18.12.2012 10 °C
Our flight from Dubai to Rome was on an A380. What a difference to our other plane. So much more leg room and space to move around. We were 2 of the 4 middle seats again but I was lucky enough to have no-one next to me! I made the most of this and I think I slept for 4 out of 6 hours. I was so out of it by this point that I don't really remember what the food was.
We arrived in Rome and made our way through immigration (a man sitting at a desk on the phone who stamped our passports) and customs (walk straight out if you have nothing to declare). We decided to stop for a couple of minutes to re-pack some items as our next stop was Termini station. We have been told that this is not the best part of town so we wanted to be sure our valuables were safe.
We headed to the train station and paid the 14Euro each to get to termini. We remembered to validate our train tickets and settled in for the 30 minute train journey. It was an interesting first look at Italy. Not really what I had expected. We went past a lot of very run down looking unit blocks, many of which had little vegetable gardens and washing hanging out of the windows.
When we arrived at Termini we had a plan. We had used google maps street view to check out where we needed to walk and had decided that I would walk first and Ed would follow behind. We hoped that this would ward off any unwelcome pick-pockets. I wasn't aware at the time but Ed said that as soon as I turned the corner out of the station there was a very dodgy looking guy who looked at me and moved his cigarette to the hand furthest away from me. Ed was walking very closely behind me at this stage and said that he just put his hand on my backpack and the guy moved away. I must have looked like an easy target until he realised I was not alone. He wouldn't have gotten much anyway because I had nothing important on me at the time. I don't know why they would target someone like me when as I looked around I saw lots of tourists with passports and wallets hanging out all over the place!
Anyway we made it through the area outside of Termini safely and walked the 20 minutes or so to our hotel. We are staying at Hotel Principessa Isabella. We are in what seems to be a good side of town and it is a great hotel. Our room is comfortable and clean and we are within good walking distance of most things.
After dropping our things in the room and a quick shower we decided to head out to explore. We went out thinking that it would be quite quiet as it is Sunday night. Boy were we wrong! We headed towards the Spanish Steps and there were cars and people everywhere! It was an interesting introduction to Italian drivers and they way they park. If you are ever in Rome, don't think that the zebra crossing means the cars will stop for you......It doesn't! We came to the top of the Spanish steps and looked over to see a absolute mass of people. I got hounded a little by men trying to hand me flowers (which if I took them would have then charged us a fortune for them) but managed to walk away from them pretty quickly. As the area was so busy we decided to get out of there fairly quickly and head back another time.
We then walked from the Spanish Steps to the Trevi Fountain. Again this area was packed but didn't feel as unsafe as the Spanish Steps. There were a lot more police around so even though there were some dodgy looking people around I wan't worried here at all. After a few quick photos we found a little Gelato place that Ed had heard of during his research. It is called San Crispino. Yum! Our first Italian Gelato was a hit!
We found a little restaurant on our way home where we had Pizza (Margarita for me and Gorgonzola for Ed) before heading back to the hotel to sleep.