Monday, December 15, 2014

Rome: On Arrival

So, here we are, arriving in Rome. We got seats on our flight from New York City - we even got seats together, and in the section of the airplane with extra leg room. Furthermore, the flight had plugs with which we could charge our various electronics, a fancy touch screen entertainment unit with lots of current free movies and television shows. We arrived on time. Absolutely none of these things are to be taken for granted.

Once we landed, our plan had been to take an express train to Termini, the central train terminal, then ride the metro to within walking distance to our hotel. We ran into a few snags, though:

  • We tried to buy a ticket for the express train, but we were stymied because the kiosk insisted we enter a PIN that we couldn't provide, since American credit cards do not have them.
  • The ticket vendors from whom we tried to buy tickets only accepted cash, but we only had American dollars. 
  • We could we get our debit card to work at the ATM because of theoretical insufficient funds. 
It finally occurred to me to try to buy tickets at a kiosk with our debit card; fortunately, this worked, despite our apparent insufficient funds for a cash withdrawal. We made it to Termini, where we exchanged what little cash I happened to have on hand, bought some tickets from a vendor, and finally made it to our hotel - in the pouring rain, because we forget to pack an umbrella, and whatever Roman gods still hang out have a horrible sense of humor.

We felt a bit frustrated at our complete inability to use our own money, but after a very humanizing shower and nap, we briefly explored our neighborhood. We discovered an ATM from which we could access much-needed funds, and wandered into the Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori, which is less than half a mile from our hotel. We wandered in and found people praying, which I loved seeing; others wandered in and out, prayed for a few minutes.

From Rome (December 2014)

After a wonderful dinner at Il Nipotino del Solitario, we wandered back to our hotel, which has a little courtyard, private for our use. We're already regularly hearing the church bells of the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which we admired from across the street. We're planning on attending Mass there next weekend and may explore it and our neighborhood a bit more tomorrow.

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