We arrive in Rome and head for Perugia.
Rome Travel Blog› entry 2 of 24 › view all entries
Arrived in Rome at 8.30 a.m. on July 6, breezed thru customs (I had to open my luggage, Carol didnât, probably because I said âbuon giornoâ and she said âgood morningâ). Then off to the baggage claim, where we had to wait for 20 minutes for the luggage to start appearing.
And we waited, and waited, and people began lugging off their baggage, and no purple suitcase!! Carol was about to freak. The lady next to Carol mentioned she had arrived in plenty of time for the flight, so there was no reason why her luggage shouldnât be here.
different carousel, and right next to it was the purple suitcases! Sigh of relief!!
After hitting the ATM, we scoped out the train station, picked up our railway tickets, then sat around waiting for another colleague of Carolâs to arrive. She met S.T. and showed him what tickets to buy, then we sat to wait for our train, which wasnât supposed to depart for another hour.
We spotted this good-looking man, late 20s, wearing black and white checked shorts, carrying a newspaper, but no suitcase in tow. He just sorta meandered here and there; looked a little out of place to us. Then the local polizia appeared on the scene, and lo and behold, checked-shorts melts away.
I got the bright idea that we should take an earlier train into the Rome terminal (they were departing about every 20 minutes), and maybe have time to grab a bite to eat. So we decided to take the next Roma Termini train to depart the station, instead of waiting for ours.
When the train arrived, people were massing at the doors, and the door to the coach where we were wouldnât open âŚ probably because the people getting off on the other side of the train hadnât all de-trained. But whatâs going on ... the other doors are open, people are boarding, why
wonât our door open? FINALLY, it opened and people jammed the doorway. Itâs like there may not be enough seats for everyone. Push, shove, get on get on get on!!! I was first of our party to board, found us some seats, and turned around looking for Carol. Sheâs just getting on the train; one of her slide-in shoes came off when she was trying to board and it almost fell off the platform underneath the train! Fortunately, she was able to retrieve her shoe, and we were saved the trip of hitting the Ferragamo shoe store in Perugia before we checked into the hotel.
It wasnât until the train was underway and the conductor appeared to punch our tickets that we discovered we were on the wrong train!!!! EEEEEK!! We were supposed to be on the Roma Tiburtini train, not the Roma Termini train!!! More adrenaline rush!
The good news âŚ because we were on the wrong train and going all the way into Rome, we did get to see the ruins of the Roman aqueduct, and some other nondescript ruins.
The bad news âŚ upon arrival at Termini, we had to scurry to figure out how to get to Tiburtini to catch our train to Perugia. S.T. screeched to a halt to read a train schedule posted on a wall, and discovered our train to Perugia stopped at the Roma Termini before stopping at Roma Tiburtini. We just might have to pay an additional fee to ride from Roma Termini to Tiburtini. No sweat. Whew! Get the heartbeat back to normal. The train left from Binario 2. So off we trekked to Binario 2. Which was only at the other end of the 26 tracks from where we were.
So weâre sitting at Binario 2, the train to Florence departed, and the track notice board was blank. And stayed blank. And so we sat. And watched a Eurostar train come in on Binario 1. And still no train in sight for Binario 2. Then I started getting a little antsy, because it was only 10 minutes till our Perugia train was to depart, and the notice board was still blank, and there was no train in sight. Hmmmmm........ Maybe weâre on the wrong track......
So I scurried up to the end of the track (6 coaches plus an engine), checked out the notice board for Binario 1, and sure ânuf, it was our train to Perugia! Dashed back to Carol and S.T. (an engine plus 6 coaches), grabbed the suitcases (by now, Carol has 2 pieces of baggage to pull, and itâs sorta like herding chickens down the road), more scurrying to the head of the track (6 coaches plus an engine), over to Binario 1, and raced down the train to coach 6. Made it âŚ with about 3 minutes to spare!! Whew!! More adrenaline rush!! But we were finally on the right train heading for Perugia.
The country north of Rome was all hill country, and whenever we could catch a glimpse of countryside from the train (between the tunnels and the heavy foliage alongside the train tracks), we could often see old hillcrest towns, with their defensive wall and tower. And we discovered that the Italians would rather put in a tunnel through a hill than go around or over it. Most of the houses we saw had vegetable gardens, and of course, a small vineyard. Crops included corn, wheat and sunflowers âŚ acres and acres of sunflowers. Olive groves marched across the hillsides.
We passed Assisi, and we were far enough from it that the view of the city was simply awesome! The walled and turreted citadel on the crest of the hill, the old town itself gathered around the skirts of the hill, and the wall surrounding the town. Simply magnificent!
When we pulled into the station at Perugia S. Gimignano (or some such saintâs name that started with Gi), we had the presence of mind to ask someone else if this was the Perugia stop. Which was a good decision, as it wasnât the Perugia stop, and we might have been left standing on the wrong platform. Weâd had ânuf adrenaline for one day!! Or two days, as the case may be.
AAAH.... Perugia at last. We got a taxi, and wended our way up the hill to our hotel, Hotel Gio. I would have hated to climb that hill with luggage.
Our hotel was nice, but certainly not 4-star, as the literature would have you believe. We took a short rest, then met Carolâs boss (Gong) and headed out to dinner. âSort of a long walk,â she said. She neglected to mention it was straight up hill. And up, and up, and up some more.
The old architecture of Perugia is simply amazing, I was sorry I hadnât taken my camera with. (Note to self: Must make an effort to get back to a couple of spots we passed ... but Iâm not hiking up the hill. There is a bus that goes up there.)
We had dinner in a cute tiny trattoria, I tried some of my Italian on the Chef, he was delighted, and in return he presented us all with a pin!! Then it was off to find a gelateria, of course. Then it was back down the hill, and off to bed. 24 hours without sleep is too much for this old lady. Of course, we went to sleep almost immediately, but I didnât make it thru the night without leg cramps, because of all the running/hiking/mountaineering we did.