Well, ok, I mean, I actually found it a mix of brick and marble, but I had to have a quote by Caesar Augustus, right? And with that, I start off a short series of blog posts about my surprise birthday trip to Rome! Note: My husband told me that I couldn't brag about his surprise-building, gifting, or all-around greatness skills, so I'll try to keep it at a minimum.
In this episode of "Laura Amzingly Fantastic Weekend Getaway to Rome" (hmmm...I'll have to work on that title), I'll be talking about getting to and from Rome.
When planning a trip to Rome, one must be mindful of budget. If not, one could end up spending a small fortune on airline tickets, hotel rooms, and food before ever getting to the good stuff (not that the food isn't good...)! So, when Gavin planned this trip, he opted for a budget airline, because it was the most feasible thing to do. He knows I'm a total miser, so it just warms my heart that he thought to save us some money! Seriously, though, I was really impressed with the amount of research he put into this trip!
Our budget airline (which I won't name on this blog, because I'm not an ad or a complete meanie) had us leaving Manchester at a little before 7 AM. This worked out quite well, since I couldn't sleep with all the excitement. Plus, it got us to Rome in time to spend the whole day walking around! How awesome is that?
I was pretty impressed with boarding procedures, considering the horror stories I had heard about budget airlines, but this one had seat assignments! Unfortunately, it didn't assign us to seats next to each other. But, you know, by some miracle, I slept almost the entire flight, only coming awake to catch myself with my mouth wide open. I didn't hear all the advertisements they apparently made over the loudspeaker. Gavin didn't fair so well. His legs actually hit the back of the seat in front of him, and he couldn't move. So, tip to you: if you're 6'7", you might considering paying the 6 pounds to move to the seats that have what regular airlines call "economy" seats, but what budget airlines call "luxury" seats.
Since we flew the budget option, we had only a backpack and soft briefcase between us to avoid the checked baggage fee. It made landing and getting to the train and walking around Rome, MUCH easier. Speaking of getting the train, there was an express train from the airport to the center of town. Gavin did his research on this, too. So, we managed to avoid the lines for tickets by using the machines in the middle of the terminal. And, we made the train that was just about to leave.
When we got closer to town I was in awe at all the artwork that was just sitting around on the buildings! I mean, I was expecting Michaelangelo, Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael, but so much art already. I was blown away! I just wondered who the names referred to, and why the art seemed to be spouting obscenities at me. So, really, there was a lot of graffiti. Everything was covered in it, the train, the buildings, the underpasses, everything! BUT, rest assured, if you ever go to Rome, the rest of the city is much better (well, for the most part), and the graffiti tends to lessen in the more touristy parts of town. I was, in all truthfulness, impressed by some of the graffiti coming into town. It was very colorful!
Once there, we did a whole lot of fun stuff. Don't worry, I'll get to that in another post. But, now, what you've all been waiting for, our departure! We took the same train back and got to the airport in plenty of time to get to the gate. Only thing is, we followed the sign that said "To Gates". Apparently, that means "To Gates as long as you're not flying international...if so, you'll have to walk to the very end of the incredibly long building, past all the signs that read 'To gates' pointing you in the opposite direction to another sign at the very end that says 'To gates'" Now, if that's not confusing... Needless to say, I was tired after walking 2 lengths of the building after having walked for the last 3 days. But we made it to the gate. And, 30 minutes before they were supposed to board, they were boarding!!!
It makes perfect sense though, because the budget airline doesn't have you board at the jetway...you take a bus and climb stairs. So, it takes longer, see. All perfectly reasonable.
Then, we waited and waited and waited while the flight attendants tried to figure out how to reseat a family that had been assigned seats in different parts of the plane when they had 2 small children. After figuring that out, they couldn't get all the bags to fit in the overhead bins. I think at some point the captains just said they were leaving, because we were 20 minutes late, and they have a tight turnaround schedule. So, as we pulled back from the gates, the flight attendants made the mad dash to stuff the overhead bins. One bin broke...and how do we fix that?! Masking tape, people...masking tape.
I thought I was done laughing for the day, until the flight attendant came over the speaker talking about all the sales and deals they had to offer. Yes, not only do they have to keep us safe, put up with our bad attitudes, and try to get us to purchase the meal deal, but now they also have to be walking ads about perfume sales! If I haven't seen everything...
Ok, so I'll admit, this wasn't really about Rome...but rest assured...I'll get there...
In the next several posts, I'll talk about the trip by category (e.g., food, churches, and Roman stuff).