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Published: June 22nd 2017
Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823
Well, the arrival of the morning had little impact on the train-travelling pilgrims, who each woke up at various points but did not stir en mass until around 11:30am, a record-breaking snooze for the group. Our happy steward brought us a treat "on account of the retard" which featured the following items: one dried, bland sandwich, one water, one McDonald's moist towelette, a dry lemon cake, and a small box of pear juice. For the sake of nourishment, we forced down the dry fare... and then went back to sleep for a couple hours.
Finally, we arrived at Roma Termini at 2:30 p.m. - 5 hours late. The train station was rather scary. Lots of people all over the place and we couldn't get the ticket machines to work. With some help from a couple of African guys, who warned us all to "mind our pockets," we purchased seven day tickets for 16 euros that we would eventually find out would never be checked.
Eventually we made our way to the Cornelia stop, with printed out directions to Hotel Pinewood. Unfotunately, there was no road sign to match the street we were looking for, via della Pinetta Sachetti. We walked one direction, then another, then back again. Jeannette started approaching random people asking "English? English?" and an older man and younger woman told us how to get a bus to the hotel. With all of our luggage and exhausted arms, we opted to walk instead. Rich confirmed we were headed in the right direction after asking an armed security guard, who motioned us "straight!"
After lugging our way for about 10 minutes past even more graffitti, we finally arrived at Hotel Pinewood. This place is amazing--the nicest hotel we've stayed in yet. It will be a good way to end a fantastic trip by spending our last three nights here.
We settled ourselves in for a few minutes and then headed back on the Metro to San Pietro (St. Peter's Basilica) which was a sight to behold. It was beautifully illuminated and the square included a tall, narrow Christmas tree and a very elaborate nativity scene. Our night pictures didn't turn out as well as we hoped; Rich explains that the shutter speed is too slow without the flash. Perhaps a mini-tripod wouldn't have been such a bad idea, but we've already got enough to carry.
After San Pietro, we wandered around for a long time trying to find a restaurant, and then to find one that was open. It was around 6 or 6:30, and we found out that Italian custom is not to eat until much later. Most places didn't open for dinner until 7 or 7:30. As we wondered among the most crazy mess of cars parked everywhere--on sidewalks, sideways, halfway into intersections, surrounded by just as many motocycles--someone handed us a flyer about a 15th anniversary special, 13 euro meal. Booyeah! We wandered a bit more and found the place of our desires and enjoyed our first fine Italian meal. Unfortunately, we would soon find out that the bruschetta appetizer would cost as much as our meal, but "Whatever!" From here it was back to the hotel to rest up for 4 Jan.
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