120504 Rome 4 May Friday

Our Grand Tour of Italy and Mediterranean Cruise has begun.  We have 12 fellow travellers with us.  All but one has been on one or many of our previous group tours.

It is a drain on one’s body in an aircraft for 8 hours and 13 hours at a time.  And so we were all looking forward to a good bed to give us the best of sleeps.  Italian time is 8 hours behind Australia.

The trip over was uneventful with meals at weird times and just a little turbulence at various times during the flight.  We all managed a little sleep but not enough of course.

We arrived at Rome airport about 30 minutes late but our departure from the airport was held up due to the major major modifications going on.  At least our bags were through by the time we were ready to collect them.  The flight over was reasonably smooth with only a few sharp aircraft movements during the trip.

Our transfer from the airport was in 2 Mercedes vans.  The airport is about 40 minutes from the city but it didn’t take long at all. We were sitting on 110kph and many others were overtaking us at speed.  A fast but safe trip!   Our driver did his best to speak English – it was far better than our Italian, of course.  We drove by many of Rome’s landmarks including the magnificent Colosseo (Italian).  There were so many people (tourists) there.  The Vatican is the biggest attraction here and we will see it a little later on.

When we registered at the Hotel Westin, it was around 10:30am.  We could not get into our rooms until after 12 midday and so we just ‘sat around’ waiting.  I think we may have a bit of that in the next couple of days until the ‘real’ tour starts.

Lyn and the others, had a lunch in a street-side café, but I was more interested in getting into the room and having a sleep.  Yesterday, it was a beautiful sunny blue-sky day and the video of the Porta Pinciana, came out rather striking.  I had trouble with the video camera at first (it had not deleted all the video from Vietnam) so I had to do a complete wipe of the disc and start a second time.  At least it is functioning OK now and should give us some good shots.

After a very heavy sleep, I was able to drag myself out to an evening meal of pizza and Caesars salad with a very chocolaty hot chocolate.  We made it back to bed by 9:15pm

I got up at 5:30 this morning to do some early morning video of the Porta Pinciana, which is a part of the ‘city wall’.  The early morning light made for some more interesting video than during the day.

What we have seen of Rome so far is more interesting than Paris.  The streets near us are lined with eateries with great looking pasta for sale – not!  I hate pasta.  No, the pizza was Ok last night.  The clothing shops are very up-market and probably very expensive, although one dress that Lyn ‘browsed’ at was 713 euro.

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