The flight was long. I was so glad though that I took the flight that left JFK at 530 pm and arrived at 8 am in Rome. My husband will be taking the other flight at 930 pm, so it will be interesting to compare the two. I upgraded with Alitalia to Classica Plus, and I am so glad I did that too. A bit extra room, extra attention, definitely worth the money.
I was very concerned about going through customs as I had heard horror stories from other people. In fact it was very easy. I did not have any paperwork I had to fill out, instead they seem to rely on the honour system. The fellow at the gate just looked at my passport and gave it back, again, no stamp. What?? I said, “that’s it?” he said Ciao! Ciao! Ciao! translated meaning, get the hell out I got more people to get through. I was okay with that!
Getting from the airport to the downtown Roma Termini was so simple. Bought a ticket at one of the offices, and waited for the train. Once at the metro though, I spent an hour trying to figure it out and where to go. Got to practice my first italian phrases, Buonoserra. The metro guard looked at me, very oddly and said Buonajourno. I was still on Canada time, and the metro was dark, so of course! I asked him directions for a specific stop Dove Castro Praetori, pe favore? Rebibbi he replied and pointed, down then up. So many stairs! i did not realize there were elevators, and going up the escalators with my two 50 pound bags, and my 30 pound back pack was a bit tiring.
Once on the metro, I had one stop, and another phase of the journey was complete. It was a block and a half walk to the hotel on cobble stone streets for part of it, and I had nightmares of the wheels on my suitcase giving out. What on earth would I do then? Hire a taxi at a huge rate, no doubt.
The hotel was quite nice, in a good neighbourhood. Front desk people were superb, and I staggered (almost literally) up to my room. I actually did have an elevator. With relief I settled in, and tried to lay down for a bit. The bed was very hard, and gave me sore hips (I am a side sleeper). I was up in an hour, and it was 1 pm, so decided to wander around the area becoming familiar with how the streets worked/laid out, how they were labeled and such. I also returned to the metro to learn how that was set up, where the shops were, and bought a map. Glad I did that, it was to serve me in good stead later.
To give you an idea of how far down the metro was, I took an escalator down and walked the entire time on the escalator, it was 65 steps of continual walking. Each step was the average 10 inches high/wide, and it took 80 seconds for the time I started walking to the time at the top. How far down is that?