Sunday, 14 April 2019 Venice to Rome
Venice to Rome
We took a train from Venice to Rome. This involved dragging our luggage from the hotel to the water bus, then dragging lit again from the pier to the train station. We’d booked a fast train which was great but there wasn’t enough room to stow our luggage above our seat so it had to be left the entrance to the carriage. We weren’t the only ones with a problem and luggage had to be stacked on top of each other. Anyway, the trip went smoothly and just three hours later we arrived at Roma Termini. Now when you’re in a foreign country it can be stressful trying to work out where you should be. All I wanted was to get a taxi, get the luggage in the boot and be taken directly to our accommodation. But a man with a badge reading – Free Information – approached us. The Earl was all too eager to hand over the decisions to him – He suggested a hop on hop off bus for two days. “No,” said I, “We have luggage. I don’t want to buy a ticket for hop on hop off now. I want to think about it and perhaps get one tomorrow.”
But he insisted that it would be our cheapest deal and that there would be no problem with the luggage. Well – dear reader – always listen to you own instincts – This man told us that being a Sunday we would wait ages for a taxi and it would be very expensive. He led us to the Green Hop on Hop off. After withdrawing cash I paid 60 euros for two tickets – which I could use for two days, but I really didn’t want to as Rome is an easy city to just use your own two feet to explore, and had the Earl not insisted I would have run a mile. We got on the bus which they promised would take us right near our hotel. NOT SO. They dropped us and then we had to drag, ask directions, drag some more, ask more questions until half an hour later we arrived stressed and exhausted out our accommodation. Later I found out that a taxi would have been no more than 15 euros for the two of us!
Upon arrival we rang the bell and were told to come in. In the dingy hallway we were confronted by a lift – no indication as to which floor we were to go to. So I climbed the stairs till I found the B&B. The Italian ladies could not understand why I was confused, asked if I’d phoned the office – what office? Is this not where we were supposed to be. Yes – not to worry – we were in the right place but they didn’t know when to expect us – Well check in is after 2 and it was 3! Luckily they were there – because we found out in the next three days that they weren’t always! The place was a dump! Beware of booking a B&B in Rome. They can be fine but this one was really basic – It was clean but the bed was old and the cupboard rickety. But never mind we’re used to camping so in comparison this was luxury and so we just made the most of it. It included breakfast but I wish it hadn’t as all we got was coffee – excellent – and pre-packed horrible croissants, bread, muffins and jam, none of which was particularly appetizing – anyway the ladies were sweet and tried to be as helpful as possible so we ended up quite enjoying our three-night stay.
Monday, 15 April 2019 Rome
We took the hop on hop off bus today. After all we did pay for it! We visited The Pantheon, checked out the Colosseum and threw a coin into Trevi Fountain. We also got a European sim card so that we could use Google Maps and not get lost!
When I got home in the afternoon, I suddenly felt very cold. There were no extra blankets on the bed so I put Earl’s puffy jacket on and fell asleep. When I awoke I had a fever of 39 C
Tuesday 16 April 2019 Rome
When I awoke my fever was gone and I felt fine. We went for a long walk along the river, through the Jewish Quarter and then to the Vatican. On the way to The Vatican, a man in a very smart car stopped and called to me.
“Where are you from,” he asked, “I recognise your husband.”
We both went to the window and he asked again. We told him that we were from Cape Town.
He said, “I had an Italian restaurant in Cape Town. ” Foolishly I fed him the name – “Casanova’s?” I asked.
“Yes, but now I am working for Armani. I’ve just come from a fashion show. I’m coming to Cape Town soon for another show. I want you to do something for me.
“You are an elegant woman – and just the right size – Here is a jacket for you.” He handed a packaged jacket to me, “I want you to wear it and to tell your friends where you got it. It is free.”
I was immediately suspicious. Then he gave one to The Earl – who was delighted to get a free gift. “It’s to promote my product,” he said.
I was not happy, “No – I said – We won’t do it. But The Earl said, “Don’t be silly – it’s a promotion – he wants us show them off when we get home.”
I walked away not wanting to create a scene with my cooperative husband. Then the crunch came. He asked The Earl for money for fuel. Finally he realised what the catch was and gave him back the jackets.
Back at the B&B I did the research and found that this is a huge scam going around – different stories – but all Amani – and the jackets are fake and ugly! I wonder how many people get taken in by these scammers.
Later that afternoon I once again got an attack of cold shivers and my fever shot up to 39! Uh oh – what will I do. It’s travel day tomorrow.