Well, today was the start of my trip to Rome. On the whole, it went quite well, I only got really lost once, and saw everything that I wanted to see. First, though, how I got there.
I flew out of Eindhoven airport (about an hour away from Maastricht) in the afternoon, and saw Zurich and the Alps from above as we flew over them. The actual flight was shorter than I thought it would be, and uneventful. Upon landing in Rome at 6:30 PM, I got on a bus to the main hub of all public transportation in Rome, Termini train station. At Termini, I went by the tourist information place there in the station, and bought a three-day Roma Pass. This pass gives the holder free transportation on the metro and regular buses, free entrance to the first two sights that is presented at, and discounts after that on entrance fees to public sites. Armed with this, I could save a lot of money on metro fares and entrance fees.
This whole next part I blame my Rick Steves guidebook for. Now, up until this point his guidebooks have been really good, they were certainly very helpful
Il Rosario door with control panel
One of the buttons on the panel is the one to push to request to be let in.
for figuring out what I should see, and where I should stay the night in various places. But evidently to get to my lodging for the night, Steves put down the wrong bus number. Now, not having a map or the faintest idea of where in the city I needed to go was probably my fault, but I did have a map that showed where the place was, and the address, and the bus stop that I should get off at.
So I quite confidently (because I thought I knew where I was going) boarded bus #40 from the main bus terminal at Termini, and watched for the appropriate stop. When it did not come after five stops, and I figured out that there was no way to see the names of the stops we did make, I started asking people on the bus. Of course, on that particular ride no one around me spoke English. One guy I think managed to understand me, and he and the driver yelled back and forth about what was the best way for me to get there for awhile, but I guess the driver did not know anything past his route. Finally
the guy on the bus (not the driver) got me off at the next stop and took me to another bus stop across the street, and told me to wait for bus #34.
Now, by this time, I was panicking. It was 9:30 at night, I had no idea where I was, no map to show me where I was (with enough detail to help), and no way to know when to get off even if I did get onto bus #34. So I watched the road carefully, and managed to flag down a taxi. He took me to as close to my lodging as he could (part of the road was blocked off to motor traffic), and it only cost 6 euro, about $8. Now I was in the right neighborhood, on the right street, but I still had to find the place.
The building itself was Instituto Il Rosario, and was a building attached to a convent and run by Dominican nuns, along with an orphanage next door. I found the appropriate door, but could not figure out how to open it, as it was locked. I tried banging on it, moving the door handle, and nothing
happened. Then along came someone who was staying there, who showed me that I had to press three buttons on the side of the door to ring a buzzer for the attendant inside, who would then open the door. So I got in, checked in, got my room key and a map of the city, and then discovered that I had 1 hour until the doors were shut for the night to find food (it was now 10 PM). So I wandered around, but never too far because I might forget where Il Rosario was, until I found a restaurant. Of course the waiter did not speak English either, and he eventually brought me something that I think was eggplant, but I am still not sure what it was.
Anyway, I ate whatever it was, went back to Il Rosario, got inside, went upstairs to my room, and was asleep quite quickly. Tomorrow had to be a better day!
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