Flumicino [Rome airport] to Rome, or “” … set your goal, hang on and hang in””
What a journey this turned out to be. The instructions were straight forward, “take the Leonardo Express to Termini”, then a short taxi ride to the hotel.
The train part was easy, that’s after I walked a great big circle following the train signs to end up almost back where I started. No problem though for Miss Bianchi and me, other than the humidity and heat – I was soon perspiring, but we enjoyed the long rides on the moving walkways at least.
The Leonardo Express certainly didn’t stop anywhere but it was not quite the fast train I anticipated, nevertheless we eventually arrived at Termini. What really surprised me was the extent of graffiti covering the trains, the bridges, the walls, everywhere it is possible to spoil with this ugly act. Such a pity to see how this just overwhelms me … Rome certainly could do with Tony Lanza who started the anti graffiti cleanup in Jindalee area of Brisbane,
Now I thought Wynyard Station Sydney at peak hour was crowded, but Wynyard has nothing compared to Termini. “No problem” I thought, we can do this together, so off we went. I soon found that the best way was to push “Miss Bianchi” out in front of me, and so the crowds parted to let us through … a bit like Moses parting the waters!
… and then we saw it, OMG!
The queue for the taxis was easily more than one hundred (100) metres long. The “short taxi ride” was going to be some time before we could experience that.
But we had little choice, so we joined the line, shuffling forward like the many others in the queue, while from time to time “Miss Bianchi” was being admired either with mild amusement, puzzlement, and amazement, however I know she was a bit chuffed that she was being noticed. Meanwhile for me, well I pushed her along, and dragged my bag after me. My bag and I felt like accessories to “la bella Miss Bianchi”
Time passed in the queue, nobody seemed to speak or understand any Inglese, so we all just smiled and nodded at each other … and continued to shuffle forward millimetre by millimetre.
Time passes slowly as you stand in the taxi queue, but eventually we were at the head of the queue, and then … the looks on the cab drivers said it all. Translated from Italiano to Inglese, the look was “you want me to put that in my little taxi, you got to be kidding!””
But one driver, who seemed to be having trouble attracting any other passenger came back to me with a look of disdain and motioned me over to his tiny cab. We pushed, we pulled, and eventually a lady came over and gave the driver a “bit of a talking to”, and “ecco”, Miss Bianchi was somehow inside the cab. So off we went … well not quite.
Well you see if was around midday and the traffic was at a standstill. So “Mr Grumpy e Grunty” aka my cab driver, pushed and squeezed his way out into the traffic, all the while the scooters were buzzing around us, and so off we went….. well not quite. It was all a bit like being in a washing machine full of “people, cars, buses, scooters, and people on bicycles” … welcome to Rome traffic. But nobody seemed all that concerned, other than me in amazement at this chaos, to me at least.
Then a space appeared, with a sudden roar of his little engine, we were off through the gap … a bit like Darrryn Lockyer seeing a gap and sprinting for the line, and “we were off”. Darting from side to side, not stopping for the people crossing on the pedestrian crossings, we bumped along over the cobble stone road until … we came across the traffic jam, this time from the demonstration. Carbonarie, riot polica, ambulances, people everywhere, chanting, demonstration signs … oh dear, it was certainly turning out to be an experience.
“Mr Grumpy e Grunty” grunted again, changed gears and darted to the left behind a bus pushing its way through the thong, and then we were away again. Bumping along, then up a side street and around some corners, and we arrived at Villa San Pio … thank god I thought, we’ve arrived!
Maybe all of this has a lesson in it. The travelling is smooth some times, then there’s something sent to try you in one way or another, and even if it’s a bumpy road, just hang on and hang in, and if your purpose is just, somehow you’ll make it.
Time for a shower, a walk around the area and then a sleep.