Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Worst Trip: Part Two

This is Part Two of a three-part story.  Part One is here .
When we left off... I'd been bumped from my flight, had an unpleasant seat mate, and a dash through the Frankfurt airport.  Then, arriving in Rome, my luggage was missing.  All to be expected in this day of global travel, you say?  Read on...
When I’d been bumped in San Francisco, they had kept my bags claiming they had been pulled from the plane, but that it would take hours to locate them. Yeah. Right.

Instead, they came on that original flight without me. And they were sitting in the lost luggage room in Rome. But it took 3 hours to figure out where they were and that they were not lost but were just misplaced.

Meanwhile I was melting from exhaustion and frustration.

Finally, bags in hand, I headed to the train station and caught the Leonardo Express to Termini – 2 blocks from my hotel.

Well, that was the plan anyway.

After I’d finally showered and settled in a bit, I went to the area where the Pantheon is – one of my favorite parts of Rome. We wandered about a bit and stopped at a café for dinner.

In Campo di Fiori, we stopped for gelato. The piazza is lined with cafes and bars, which were all packed with people watching Italy play Ghana in the opening round of the World Cup. Each establishment had set a TV up so that those eating outside could watch through the window. Conversation was at a minimum as all eyes turned to the screens. And then a cry went up! Italy scored! And again!

Exhausted, I couldn’t stay to enjoy the revelry. I needed to get home.

I’d already lost one day of my trip because of the airline. And I had a lot of work to do. But I woke up the next morning with the stomach flu. I was miserable. I slept and vomited all day. I had nothing in my pensione. But I could hardly lift my head off the pillow. I didn’t even have the energy to curse Mrs. Overbearing – most certainly the source of the vile germs.

And my time in Rome was spent… a lovely little research trip wasted. Surely the trip would get better, right?

When I woke up in the morning I felt … better. Great! I could spend a few hours out and about in Rome!

So, I got dressed, I ate some dry toast. It stayed with me. I felt a little queasy, but it was tolerable. So, out I went – via taxi.

I went off to a little church I’d never visited called San Pietro in Montorio. It was built on the spot where St. Peter was crucified, but I wanted a photo of a small temple – or tempietto – designed by Bramante and which served as a precursor to St. Peter’s. It was open. I got some great photos. Started to feel queasy. And a taxi magically appeared to take me back.

I picked up my bags and headed to the train station since I had to check out. And I started to feel – worse.

By the time I got on the train, I wanted to pass out, curl up in a ball… anything but get on a train. But, I had bought the tickets. I had a hotel room in Florence, and nothing in Rome. I had to go. I put my bags on the train in the luggage racks and found my seat. Seats are assigned on the Eurostar, so I was sitting kind of far from my baggage.

Big mistake.

Continued here  (and yes, it gets worse)...

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