and the woman suddenly went very cold and replied, “no white socks, bye now!” Okay, I’m American and apparently don’t know how to dress, cut me some slack but I’m wearing freaking hiking boots!

Also saw Spanish steps and hiked back to Trevi looking for somewhere to eat. Found a little cafe that seemed warm at first but after sitting awhile… brrrrr… I don’t think half the places in Italy have the concept of a door aside from when they close at night. Still, had a great lasagna followed by a tort a limone. I love lemon neck in neck with strawberry! And the Italians seem to love lemon as well, especially down in the Sorrento area where there are citrus groves every ten feet.

Well, that’s about that from Roma today. Brandy departs in the morning after breakfast. I figure on running over to Trastavere for a market that’s on Sunday mornings. Then maybe the Capitoline museum. Monday’s a blank slate at the moment but my last day in Rome. Then back to the US.

Always at a bit of a loss when trips wind down. I’m ready to see home, friends, and family again (although its been a nice change of pace to have a great friend along for a change) and to sleep in my own bed with control of my own heat! However, I feel like I’ve only turned a few pages of this place. Especially this time as I’m only just cultivating enough of a vocabulary to have a rudimentary if childish conversation with someone (tho it’s been hard to find people who don’t know some English here). And we connected with people along the way like the little old man who sneaked us into Villa Jovis yesterday. Even our hated night clerk who shrugged at our misfortune several nights ago was telling us yesterday she didn’t like her job. Lots of little moments that along with the sites made the experience more than moving from place to place. I’ll miss it but I’m sure before long the next trip will materialize.

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