Helen and Rob's Trip to Rome
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Friday 13th August
What a day to book our tickets for - it's a good job that we're not superstitious. I left work a bit early and got a bus to the airport to meet Bird (why people drive when there's a bus that goes straight there, I don't know). Still, Bird had to drive, because it was the quickest way to get from her work to Heathrow.
Anyway, we had loads of time to spare because Bird actually pays attention to the 2-hour check-in times, so we headed to the Wetherspoons for a bite to eat and a few beers. The food was good, but they ran out of Stella after my first pint. Fortunately, I knew that there was another Wetherspoons the other side of the security checks, so off we went.
Our flight was delayed a bit, which gave me time for some more Stella (Bird wasn't drinking). Walking towards the departure gate, I spied more and more totty - I hoped they were all off to Rome.
While we were waiting at the departure gate, I managed to annoy 3 people in about 15 minutes (good going even by my standards):
* explaining to an American who was complaining about waiting in a queue that it was because we took security seriously in this country,
* looking down some bird's top while I was queuing next to where she was sat, and,
* gently kicking some bloke's luggage when he tried to push past us.
I can't remember much about the flight, apart from there being loads of turbulence - more beer to calm my nerves.
I didn't have a clue where we were going when we got to Rome, I was convinced that we'd just arrive in Rome and wing it. Fortunately, Bird had spent our time at Heathrow a little bit more productively than I had done. She'd called the hotel, and found out that we'd need to catch a train, followed by a tube, followed by a bus to get to the hotel. At about 10 o'clock, a taxi (30 Euro) seemed like a much better bet.
We got to the hotel OK, and checked into the room. It was a tiny room, but it gave us somewhere to sleep. Bird was feeling knackered, so I went in search of the hotel bar on my own. The bar at the hotel that we were staying at was closed, so I headed down to another hotel that had a bar that was open. I needed to have a drink to steady my nerves, after finding out that it was 7 Euro for a beer - needless to say, I only had the one before heading back.
Saturday 14th August
We got up fairly early, and headed off to find breakfast. It wasn't the best breakfast that I've ever had, to say the least. They had tea-bags and cups there, but no boiling water. I had to resort to coffee.
We headed out of the hotel, in search of a bus-stop. We found one fairly quickly, but still had no idea how to get into town. Fortunately, there was an American family, and the son knew his way around. We fare-dodged our way to the nearest tube station, before we could buy any tickets.
There were a couple of places that we definitely wanted to see: the Sistine Chapel, the Colluseum, the Panthanon, and the Tritty Fountain. The first place we got to, was St. Peter's Square, and we wondered around there for a bit. The queue for the Sistine Chapel was quite long, and in strong sunshine, but it was moving quite fast. We tried to get into the Vatican, but two blokes in funny hats stopped us from going any further.
We joined the end of the Sistine Chapel queue, and moved fairly quickly through the metal detectors, and into the grounds of the Sistine Chapel.
We took what looked like a short-cut past the toilets and joined yet another queue. A while later, we were at the bottom of the steps. It was a long walk up to the viewing platform in the dome, and I was getting quite scared by the time we got up there. I gave Bird my camera, because I was too scared to take any pictures. It didn't stop me perving though, and I was soon in the mood to appreciate the glory of the Sistine Chapel.
We then discovered another flight of stairs, which went right to the top of the outside of the dome. Now that was what I call scary - I hardly ever moved away from the inside edge, and never made it as far as the outside ledge. Bird is far better with heights than me, so she made it to the edge - and looked after me (she's great - top lass).
We made it back down OK, and then headed off to find somewhere it eat. We found a place with a totty waitress, so had a bite to eat in there. Then, we headed off to the colluseum.
The colluseum looked quite impressive from the outside, but we didn't fancy paying to go inside, so we headed off to the Trippy fountain. I knew that it was the done thing to throw a coin into the fountain, and make a wish, but nobody told me that I should throw it over my shoulder! That was probably a good thing, knowing my throwing ability.
After a quick rest, and some perving, by the fountain, we went to find the Panthanon. Apparently, it's the building to photograph both during the day, and at night, so I thought I'd give it a go. I got one or two good pictures, before heading inside to have a look. The problem with seeing the Sistine Chapel first, was that everything else looked rather drab in comparison. Still, there was some nice totty inside.
By now, it was about 16:30, and we were trying to decide what to do for the rest of the day. I suggested that we have a quick drink while we were deciding. There was a bar overlooking the Panthanon, so we went there for a quick one (and a drink!).
Once we were sat there, looking out over central Rome, it seemed silly to go anywhere else. The waiter was a funny lad, we were on holiday, so we just stayed for a while in the bar. When I say "for a while", we eventually stumbled out at about 23:30! I couldn't be bothered to take a night-time shot of the Panthanon, so gave my camera to Bird. She even took an excellent TottyCam picture.
After harassing some totty (for me), and two policemen (for Bird), we made it to the tube station. We got off a the right stop, but had missed the bus, and they only run hourly. Fortunately, there was a taxi there. Unfortunately, we didn't know the name of the hotel that we were staying at. Fortunately, I could remember the name of the hotel that I'd had a drink in the night before - an excuse for more beer (for me) and cocktails (for Bird).
I think the least said about our drunken night in Rome the better.
Sunday 15th August
MY HEAD HURTS
We were both suffering a bit on Sunday morning, so no sightseeing for us. Even by midday (we skipped breakfast), Bird was finding it difficult to move, but we had a flight to catch.
Bus, tube, and train - we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. By then, we were quite hungry, so had a bit of pasta action while we were waiting (no beer!).
We were sat right at the back of the plane, and it all seemed OK until a couple with 3 kids appeared - I knew there was going to be trouble!
I still wasn't feeling 100%, so didn't even have any free beer on the plane. As we were circling over Heathrow, one of the kids started screaming his head off, and didn't stop until we'd landed about 30 minutes later. I got the old "Legoland twitch", and, apparently, got an evil look from the mother when she realised that I was suggesting that it needed a slap around the head.
Getting back home was a bit of a pain. We had to wait for a bus to pick us up from a bus-stop, we then had to wait ages in traffic, before the bus got to the car park that Bird had parked her car in on Friday. We then had to find the car, and then drive home. Getting the bus straight home seems much quicker and easier to me (although it probably wouldn't have been), but we did get to watch the Only Fools and Horses chandelier sketch by using the airport parking bus.
As always with Bird, it was a lovely weekend.
26/08/04: STOP PRESS
I went out for a curry with my brother last night, and it turns out that the big dome thing that we went to see wasn't the Sistine Chapel, but it was St. Peter's Dome. We'd managed to spend a weekend in Rome, without seeing the Sistine Chapel. McFly!
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Created on: 16 Aug 2004. Modified on: 26 Aug 2004.
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