As mentioned a few Tech Tuesday's ago, traveling to Italy in the days before we all had a camera and computer in our pockets was a welcomed adventure.
Here's the story I was referring to for our arrival to Rome, maybe you can relate and laugh and share your own fun travel stories. When your traveling on a budget, off-season and backpacking you have to be ready for any adventure. This includes sometimes taking night trains to cut hotel costs. To get to Rome we took the night train from Venice.
We also had one baguette and one jar of Nutella for this overnight train ride. Miche and I called this concoction "chocolate bread." We ate that on our train ride while trying to get a few snaps that ended up turning int double exposures and a hot mess of images, but they make me laugh every time I see them.
Next up was getting to Rome and then calling, from a pay phone, our pre-planned meeting place (pre-planned as in "on the plane to Milan"). Why would this be easy, the Pensione, of course, was booked. In my broken Italian I proceed to call every hotel in our Let's Go Italy book and found one that had a room for three girls.
Then I ask directions, mind you I have no pen, pencil or any writing utensil. So I'm repeating everything this man says out loud and trying to map this in my brain, which has no reference to a city I've never visited, Rome. We could have taken a taxi, but remember we're on a budget, so we are determined to take the train. Oh youth.
I really only remember one thing from those directions, saying "Il Spagna," over and over. That was the train stop that we needed to get off at to walk to our Pensione. So the three of us make it to the underground train station. Out of no where, hundreds of people come flooding to the platform, train comes, WOW, seriously everyone shoves their way in. I'm so intimidated by large crowds, I resist. Then the train doors close and I am standing on the platform with my friend Ronda. We look at each other and realize Miche has been shoved into the train. I go running, with backpack on down the length of the train to find Miche. She is shoved in the middle of a crowd, ON THE TRAIN, with her backpack literally being pulled down by the mash of people. I bang on the window and just scream Il Spagna, Il Spagna. The train departs. I tell Ronda, "okay, we have to shove our way in, if we get separated, get off at the Spagna stop." So next wave of ants come, we shove our way into the train and pray that Miche heard us.
The Spagna stop comes, we run out, Miche is patiently sitting on a bench hoping we get off this train. Thank God, she heard all my mumbling directions. We all hugged, laughed and practically cried, very thankful we didn't get separated.
Once we gather ourselves, we proceed to walk many, many blocks looking for the street of our hotel. We come around the corner and we see the gypsy kids and immediately we all decide to put our backs against the wall so they can't steal anything or distract us. They are pissed and spit in our direction. Then they proceed to try and steal a well-dressed Italian man's wallet from his pocket. He proceeds to smack their hands and walks away. They eventually lose interest in us and walk away. Now we're slightly lost. So I ask anyone I can, in my broken Italian, where this address is. Someone kindly gives us directions and we continue on our way.
When we finally arrive, we find this giant door to a Palazzo. We open the doors, which leads to a courtyard. A sign tells us the Pensione is on the top floor.
So what do we do? LOOK FOR AN ELEVATOR. We are so kidding ourselves and resign to walking up SEVERAL flights of marble stairs. We get to the very top and knocked on this little door, completely out of breath and SPENT. The owners of the hotel quickly help us in, take our backpacks off and check us into our room. What a day! Trains, trains, separation, gypsy's, and stairs. Oh the joys of traveling, are you tired yet? We were, but after settling in and securing a reservation for our friends, we went on our non-tech adventure mentioned earlier. After that debacle we finally begin our Roman Holiday.