Monday, July 2, 2007

Roma - siamo qui in fine!

We arrived at our hotel in Rome very late in the evening yesterday. Fortunately Chris, my nephew, was already there as the directions we had were no use because driving up and down the main street it was impossible to see street signs or even the name of metro stations. After some aimless driving, we phoned Chris who walked to the main road from the hotel and became a living signpost.

The passport control queues at Rome airport were very long. By the time I walked some distance to find the car rental office and deal with the paperwork, then walked back to the arrival hall where the boys were waiting with the luggage, then all walked with luggage to the parking garage to pick up the car and load it up it was getting on for 10pm.

The day started off with a minor drama as when we went to check in at Heathrow there were no bookings on the flight for Richard and I. I had checked-in Darcy via the web the previous night as he had an electronic ticket. Richard and I have paper tickets and we had made our reservations via the Air Canada office at Ottawa airport in January. I had double checked them subsequently so I was certain all was okay. According to the Swiss Air clerk at their ticket counter, they had contacted Air Canada to confirm the reservations in May and because they never responded, the bookings were cancelled ! The flight was fully booked so I had to pull out all stops to get us on the flight (poor Darcy has never seen that side of me and probably hopes he never does again).

I really like the City Guest House where we are staying and would recommend it to other travellers. For Rome it is very reasonable, we paid 140 euro per night for the four of us and there were two rooms in the suite and it was obviously recently renovated and in very good taste. They have stored a lot of our luggage for us while we travel around Italy for these two weeks. They have an open-air patio where they serve breakfast which is included in the rate. In comparison, where we stayed in London was an expensive dump.

I really struggled to find any Italian in the beginning. All that would come would be French words. Every day though the situation improves and words and phrases are starting to come back to me. The boys did two half day tours, one of Imperial Rome with Chris and this morning I did the Classic Rome tour with them. Darcy is more interested in the sights and the history than Richard so it is good to have him along. They are all getting along really well together which is great.

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