22.05.2015 - 22.05.2015
Today was mainly a day of travel – so my log will be boring. We packed up this morning before breakfast as we are checking out and leaving for Rome.
After breakfast we took the tube to Oxford Circus for a visit to Carnaby Street. We had coffee at Department of Coffee and Social Affairs. Apparently this coffee shop has good coffee. We agreed it was not as good as Monmouth Coffee but it was not too bad. We then wandered to Piccadilly Circus and Bill took a few photos. There is a great view down Haymarket to Parliament House and I am sure we could see Nelson’s Column as well. We decided to ride bikes back to the B & B as we still had a bit of time from yesterday – which meant hiring the bikes was free. We rode down Oxford Street but got swept by heavy traffic into Park Lane – that was a bit scary. We then rode in Hyde Park and then along Bayswater Road and then picked up our baggage from the B & B and got the tube to London Bridge. Bill is totally over travelling by tube and it is more stressful when you are handling luggage. Bill finds it claustrophobic in the tube trains. His head almost reaches the roof of the tube trains! I find it quite Londony and adventurous. At London Bridge we had to walk up flights of stairs carrying our baggage, which is somewhat tiring!
The train to Gatwick only cost GBP 6.75 each which was good. It is a fast service – the train travels up to 150kph. I know that from my Train Simulator – one of its modules does the London to Brighton run which goes through Gatwick Airport Station. Gatwick is a fair way out of London, but it is a very busy airport and quite modern. We got through security at about 1pm – so we had a 2 1⁄2 hour wait. We had lunch at Jamies Italian at the airport. We all had the same dish – a pasta dish – it was very tasty but the serving was not enough. They were doing a roaring trade – you had to queue for a seat.
The flight was about 45 minutes late. It was 100% full. I had an aisle seat and had two lovers beside me. The young woman in the relationship got up to go to the toilet and lifted the arm rest between me and her to make it easier to get out, and, when she got back she forgot to put it back. She sat around to face her man friend and in so doing encroached on my space – so it was an uncomfortable trip for me. It was not deliberate as she seemed a very polite young woman. I did not like to interrupt the situation and asked for the arm rest to be put back.
As we flew over the Alps you could see the mountains poking up through the clouds. I only had glimpses, but what I saw was impressive.
I must confess I had a negative view of the Italians when we arrived and was not looking forward to Rome at all. It was not helped by the fact that we queued for 45 minutes to get through the security check. But the personnel checking the passports were very friendly – not officious at all.
Travel Log – May/June 2015
We got a taxi to our accommodation which was in the centre of Rome. I was worried about being scammed – but the taxi driver was very professional. We drove at 140mph on the freeway into Rome, very close to the car in front – which was scary!!! Andrew was in the front seat and really felt the speed and the proximity to the car ahead of us.
It was raining when we got there – we were dropped off at the address and stood before a big door (with a little door built in) but nothing to indicate that this was Fabio Open Space Apartments! Fortunately I had their number and was able to telephone them and so we met with someone who let us in. He was a pleasant man who spoke very broken English but he did succeed in making himself understood. It was a nice introduction to Rome. It is a roomy one-room apartment which is more than adequate for our needs. It is located in a quintessential Rome block of apartments.
It was now about 9.30 pm. When Bill and I were leaving with Andrew for dinner we were working out the keys. We heard a conversation in the apartment next door. It was a woman with her husband, who was obviously being romantic and she was protesting – but finally she said “Ro-bert- o”. It was so funny – we knew we were in Italy!
Andrew then led us out to dinner at a little pizza place. It was a delightful place – the staff were very friendly and the pizza and Calzonie were delicious. We sat with a view of the man making the pizza – he worked very efficiently and when it came to making ours he said to us “I make yours now!” It seemed to be a family affair. There was a very jolly relaxed atmosphere. The Italians really do speak with their hands. I was now beginning to really enjoy Rome – friendly and relaxed. What a contrast to Hope and my experience in Paris.
It was after 11 pm when we got back so we all slept well.