Sunday, July 18, 2010

The long road to Roma

Before I start talking about my trip, one last lovely note on the owner of the Hostel de 7 Santi. When I went to check out this morning, I returned the mosquito doohickey, thanked him profusely for lending it, and asked where I could buy one of my own. He thought for a second, and then he gave me the one I'd been using to keep, along with some refills! What a nice man. If I'm still in my youth and thus staying in youth hostels the next time I'm in Florence, I'm definitely coming back to this hostel.

My trip today was not without incident. I arrived at Firenze's Campo di Marte station (not the main station, but the one that was closest to me) a little before 10am, and bought a regional train ticket to Rome. A train arrived a few minutes later, but it turned out it was one of the fast Eurostar trains, which are a lot more expensive, and the next regional train would be along at 11:20. Fine, not a problem - there's always Becky Sharp. So I read my book, and pleasantly passed the time. At 11:20, the train pulled up, and all I could see were first class cars, but I had a second class ticket. I made my way quickly down the platform, thinking I had a moment or two to spare, and nary a second class car was in sight. I was about to hop on the train anyway, when without warning, the doors closed in my face, and the train pulled away. I missed the train when it was standing right in front of me! I went to look at the board to see when the next train was arriving, and the next one wasn't until 1:20. So I ended up waiting more than three hours at the train station in Firenze. This is how I felt about that:

The train ride to Rome was about four hours, and during that time, I thought that maybe I'll spend a few more Euros to get a faster train when I go to Naples in a few weeks. In the meantime, I had Becky Sharp, and I just got to the part where Rawdon Crawley finds out about Becky and Lord Steyne when I arrived at Rome Termini. All that kept me from my hostel now was a quick ride on the Metro, and then a several-block walk from the Metro stop to the hostel.

Now, I've heard many people complain that Penn Station in New York is a confusing rat maze. May I suggest, my dears, that if Penn Station upsets you, you may never want to attempt to navigate the subway lines beneath Rome Termini. There are only two lines - two! - and yet I had to run down escalators, through tunnels, up stairs, down stairs again, and through more tunnels to find my platform. It made the quest to find the #7 line in Times Square seem like a cakewalk. I loved the grime, grit, and bustle, though - it all made me feel at home.

Now, I had looked at my map, and I had a feeling what monuments I might be passing on my walk, so I kept an eye out, peeking down every side street. Suddenly, I turned a corner and there it was:


And a little while later:


Eternal City, I have arrived.

Now, if only I could stop sweating.


  1. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.... What a trip! But so exciting to be in Rome and two spectacular views right away. I kept thinking of the backpack though. Wish I was with you.

  2. I'm enjoying your blog, Sarah. Your adventures remind me of the 2 summers I studied in France - mosquitoes (my solution was to keep the shutters closed at night, but it was so hot!), sore feet and the trains. Warning: Not only can you miss a train while standing in front of it, it's also possible to miss your stop if you don't get off quickly enough. Enjoy Rome. Karen

  3. If you do need to get anywhere on time in Italy by train, the Eurostars are the way to go. I made the mistake of purchasing a 2nd class ticket on a regionale train between Florence and Rome (probably like you did) and ended up with standing room only (while carrying my pack) on a long seemingly endless trip just to save a few Euros. It's something I can laugh about now, but it wasn't at the time. I'm really enjoying following your Italian adventure. Andy

  4. Andy, those Eurostars are looking better and better. I think I might get one when it's time to leave Rome... although I'm really glad that's not for a few weeks. :)