Arriving in Italy!... via hell in the customs line...

Rome Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 4 › view all entries
In the morning before going to the airport, I tried to get Mary to eat a traditional English breakfast with me. She didn't like it too much, I think, as her arteries are used to healthy California food. I realized that I might be getting a little too used to the fatty, greasy carb-olicious English food...

Traveling is so tiring. Of course it can never be as easy as jumping on a plane... we had to get the Golden Boy shuttle to the tube to the airport (we had really gross food on the airport, too, which was upsetting... we spent most of the flight trying to decode its contents... three pieces of different kinds of bread with some white substance inbetween.... ugh), then oooooh man did we have a crazy time in the airport in Rome... we were both anxious to find our hostel and get some delicious Italian food FROM Italy... but customs said "Oh, no." We got to the passport check line and HOOOOOOOOLY CRAP.... it was this giant mob of people from all around the world in no form of an organized line. We jumped into the mess and tried to find a combination of courtesy and pushing that could get us a spot in the "line," but, we learned, Italians are not a fan of lines. Everyone was pushing each other and trying to cut into the front for TWO HOURS. I kid you not. It was RIDICULOUS. Everyone around us was angry and complaining and babies were crying... when a woman told some people with a baby that were trying to cut that they needed to go to the back of the line, people starting applauding. I think the reason the line was so intense, other than the cutting, and the fact that obviously several flights had arrived in Leonardo da Vinci at the same time, was that a lot of the people in the front of the line were from the Middle East, and were having some trouble fighting the language barrier to get through. We actually saw a family get turned around and denied access through customs. I wonder what happens to people who don't get through customs. Do they have to go back to where they came from? What if they don't have enough money to fly back? Do they just stay in the airport? I wonder. Fortunately Mary and I got lots of smiles coming through and didn't have to worry about this.

Then, more logistics with transportation, which was hard because neither of us speak any Italian aside from "hello," "thank you," etc. We managed to get on the last train into the city and arrived at Termini. It was REALLY nice and warm outside, which was very refreshing after how cold England is. And at night! Ah, it was so nice. We yanked our wheeled bags around the cobblestone to the hostel, shoved off our stuff, and ran to the first decent restaurant we could find. We quickly ordered a big pizza to split, which was DELICIOUS... Italy has lovely thin-crusted pizzas. We got rocket, proscuitto and I think tomatoes on ours. SO good. The people sitting next to us were from England. It's funny how when you're in a non-English-speaking country, other English-speaking people cling to you once they hear you speaking English, like you are a great breath of fresh air for them, and must connect to them through some understanding of feeling lost and unsure in a new place. They asked us a lot of questions about how come we were from America and didn't like country music, etc., but we were too tired to entertain them for too long and ran back to the hostel.

The hostel was... interesting. It was in a great location as far as being near the main modes of transport, but there was definitely room to complain. There was only ONE bathroom for about 24 people, which was really bad as far as taking showers and having a small bladder were concered. Also, Mary and I's beds (mine in particular) were SOOOOOO lumpy. It was funny, even how terribly lumpy they were. I can't even believe I slept on there. Well, I hardly did, really. There was a big slump in the middle from people sleeping on it. And it was really loud outside because there were crazy Italians singing in the middle of the night. Ugh. So bad.
callmechia says:
You're right, Italians are NOT fans of lines! My professor even make a joke about that in one of his (Italian) lectures! We always laugh about the bus stops especially, there is never any sort of organization at all, just a mad dash of pushing and shoving!! Haha!!
Posted on: Mar 01, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: vulindlela