Barcelona to Rome

December 21 – Traveling again

Once again, I packed my bags up and checked out of yet another hotel. Jeff’s flight was 30 minutes before mine, so he left the hotel a bit earlier. I found my way to the bus to get me to the airport. Upon arrival at about 9:30am, the international terminal was a zoo. People going every which way and lines backed up and crossing each other everywhere. I managed to find the board that told me which counter I needed to check in at and managed to check-in and check my bag by 10:30am. In the process, I found out my flight was delayed an hour and a half. With plenty of time to spare now, I found an all you can eat buffet for 7.50 EUROS serving salami sandwiches, croissants of different kinds (yes, including chocolate), cereal, juices, water, and bread. I managed to inhale 1 bowl of cereal, 4 croissants, 1 sandwich, a glass of orange juice, a bottle of a apricot juice, 1.5 bottles of water and took one sandwich and one bottle of water to go. I think I got my money worth. From there, I found my gate and waited for another 60+ minutes before boarding the plane and making my way to Italy.

After the short 1.5 hour flight to Rome, I found my way to the baggage claim where I ended up waiting an hour (maybe a little more) before the bags started to come out. Once I had my bag, I departed the terminal (no customs) and barely found my way to the train station. There were very few signs and a few pointing in the incorrect direction, but needless to say, I found the train station. I bought a ticket on the Leonardo Express to Roma for 11 EUROS just before the train departed. I ran to the platform and jumped on the train just as it was departing. When I finally settled myself into a seat, I took a look at my ticket and it said something about validating the ticket before boarding the train which, in my hast to get on the train, did not do. I asked the lady sitting across from me and she said it isn’t a problem as long as I write the date and time of the train on the ticket. In any case, no one came around checking tickets, so it wasn’t a big deal. As the train took me into the heart of Rome, I watched the huge ball of fire from the sky set into the distance. The train ride from the airport was approximately 30 minutes and from the train station I decided to take a taxi rather then deal with the Metro system. I jumped into a taxi and was checking into Hotel King at 5:30pm, exactly 8 hours after I arrived at the Barcelona airport. I really thought I was going to have a chance to do SOMETHING today, but the delay in the flight killed it.

So I checked in, asked for a restaurant recommendation and wandered around the surrounding area for about an hour before grabbing dinner. While wandering around, I bumped into a small gathering of people in the middle of Piazza Barberini. Turned out they were all Jewish and lighting a huge menorah in the middle of the piazza for the first night of hanukah. The security around the ceremony was extremely tight and since I was caring a small bag with me, they wouldn’t let me anywhere near the congregation. I admired the crowd and listened to the familiar prayers and songs for a bit from the distance and then finally made my way to Olimpio, the restaurant the hotel recommended. I can’t tell you how important this meal was. I can probably safely say Italian food is one of my favorite cuisines and the hype about the food I was about to experience was starting to kill me, particularly since I was not exactly thrilled with the food in Spain. In any case, my first meal in Roma, Italy was fantastic. I ordered a fried artichoke to start, followed by the baked lasagna, all accompanied with the house red wine and bread. Like I said, it was fantastic and I was very happy.

Trevi Fountain at Night by Justin KornAfter dinner, I decided to take another stroll to visit the famous Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). It was about 8:00pm when I got over there and there were still people all over the place. For every 10 people there, there were probably one person there trying to sell something. The most common thing I saw being sold was mini table top tripods. I can’t even tell you how many times I was offered one. In any case, the fountain was quite extraordinary. I spent some time walking around and checking out the different angles for pictures as well as watching the various people surrounding the fountain. When I was done soaking in the scene, I made my way back to the hotel.

Till next time…

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Categorized: Travel Diaries