#Europe2017 Day 25: Ciao Rome! Hola Barcelona!!

This morning we did something epic… we all (well three out of four of us) got up before 8am! Wow, it is possible! Note this is 12am where we come from, although it’s been over three weeks, so I’m not sure that’s an excuse anymore.

We had to have everything packed and out of our room (into the lobby of the B&B) by 11am… we had that done a little before 10. We’re good at packing quick. The plan for today is to go back to the Trevi Fountain (the one that gets $3k to $4k a day in coins tossed in), get some Magnum (not man-gum) ice cream right across the street, and then whatever else we fancied. Then, be back to the B&B by 5pm to get a ride to the airport from our B&B hostess.

Amazingly, our plan actually worked (mostly). But before I talk about today, I have to talk about last night. First, here’s my Facebook post from last night:
roma_last_bathroom_stuck

Here’s my explanation… our B&B is just on the second floor of a five story building on a busy road. We have three keys… one for the street entrance, one for the entrance to the B&B (the door at the second floor), and one to get into our room. Our room has two twin beds (for the girls) and one queen (for me and William). There is an accordion door down the middle, which has been nice for a bit of privacy when changing, etc. We also have a functional balcony where William has gone to have phone calls with someone special wink wink.

We also have… wait for it… a key for the bathroom. The bathroom is out or door, down a short hallway, next to another bathroom. So it’s not in our room, and we have to walk through where other people might be in order to use it. No big deal. This is “our” bathroom, not to be shared with any other room. The key/lock system is antiquated… it is a skeleton key that goes in a keyhole that you can look through and see through to the other side of the door (no kidding).

roma8_keyhole

I actually didn’t look through the keyhole… but William did :proma8_keyholeCloseup

The key is kind of weird… if you turn it the correct way it will disable the handle… it doesn’t put a deadbolt in or anything, it just makes it so the handle isn’t able to open the door.

Last night, after talking on the phone, William left his phone to charge and went out of our room. That’s really all I knew… was he pacing around? Was he doing lunges downstairs (far away, and through the B&B door)? Was he doing pushups? Where was he for 30+ minutes?

I was debating what to do… get up and find him, or just go to bed and trust he would come soon. I heard people come and and out of the B&B so I knew he hadn’t locked himself out (the 3 room keys were there, as was the bathroom skeleton key). Then, I heard someone knocking. That was weird. That was unusual. That got me out of bed.

I open our door… no in is in the shared hallway. I open the B&B door and call out… no William. I go to our bathroom and try to open it… it’s locked. What? It’s not supposed to be locked… the key is in the room! “William?” “I’m locked in… :/”

ROFL.

What happened is somehow the door was locked, but it was still able to shut… but not open again. And that is how he spent a good portion of his night. He was trying to figure out what to do – jump out the window? That would just put him on the street for a whole night. Sleep in there? Not a bad option. He said he counted five showers from other tennants and none of them responded to his knocking.

What a night (for him)!

So, back to today… we head out relatively early (around 10, I think), and head to the metro. Our destination was the Trevi Fountain, and then right next to it the Magnum ice cream “make your own” bar. Those were our main plans.

We got off of the metro and immediately saw the fountain we say on our first day walking around. We realized this was the same metro stop, and we were walking the same path! Pretty cool. It was a reminder of how small the “what to see” in Rome is pretty small.

One thing that has stuck out recently on our walks is the Pinocchio carvings… OH YEAH! This is an Italian story!! Duh… totally forgot that. But there are a lot of shops around here with Pinocchio stuff… here’s one on a bench:

roma8_pinochio

Here’s a sign saying the stuff was handmade… I take this with a huge grain of salt since it seems like nothing is handmade here (the paintings I bought (three for the price of one) are all over the place and mass produced, the art that the Africans are hawking “that they made with their own hands” are NOT handmade by them, etc.). This was one of the biggest turnoffs in Rome for me.
roma8_pinochio2

We walked around a bit and, almost without a map, made our way to the fountain. The night before William said “I wish we could see them clean out the coins.” Guess what… when we got there they were cleaning the fountain! It was as cool as it sounds. Here it is, again:roma8_trevi

Why are there so many coins in this fountain? You are supposed to (a) throw it over your shoulder, (b) make a wish, and then (c) throw it into the fountain. If you do that, then you will “return to the Eternal City.” Get that? You’ll go back to Rome. Legend says nothing about your wish :p

Here’s a pic of the Trio right after they threw their coins in (I did not throw any in):roma8_trevi_trio

Next, we walk about thirty paces to the Magnum shop (which I have repeatedly, to the amusement of the Trio, called Man-gum), and made these: roma8_magnum

One of the funny things I saw while in Rome was a police car (old, old fiat) driving up the road by Magnum… immediately, the vendors picked up their makeshift cardboard tables with their wares, held them, looked at anything except the cops, and even though they were obviously vendors without a license trying to hide their stuff, the cops just went right past them. The corruption… bleh.

This is one of many things that we’ve said “we should do this at home!! Why don’t we do this at home??”

When you walk around Rome you see these four letters almost everywhere: roma_8_spqr

Do you know what this stands for? I thought it had something to do with Spartacus… but that doesn’t make sense. I think he was a bad guy, at least at the time, in Rome. So what is it? Actually, it has a fascinating history, and once you know it, it makes you proud (Roman or not).

Check out the meaning here.

As we wandered around more (this was very reminiscent to Day 1 here in Rome, except we were saying goodbye instead of exploring), we happened upon yet another cathedral… I thought it was just a small dome constituting a passageway or gate for the roads here, but when we went in it turned out to be a surprisingly good-sized cathedral. The most impressive thing was the ceiling, which appeared to have God (the Christian God, not a Roman God) at the very top… I don’t remember seeing that anywhere else here (although I’m sure it was around), in the ancient buildings.
roma8_church_cieling

I should mention that the hours spent walking around Rome where in streets, which seemed more like alleys, like this: roma8_sam_walking

There was all kinds of art around… this one jumped out at is… paper mache of old Italian newspapers over shoes, now serving as planting “pots”:roma8_cactus_shoes

Here’s a pic of the palm trees… they were all over, proving that this is a hot and somewhat humid place:roma8_palmtrees

We decided to head back to the hotel area and look for a park that seemed to be on Google Maps… on our way back we walked past the Castel San’Angelo, and all agreed that was a true highlight of our time in Rome. We had been on this path before and knew how to get to the metro. I sat on one of these benches to wait for the Trio to catch up… maybe we should build something similar at home? Kind of a cool bench with greenery. roma8_benches

While waiting, one of the vendors from Africa came up and “gave” me a “free” “gift.” He was aggressive and imposing, but I was adamant that I didn’t have any coins or cash. It was a free gift though… no problem, he kept saying! If you’ve ever been you’ll recognize the gift as some kind of turtle, and an elephant, and a bracelet. When the Trio caught up with me we started walking away and he was like “you gotta pay me!” I was like “you said this was a gift…” and then he got upset, and demanded my free gift back, and huffed off.

I don’t usually mess with people like that but having that experience multiple times a day every day that we’ve been there was enough. Rome really should clean that up.

We got on the metro for the very last time (thank goodness, we didn’t have to hear “busy tomatoes” anymore…) and got to our neighborhood… we walked and walked to where Google Maps said the park should be and found it was just a huge campus of the Roman bank… and definitely off-limits to us. “Is there a park around here?” “Just walk 10 minutes down there, and you’ll get to a park.”

We walk down there, about five minutes, and hit a dead-end. No park. But we were just by our B&B so we decide to kill almost two hours there instead of walking around more (I think we hit 6 miles by the end of the day)… plus, our B&B had a bathroom we could use :p

When we got there our hostess was there and I mentioned that we were ready… she said “want to go now?” HECK YEAH… I usually don’t like to go to the airport that early, but (a) we would miss rush hour traffic, (b) it was better than waiting at the B&B.

So Alina drives us to the airport… she is pretty awesome… she works very hard and was great to us. We got there two hours before we could check in… we were in for a long night.

I walked around looking for Gelato (none!! What? Are we still in Rome??), and got a Sudoku book for 1.5 euros, and sat down to do some puzzles. Two hours later we checked our luggage in, got our ticket, and were directed to Gate D17. REMEMBER THAT… it comes up again!

We hunted around the MASSIVE gate for food and found a nice cafeteria-style place where we had our last Roman meal, then found a gelato place (it was so good), and then went to D17… just a few minutes before it was time to board some of us ran for a potty break… when I got to the line with Sam and William I noticed that D17 was… to Nice, France!!

WHAT??

I’m not going back to France!

I went to a ticket lady who was super rude and not helpful, and then found a monitor to see that sometime they had changed our flight from D17 to C5. UGH.

We hustled to C5 and got there with time to get on, but it was a little stressful considering we were down to the line on this one! Luckily, my ankle was good enough that I could hustle… which surprised at least one of the Trio members :)

We got on our plane and had an uneventful two hour flight… then we land in Barcelona! Even in the dark it was beautiful!

We got our luggage pretty quickly and hopped in a taxi… $45 later we were at our hotel, around midnight. I had a 10 a.m. meeting with a JibberJobber user, so after a quick chat with my family back home we went to bed.

Tomorrow there is only one thing on the agenda: the beach!

 

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