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Arriving at Rome airport

My alarm went off at 6:30, awakening me with trepidation - today I am flying to Rome, and I haven't stepped foot on a plane since my big round the world trip that ended over a year ago.  I have been growing nervous for the last few days, and my freinds were not being much help with 'You flew loads on that trip, surely it doesn't bother you anymore'.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  When I returned to England in May last year I had months of bad dreams about flying and my stomachy would tie in knots when a plane fly overhead (which is often when you live under the Heathrow flightpath!).  I even started thinking that I may never be able to get on a plane again, but that would of course, mean seeing no more of the world, or seeing my friends who live in New York and beyond.

The apartment
  Not flying is not an option!

So the day was finally here.  I rushed around getting dressed and doing last minute packing.  My boyfriend almost spilled a cup of tea into my open suitcase - that would have been a disaster.  I would have to spend 3 days in Rome wearing jeans and jumpers instead of pretty summer dresses!  Disaster averted and tea mopped up I legged it out the door with my suitcase.  I was supposed to meet my friend Sally at her house 10 mins away at 8am....it was now 8:05 and Sally does not like to be kept waiting.

I was very excited about going away with Sally - we hadn't done this since we were working together in New York.  The purpose of the weekend was a hen do for Jenni B (also of New York fame) who is getting married in September.

The apartment
  Sally and I are bridesmaids and as such we had certain bridesmaidenly duties to fulfill on this trip.  Duly, my suitcase was half full of ballons, streamers and other decorations as well as a bedsheet with an outline of a man drawn on and an A4 sized picture of Jenni B's finance's face.  This was so we could decorate the apartment we had rented to suitable hen party standards and then play 'pin the willy on Ross'.

After meeting Nikki (yet another New York survivor) at Clapham Common, we caught the bus to the train station and the train on to Gatwick Airport.  The train was really fast and bumpy so I was feeling really queesy before we even arrived at the airport - not a good sign! We waited around for a little while under the others showed up - Jenni B, her sister Kate (the third & final bridesmaid), Mandy & Keda.

The courtyard of the apartment
  That left only one more to join us - Angela - who was on a flight 2 hours behind ours.  As the time to board our flight grew closer I became more and more nervous.  By the time we were walking down the tunnel to actually get on it I was shaking uncontrollably and wringing my hands over and over.  This was great entertainment for Sally and the other girls who watched my 'OCD' with great amusement.

The flight ws actually prtty good, so after freaking out for the first 10 minutes I calmed down and in no time at all we were stepping out into the bright afternoon sunshine of Rome.  We were greeting at the airport by Michael who we had employed to ferry us to our apartment in St. Lorenzo in a minivan.  The drive was long but we gat to pass many of the main sights of the city on route which was pretty exiting.

We must be in Rome!
  Everywhere I looked there were parts of ruined buildings or crumbling walls thousands of years old standing next to completely moden buildings - it struck a strange sight.

We arrivd in St. Lorenzo which is a studenty area of the city as the university is located here.  The streets were a bit run down looking and covered in graffitti, but were full of funky little cafes, bars and record bars.  I liked it instantly.  Our apartment was set in a private courtyard full of trees and even a fountain.  The apartment itself had obviously just been refurbished into a split level place with two bedrooms each sleeping 4 people.  The owner was there to greet us and she gave us a map of the city with the local bus routes marked on, as well as some recommendations about good local places to eat.  She even left us with a basket of food and coffee and milk and juice in the fridge.

Asone of our group - Angela - was coming on a later flight we decided to go to a nearby cafe to sit in the sun and have a beer before walking to the station to meet her off the train.  The plan went perfectly, and once we had Angeka we headed to a local bar to watch the World Cup - England were playing.  I'd like to point out at this ppoint that watching football at all, let alone whilst in a foreign country is not idea of a good night out, but I was completely outvoted.  Luckily the time passed quickly with all of us chatting away, and after a couple of drinks we headed off to find a restaurant for dinner.  By this time it was 10pm but eating your dinner at this time is the norm in Italy, and the place we found was bustling.  We ate great food for a price significantloy cheaper than in the tourist spots.  Eating so late meant that we didn't get home until almost midnight, so after a long day of travelling we all headed to bed.  Unfortunatle I was sharing a bed with Mandy who snores like a train and tends to throw herself around in her sleep.  At some point in the night I awoke to find an elbow in my back, so I shuffled towards the edge of the bed.  This didnj't work as the elbow followed me.  I tried to subtely nudge Mandy but this resulted in her rolling over onto me and grabbing me in a bear hug.  I lepted out of bed to get away from her but gave up my side of the bed and my pillow in the process.  Duvetless and pillowless all I could do was curl up in the bottom corner of the bed and try and sleep on my hand.  This is where I passed the rest of thenight.

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Arriving at Rome airport
Arriving at Rome airport
The apartment
The apartment
The apartment
The apartment
The courtyard of the apartment
The courtyard of the apartment
We must be in Rome!
We must be in Rome!
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Rome
photo by: vulindlela