Yep, 25 hours of travel from our front door to the hotel in Rome! I was working on Friday, so I didn't finish packing until after midnight. I got about 3 hours of sleep before the van picked us up for the airport. We flew USAir to Charlotte. Bare-bones. No food, no movies, no music. But surprise! Our aircraft from Charlotte to Rome was running the P@ssport IFE system! I had never seen a system that I programmed in service before... I was so excited! It's a 10 year old system, but it still works GREAT! We had the choice of about 15 movies and lots of music. BUT that airplane was soooo UNcomfortable! We hardly got any sleep. When we got to Rome, I asked Cheryl, "How to you feel?" She relied, "Like crap. How about you?"
Here we are waiting for the bus with our "one suitcase and one carry-on per person."
After we made it to the hotel, we had time for a shower and and 1 hour nap before meeting the rest of our group. There were 46 people in our group... from Australia, Canada, USA, and New Zealand (most from Australia, and only 4 from New Zealand). Our "host" was named Fabrizio. He makes all our arrangements and makes sure that everyone gets where we are going.
After we met our fellow travellers, we all piled in the bus. (Believe it or not, we have a bus seating chart. Fabrizio rotates our seat position every day.) We headed out to the Piazza Navona. What a perfect place to start the trip! It looks exactly how I expected Italy to look... large plaza lined with sidewalk cafes, quaint buildings, churches, fountains, statuary, and street artists!
Oh, I want to point out that church on the left... that's where Cheryl fell down the stairs. Don't worry she wasn't hurt. She just left her butt print in Rome.
What else do I associate with Italy? Ancient ruins... we saw those too! In fact Rome is a city build on top of a city. One bank we saw had an inside balcony over their open floor that looked down into the ruins under the building. Here is one of the most famous ruins in Rome, the Pantheon. It's the only Roman building still intact.
We had dinner in quaint little cafe called the "Opera Cafe." It was on a tiny side street (or is it an ally?). There were two bottles of wine on the table (white and red) and the food kept coming and coming and coming. We were stuffed! There was a fabulous opera singer and accordionist to entertain us. Oh, and also there was Jim dancing with the opera singer, hahaha! After dinner we went for a walk along the Tiber River to the Castle of Saint Angelo.
We got back to the hotel at 11pm for bed... there's a 6am wake up call tomorrow!
Funny of the day: The hotel we stayed at in Rome was a newer hotel (The Executive Style Hotel). To turn on the lights in the room (or use any electric outlet), you need to put your key in a slot by the door. Cheryl and Chris had their own room, and when they went to bed, Cheryl just pulled the key out of the slot to turn off the lights. Well, Chris had to use the bathroom during the night, and he couldn't find the key! I asked, "What did you do?" He said, "If you sit down, you can't miss."