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Published: June 23rd 2012
A sad sad day.
We have Ro return the car today. No more freedom to go here and there. No more Stella telling us where to go (nicely of course). No more clothes sitting on the back seat. Meaning that we have to pack bags for flight mode and be ready to go.....
We do breakfast at the hotel in Sperlonga. A final walk up to the shops for some extra bits we want then back to the car. Farewells to the staff and off we head towards Rome airport where we have to drop the car.
Stella has a real workout today. "turn right" becomes left, then we get "turn around in 200 metres" lots of times. Sorry Stella but we Re going via the beach, not as you have planned for us on an inland boring piece of road. We see some really nice beach. One long stretch road with beach on our left and in parts a canal on our right. Windy day so the kite surfing looked spectacular.
Eventually we put Stella at ease and do a via the beach road. She is happy now. We stop at a beach side snack bar for a drink, bite and toilet stop. Interesting place. As usual there were the guysnonnthe beach with their trolleys filled up with clothes, beach toys, etc. a final beach view to take home.....
One of the deciding reasons to give the car up before we did Rome was the traffic. Today we were given a good reason to agree with our decision. Overall today we saw the results of 4 accidents (1 really nasty one and 2 others that also didn't look real flash. And to boot, the drivers and pedestrians got worse as we got closer to Rome.
Eventually we got on the road to Rome airport (after being on the wrong road - hard to work out when there are 3 roads that go the same way, all beside each other with 2 lanes each - hard to describe but imagine driving down say Tucker road with another road beside the one you are on with a median strip then another Tucker road with another median strip. Very confusing and guess what, we were in the wrong Tucker road. Needed to be in the middle one. Fail to Stella on that one. Eventually she redeemed herself and got us back on track. Airport and off around it to the car depot.
On cue and time, we arrive and get ushered through the gate into the land of red number plates (shows the cars are leased). Greeted by an Italian dude who says to just park between the rows of brand new cars like we had 31 days ago. No real time for a sentimental farewell as he does an inspection of the car ( lucky we got it washed on the way today). Into the office and sign away the lease and then back to get our bags from the car into the courtesy van to the airport.
A quick photo opportunity and we are off. Bye bye car, you will make a great second hand car for some lucky French dude - just over 5100 km on the clock......
Get to Rome airport in plenty of time to meet our car for the trip to our hotel in Rome. Decide to check out the airport for next week and also check the weight of the bags. Boy was that hard to do, no public weighing scales like at Melbourne airport so we eventually find a girl at Berlin Air who looks very quiet who agrees to let us out our bags on the scales. Oh oh. Where did we find extra weight - will need slight adjustments before we leave.
Downstairs to find our driver. Time for a beer then over to the sea of drivers with name cards. None for Corin. Early so no stress. Time arrives as we had arrange and still no sign for Corin or anything like that. Now it is 10 minutes past the time and wondering why no name appearing. Notice one guy who has been standing there for a while holding a sign for DOUGLAS. Hmm, go up and ask where he is going - yes, right driver, wrong name..... Used middle name from credit card. D'oh.. Oh well, no damage done, just could have been out probable 30 mins earlier.
Into the limousine and offer go. Down the freeway and into. Traffic jam. Accident ahead (one of the 4) and this was the really nasty one. Car head on into the Armco where it divides two freeways at real speed. Front of car flattened to the windscreen. People had obviously been moved on but airbags blown, etc. so not too sure about their condition.
Driver takes alternativto route and eventually we find ourselves going around the Vatican into Rome the back way. Past St Peters square and over the Tiber river. Next we turn down a little street that becomes another littler street that then becomes an even littler street.... Glad I am sitting in the back here. Eventually stops in what looks like a dead end street and says that we are at our hotel.
Bags inside and greeted by the receptionist who knows who we are. Nice. Do the usual passport stuff and get some bits about the hotel, then upstairs we go (yes, climbing stairs with bags).
Only 2 floors we are told. Nice wide stairs in a circular staircase. Pass the 1st level and the stairs get higher. By the time we get o the 2nd level, buggers, but go back and help Chris with the rolly bag and eventually get into the room. Good room with a courtyard view, plenty of room and great air conditioner.
Settle and then go out for dinner to a restaurant advised by the hotel. All good but Chris is seated with her back to the street. No problem usually, but the cars here almost brush her back each time they go past - refer to tiny little streets earlier......
All done and back for a well earned Sleep.
And this is Rome.........
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