Today we drove 2 ½ hours from Salerno to Tivoli. It was an easy drive, no getting lost and no issues. Tivoli is this beautiful little town - cobblestone streets, old buildings, very charming. The apartment is great – 2 bedrooms, a large bathroom and a large dining/living room/kitchen area. From the outside the building looks old and worn down, as do most of them. But I don’t mean old and worn down in the crappy sense, more like historical/old. The architecture is beautiful and unlike Salerno, there’s no garbage on the streets, which is what keeps the neighborhood looking charming instead of slummy. The big surprise is how nice the actual apartment is – very unexpected in a building that looks the way this one does on the outside. Tim says this is typical of Italy – old, old structures with gorgeous insides.
Once we put our stuff away, we took off on foot to the Villa d’ Este, which is breathtaking! After that we found a good restaurant where I had my 5th pizza and 123rd glass of wine. I’ve decided that I don’t like the pizza, so my 5th was my last. Then we tried to get back to the apartment….this took us about an hour because we got lost. The little streets are unmarked and all look the same in the dark. We finally made it! We were exhausted by then, and achey. The Walk of the Gods and those 1500 stairs had all three of us literally limping Wednesday, yesterday, and still today.
Today we walked a mile or so to the train station, rode the train for 50 mins, then got off and hiked to the Colosseo (Coloseum). We didn’t go inside (there was a huge line and long wait), but walked the perimeter for a while. It’s impressive, but almost feels like it’s too surrounded by what felt a lot like just a regular metropolitan area. The streets were packed with students and tourists – I guess it’s spring break time because it was hard to move with so many people. This definitely detracted from the Rome experience (in my opinion). It’s beautiful, but it was just too crowded. It kind of reminded me of NYC at Christmas time. But I think I like NYC better! Another thing that detracted from the Rome experience was being extorted at every turn. We went into a gelateria to have gelato # 312 and the next thing we knew, we had been charged 21 euros for 2 ice cream cones!!!! Apparently lots of the ristorantes and bars, particularly the ones surrounding any touristy areas, have different prices for “stupid Americans.” Lesson learned. We limped around Rome some more, then went back home to Tivoli. On the metro ride to the train station (yes, it was a metro ride AND a train ride), we were packed in like sardines. Tim got a chance to flex his 6’4” muscle at some guy who was shoving him in the back…Gab and I suddenly heard Tim yell something in Italian and push this guy back. Gab was laughing so hard – it was pretty funny. After we got off the metro, a girl who had obviously witnessed the whole thing, overheard Gab and I wondering what the heck Tim had yelled at the guy, because he couldn’t even remember. She told us that he had yelled, “stop!” Just to be clear, it wasn’t like Tim was trying to pick a fight, nor would it have ever escalated, but it was very entertaining! J
Today we went back to Rome to see the Vatican. It was pretty cool, but also too crowded. We called it an early day, or so we thought. We got a little turned around in the train station and missed our train, so we wasted a good 2 hours trying to get home. Then we made ourselves a nice dinner and drank an excellent 2 euro bottle of wine. We walked to a restaurant that was supposed to have Internet service…as it turned out, then didn’t have Wifi in the traditional sense. It took us almost an hour just to get online! Then home to collapse, where we could use the bathroom without having either buy 2 capuccino’s or just pay to get in!!!
We’re currently sitting on a bench in front of the restaurant where we finally got Internet last night. If we sit inside we’ll have to buy a bunch of stuff, so screw it, the bench is just fine! Next we’re going back to where our car is parked to redistribute the weight in our luggage…as it turns out, we will get horribly clipped at the airport in Rome the way we’ve packed. So, rather than pay 20 euros a kilo, which at the moment would cost us an extra $100+ us dollars, we’re just gonna wear a couple of pairs of pants and some extra jackets – lol! Not really, but we do have to shuffle things around a bit. We’ll get into Paris at about 9:00 tonight and should make it to our flat by about 11:00, assuming we don’t get lost….we’ll see. Gab will have a chance to use her French and we’re counting on her to get us around. Tim is finally off the hook – we truly couldn’t have done half of what we did in Italy without Tim’s knowledge of the country and the language; unless of course we had actually taken the time to plan our trip, like normal people.
We will post pictures once we get to Paris and we have tons. At last count, Gabi had taken about 1800 of them, but don’t worry, we’ll only post one or two!