Napoli to Roma!

Rome Travel Blog

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MONDAY After a light brkfst the hostel provided, we are out the door for our return bus to the stazione, but it's not coming. Even a local woman is impatiently gesturing with her hands about the bus. Judge sees the piazza outside the station from where we are (we had to find the R2 stop because arrived on one-way street), and says intelligently, Dave, if we're gonna walk it we need to leave . We left immediately and when J picked up my black bag draped over my rollerboard to expedite things even more (slow negotiating the multiple sidewalk edges over and over) I figured after working up a good sweat, we'd have time leftover.
We did have 10 minutes, time enough to get waters, and get settled before our 9:24 Intercity train departure to Rome. 2 friendly Americans from NC sat with us, and we talked all the way to Rome! Great time, he does voiceovers and I was interested. His site is He and his wife hated Napoli, especially that their hotel had no food when they arrived and was in the middle of an industrial part of town. Crazy. They only were visiting Italy for 2 weeks. Although our windows were cleaner this time, our first class car lost it's air conditioning and became very warm. Ridiculous.
I stood in line to get our next 2 required RR supplements. Doesn't it seem crazy to have a rail pass and then have to spend in this case another 60 Euro or $100 MORE to ride a nice train? A short lady jumped the line and smiled at me. After reading about thieves here over and over, I got real nervous that she was going to steal something from me or the folks behind me. I kept facing her, fully prepared to yell YO! to J which is our emergency code word. J was standing away against a wall. Then we went outside and I sprung for a cab which took us directly to our hotel. A+. Costs extra for bags of course. The hotel clerk knew my name when we arrived! We had fun talking. He's high energy for sure. Said 20 minutes and room would be ready, it's just before noon. We settle in. No shower curtain at all. Not supposed to be one. Room is warm.
J is on a determined mission now to pack as much as possible with our limited time, and 60% chance of rain. We explore just a block away the magnificent white columned Vittorium, a museum inside. It's a HUGE building undergoing cleaning somewhat on the outside. Then it's off to the Pantheon. This was my highlight of Roma! After we drank in the rotunda with opening at top, J started his MP3 player featuring Rick Steves who talks about the Pantheon. We each had one earbud in and were able to sit in a few rows of pews together. How Perfect! Notes I took included: Next year, it will be it's 1400th year of continuous availability to the public for a place of prayer. 55 ton solid columns came from Egypt! It's 142 feet across and high. Raphael, who contributed to the creation is buried there. 20 foot-thick walls brick and concrete thin to 5 foot at the top. Dome is concrete! This was a first of it's kind, especially the 32-foot circular opening at the top, providing the only light inside. All faiths have always been welcome. Statutes of gods changed to more Christian themes.
Rick mentions the Trevi Fountains and I tell J we Have to go there... we do. It's all cleaned up too! Then another longer brisk hike, we are really pushing it.. to the Colliseum. There is a metal detector at the entrance, and J says he'll never make it past there with his daypack, and I happily offer to guard it while he goes in, I've been in there twice anyway. Great people watching, got a few drops, long conversation with a grandmother from Edmonton, and meet her daughter later who went to IU in Bloomington, IN! Neet! Then a man happens along to the place where I've been sitting, and turns out he used to live in Danville, KY, AND is retired of the Southern Railway! We had Lots to talk about! I had been thinking about my travel buddy Don Veazey recently, who died 3 years ago, and just got yesterday an e-mail from his wife, Carol who said how much fun he had had with me... and now I am looking at a guy who looks EXACTLY like him! Then, to top it off, Don and I were both assigned to Danville, KY working for the NS at the same time, even roomed together for a week, and Don is ex-Southern Railway too. It was one of those moments that you think you are being communicated to, or spirit revealing or something.
J comes out all smiling, had listened to Rick on another recording inside, and with rain about to happen, we hiked quickly back to the hotel across slippery street bricks, as it had really begun to rain. Room which had become hot during the day is now nice and cool.
I had little interest in the Vatican so let J go off to see it, and I relaxed in the room. He hiked there in 15 minutes (I call it the Vatican shuffle) and was very satisfied, heard another Rick audio talk. 8:15pm. Talking in the room, a big thunderstorm erupts all of a sudden, and at 10 we think we better eat something. Restaurant just around the corner made it easy in the rain. J has yet again a pizza. I had lasagna and a ..25liter of vino della casa red. All good. Still raining.
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photo by: vulindlela