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Published: March 3rd 2013
Day 17 - Tuesday 28th February
Left the Youth Hostel at 10am to start the 175 mile journey to Rome. The local bus route took us close to the autostrade but surprisingly charged us extra for our rucksacks. Today was a "hitch alone" day. After an hour, a brilliant piece of luck as I was picked up by a 30 ish year old very smart looking lady in a sports car and as an added bonus she was travelling to Rome. She was secretary to the American ambassador but surprisingly we conversed in French (in my case simple schoolboy French). She kindly helped me improve my Italian concentrating wisely on the key areas of days, numbers and food - at least I would now have a better level of pronunciation! The scenery for the journey was very pleasant with lots of greenery and many villages and buildings on the hillsides - albeit some looking very precarious. The driver decided to stop for a coffee break (and paid) and was proud to stop in Orvieto to show me the historical town with its picturesque square and the stunning Cathedral. The cornerstone of the Cathedral was laid in 1290 and Orvieto was one of the few places in Italy where Papal palaces were built. Not for the first time (or last), one wished to have more time to give justice to the beauty of rural Italy and not just see the main tourist spots in the cities.
At 3.30pm my lift dropped me directly at the Youth Hostel which was a very large building on the side of the River Tiber. After booking in, finding a bed and having a shower, I decided to venture into central Rome for a late afternoon walk especially as the weather was sunny and bright. Even during this short walk around, you could not help but be impressed by the beautiful buildings and large monuments. Also the city streets were so much cleaner than the earlier cities.
Unfortunately I did not manage to find the Poste Restante to collect any letters from home and instead decided to splash out 250 Lira on a Sunday Observer. By the time that I arrived back at the Hostel, Mike and Heather had arrived. I had a cheap snack of pizza, beans and coffee and moved to somewhere quieter to read the Observer and write some letters. The YH was fairly cold and of course, the best placed beds get taken by the earlier arrivals (mainly those travelling on railcards - oh well at least I had seen Orvieto and had enjoyed some different and very pleasant company).
Sightseeing tomorrow !
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