Cinque Terre to Rome

Uneventful travel days are usually the ones where everything goes according to plan, and yesterdays was nearly uneventful. After the train strike of Friday, everything was scheduled to be running as planned on Saturday as we had a 1 hour train, a 10 minute connection, another 1 hour train, an hour connection, a 1.5 hour train, and then either taxi/local metro.

We arrived at the station on time but discovered that our inbound train was running late. We moved into position to be near our carriage (getting bags stored on the train is exceedingly challenging) and were able to get everything on and in quickly and find our assigned seats. By the time we arrived at the first station, we had only 3 minutes instead of 10 to disembark, find the appropriate track, and get on the train.

The second train was our least favorite. Aside from being rushed, we didn’t have assigned seats and the luggage storage is even more of an issue. We finally arrived in Florence with an hour to spare for lunch and a snack. We didn’t want to go too far away from the station with all of our stuff so we found some pizza in a food court (surprisingly, not impressive) and the chain of gelato that we didn’t get to try when we were in Florence (it was excellent).

We got on the final train to Rome and found the nicest train we’ve traveled in yet- a small car with great seats and plenty of space for the bags. We both napped as we were tired of doing nothing all day and were happy when we pulled into Rome on time. We took a local train and made the 10-minute walk to our hotel for the next 3 nights.

Upon checking in, we were looking for activities for the evening and tomorrow when Debbie stumbled upon dinner in a local’s home for 1/2 the price that it usually goes for (guessing last minute special). We said why not and signed up for dinner from 8-11 with a four course meal and wine. As the time neared, we jumped into a cab and made our way down to the meeting point.

It wasn’t at all as strange as I thought it would be- it was a lovely couple opening their doors to meet tourists as they come into Rome providing a nice home-cooked meal that we haven’t had in a while. There was another couple there from Seattle who had been in Italy for 2 weeks and along with one of the host’s friends, the seven of us had a lovely meal of bruschetta, lasagna, chicken saltimbocca, and tiramisu. We talked about our travels thus far, plans for the rest of Rome, and whatever else came up throughout the evening.

The husband is a pilot for Al Italia and the wife ended up also being a tour guide so we may join her tomorrow AM for a tour of some catacombs near her before the Vatican (she’s trying to get more internet awareness and it’s effectively free for a 2-hour tour + lunch). Highlight of the evening, aside from the husband singing karoke to us (the four of us that didn’t know him) was playing with their little dog- a 3-year old poodle mix with something else.

It was another unique experience along our trip and I’m glad that we stumbled upon it- a great way to spend our Saturday night after the long travel day.

Next up: first full day in Rome (but terrible rains expected…)

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