Texans Roam Rome

Rome Travel Blog

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5.13.09    Texans Roam Rome  


Quote of the Day:  “The city of Rome is like a museum!”  (Lia)


Rome is lovely.  It is graced with soft-colored buildings, piazzas every 100 yards, black square cobblestone streets, ironwork balconies with flowers, and fountains to cool the heat of the city.  Yes, it is hot with the sun strong enough for a good sunburn.  The shade feels nice, but the mid-day heat was a bit tiring.


This morning we enjoyed the pool and internet at the campground.  We made a list of questions for the campground Information Center:  everything from getting laundry change, bus tickets (Lia is free - under 11), internet wifi free codes, and maps.  Having a list not only deems us serious, but insures that we cannot be hurriedly brushed off.  Very efficient and highly recommended.  Fortunately, all the people we’ve met at the campground are most delightful.


We also enjoyed the campground store, that is well-stocked and substantially sized.  While I’m sure the prices at the large store across the street (across the pedestrian bridge) must be cheaper, prices aren’t ridiculous at the camp store. 


I bought at the store a bottle of Heineken beer for Charles and promised to drink it for him so he can keep it as a souvenir.  What a sacrifice!  It is red and green with “Roma Finale 2009” on it for the Champions League.  It’s for the football finals that Barcelona won when we were there! 


Charles has been wearing his Barcelona jersey, but tonight is another game, this one is the Italian Cup with Rome vs. someone.  They are showing the game right now at the pool on the flat screen TV.  We saw people tonight going to the game, wearing blue jerseys and waving flags from the back of motorcycles.  Everyone is very excited!


This afternoon about 1:30 pm, we headed into downtown Rome.  We caught the 247 bus just feet from the campground entrance to the Cipro Metro station.  We then took the Metro to the Flaminio station, where we walked to the Piazza de Popolo.  Jazy won the bet on how old the column is in the center of the square- it is 3200 years old! 


We walked along Via del Corso, climbed the Spanish Steps, saw the Keats Museum where he died at age 25, admired all the designers storefronts along the Via Condotti (Gucci, Armani, etc), admired the enormous Monuments a Vittorio Emmanuele II, walked through the glass walkways over recent Roman excavations, gazed down the road at the Coliseum (which we’ll see later), and backtracked to the Trevi Fountain, which we missed earlier by about 100 yards, where we threw coins over one shoulder and into the fountain to insure our return visit!  Whew- great fun! 


We then attempted to return to the campground.  You’d think we’d have public transportation figured out by now.  But no!  We had all sorts of mishaps getting home.  We missed two different buses by mere seconds, among other things.  Needless to say, we’re not feeling too confident right now about our mastery by the end of our trip!



In Italy, you can board the bus at any door, but you have to purchase your ticket in advance.  On the bus, you put your ticket in the yellow machine to validate it.  There’s big trouble to pay if you get caught without a validated ticket!  You can get off at any door too, including the front door.  You push a button to indicate your stop and then a light flashes overhead in Italian saying that a stop has been requested.



On the way home, we did manage to see the pedestrian bridge and get off at the right stop. Amazing!  We arrived back to the campground around 7:30pm and got Charles the requisite pizza as take-away from the café here.  It was just 5E and delicious- we all got a sliver of his pizza, although we’d bought our own earlier near one of our bus stops while we waited.  We have a rule for Charles:  Don’t miss a single day in Italy without pizza!


Jazy and I bought Italian wine and Diet Coke from the store. We did ask at the campground café if they’d serve Jazy wine, only from curiosity, not that I’d want my 14-year-old drinking alcohol.  They are a private establishment and if I, as the Mother, wanted a glass of wine or a beer for my daughter, that would be fine with them.  Now, if she came in alone and asked for a double-whiskey, then they might pause on that one.  At least this is the way it was explained to us.  Interesting…


Finally, we lounged in the chairs by the pool at sunset and played volleyball in the sand court.  Some teens from Switzerland showed up with their volleyball, so we invited them to play.  In short time, we threw out the usual rules and one could catch, hit, kick, or whatever to get the ball in play and over the net.  It was great fun -until they kicked their ball out of bounds and it slipped through the fence and down in the jungle leading to the highway.  Oops!


It really was a jungle!  They attempted to find the ball from the top of the hill and we ran around to head up, but it was futile with the overgrowth and I think some nettles stung me.  Nettles are stingers on plants that feel like fire ant bites or bee stings.  Lia has gotten them several times before on this trip, but fortunately Orla was kind enough to include nettle ointment in Sugar’s medical kit, so I put on some of that.  I think that is a real benefit of an RV exchange- they give us nettle creme and we provide them calamine lotion for poison ivy! 


The nice night watchman, who is from Africa and has a lovely personality and smile, said he would have them look for the volleyball tomorrow.  We were really glad that our playmates were the ones who sent the ball into the jungle, rather than us!  I do hope their ball gets retrieved tomorrow, but we did have a great time and memory playing pseudo-volleyball with folks with whom we don’t even share a common language.  That is one of the joys of traveling here!


So we’re taking showers now in the blue-marble bathrooms, reading Harry Potter, and will tackle another part of Rome tomorrow. 


City Transportation:

Since most of our adventures include taking the metro and then walking around to see the sights, we think the best plan is to”

1.  Choose an area to explore 

2.  Get there on the metro 

3.  Walk around 

4.  Use metro/bus to return to campground. 


Single tickets (1E each) are more economical and flexible for us, something I would not have suspected.  It costs just 6E total for round trip tickets each day for 3 of us (Lia is free).  If you have a few days, that plan really is less crazy than trying to see an entire city in a day with a pass.  Plus, sometimes you need a day off, but multi-day passes require consecutive days of travel.  So think carefully about whether you’ll need a daily pass before you pay for one.


We talked tonight of how our anticipation of camping in Europe was more weird than actually doing it.  It doesn’t seem strange to us at all- are we changed or is the experience just not that different from the U.S.?  It all starts blending together after awhile.  Regardless, we have no stress from the camping international experience at this point in time and are really loving this experience!


I’m off to take a shower in the blue marble bathroom!




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photo by: vulindlela