Trip Start May 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 05, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Aberdeen

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Friday, May 14, 2010

The airport experience in Rome was an entirely different story. I had expected a similar routine to past trips, but the reality this time was far different.  The flight from Frankfurt arrived at Terminal 1, and passengers gathered at the carousels there to collect luggage.  However, after about 30 minutes nothing had yet appeared so I asked one of the Staff, who was monitoring the exit door.  He indicated that Lufthansa passengers would have to collect our luggage in Terminal 3 (it would have been nice if someone had told us that!).  A small group from our flight walked the short distance to Terminal 3 and after getting limited details at the "Information" booths, we finally asked at the Lufthansa ticketing counter.  The Staff apologized repeatedly for the situation, but said these were “new procedures” and even they hadn't been given much information.   I was a bit upset to find out that we would again have to go through security to gain access to the luggage, and as usual there was a huge queue of passengers heading for departure.

I noticed a separate, somewhat shorter line on one side and correctly assumed that was the line for passengers collecting luggage.   There did seem to be some effort to “expedite” the process in that line.   After finally collecting my Backpack (a process which took about two hours!), I walked the short distance to the airport rail terminal for the trip to Rome on the Leonardo Express.  Although the distance to Rome is relatively short, I prefer using the train rather than a Shuttle or Taxi, as there are never any concerns about traffic and it’s an easy ride.  It’s nice that Vancouver is now offering the same type of service with the Skytrain link to YVR.  The train was hot and crowded, with every available space filled with various types of luggage.  Thankfully it was a short ride.

The Hotel that I chose this time (using the Guidebook, of course) is located only a short distance from Roma Termini (the main rail station, and in the same area as some government buildings (Ministry of Defence).  The important buildings usually have one or more members of the Carabinieri  guarding the entrance (their uniform is rumoured to have been designed by Giorgi Armani or another famous designer, and is very distinctive).  The room is very comfortable, although it’s a “single” so isn’t large by North American standards (but typical of rooms that have been “fitted” into older buildings).  My first reminder of past trips occurred when I saw the shower, which was the typical 3’ x 3’ cubicle.  I’ve discovered from past experience that one has to be very careful not to inadvertently “bump” the water control (which is usually a lever-type, rather than individual taps) towards the “hot” side!

For my first evening back in Europe, I usually ask the front desk staff at the Hotel for recommendations on nearby restaurants.  As I’m usually tired and jet lagged, I’m not in the mood to wander about looking for places to dine, and I’ve never been disappointed with the places they’ve suggested.  On this occasion, the Clerk recommended a restaurant only a few blocks from the Hotel, and I found the food to be great (accompanied by some Vino of course).  As usual, there was a “Coperto” added to the bill, but that’s typical for Italy, as well as the charge for a bottle of Aqua Naturale.  The restaurant wasn’t overly large, but was completely full by the time I left, so appears to be a very popular spot.

The walk back to the Hotel was a bit “wet”, as it had started raining heavily while I was dining.  I had to pass through a “gauntlet” of street vendors on just about every block, selling cheap Umbrellas.  It never fails to amaze me how they adapt so quickly and have the appropriate product on hand for current “market conditions”!  After returning to the Hotel, I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar sign on the front desk describing the tour schedule for a Rick Steves tour group which is also staying at this Hotel.  I’m looking forward to having a visit with the group at breakfast tomorrow and perhaps also the Guide.

I plan on having a somewhat relaxed day tomorrow, to rest and recover from jet lag as well as get organized for the photo workshop.  One of my first tasks in the morning will be to find the nearest ATM.
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Les on

Glad to hear you got there without any delays, have fun

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