jeudi 3 janvier 2008
Alain and I spent the morning packing, charging batteries, withdrawing money, etc. At around 1:30 we left to walk to the metro, then took the metro to the train station. We arrived at the main Marseille train station at around 2 pm, our train was scheduled to leave at 2:25. Plenty of time! No problem! Well, it turns out that there was a problem in that the 2:25 train did not exist. Nope. Not displayed on the board with a sign saying “Canceled Suckers” or “Late because of Strikes AGAIN”. Nothing. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones who had bought tickets for the Phantom Train. Lots of other travelers were milling around aimlessly, trying to flag down SNCF information guys (who, as a rule, don’t know anything and just direct you to go stand in the 1 km line for actual information). I started to panic and just wanted to hightail it home, hop in our car, and drive to Nice. (which would then incur gas, toll, and parking fees but at this point I didn’t care I just wanted to get to Rome dagnabbit). To our somewhat luck, the train that was supposed to leave at 1 pm was an hour late. We were informed that we could change our tickets for this train. Yeah right. And by the time we get through the line and get our tickets changed, it will be 4 pm. We just hopped on and hoped for the best. So two trainloads of people were squeezed onto one train of space. I managed to find a seat after a bit, but Alain was left standing for a good hour. Just want to get to Rome… Just want to get to Rome….

We arrived in Nice at about our scheduled time. We took the shuttle to the airport and checked in. Alain got his oh so dangerous deodorant taken away (I won’t even go into how silly airport security rules are). We boarded the plane, and I got Seat Kickin’ Kid behind me. It is only an hour flight… It is only an hour flight…Arrived in Rome around 8:30 pm and had to figure out how to get into the city. Thank goodness for guidebooks because I was able to figure out which train to take. We eventually found the train station, managed to figure out how to buy tickets, then when I went to validate my ticket, it got stuck in the machine. No train, wait for me!! Just as we got our tickets validated, the train left. Drat. Half hour wait for the next one.

I had told our B&B hosts that we would arrive around 9 pm. That clearly wasn’t happening. We finally boarded the train at 9:30, had a half hour ride to our train station of Trastevere. At this point we were starving, but trekked off to our host’s, about 15 minutes away. We managed to find the apartment building with no problem, but had an unpleasant surprise when we could not find the name of the person that I had been communicating with on the intercom box. Which one do we press? I tried calling out Hello? but I guess no one heard. I tried to call the number that he had given me, but it was unable to go through. I was ready to just start pushing buttons when my cell phone rang. It was our host. He had my cellphone number (I didn’t remember having given it to him, but I guess I must have luckily). He was wondering where we were, since we were about an hour and a half late. Uh, we are standing outside your apartment building on the street. He buzzed us in. His apartment was on the fourth floor, and he apparently rented out three bedrooms. Luckily there were two bathrooms. He gave us the keys, and then left to go eat. We were still very hungry, and walked down to the main street, but the area was a residential one with no nearby restaurants that we could see. Finally, tiredness won out over hunger, and we went back to the B&B and went to sleep after a long half day of traveling.

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