For those who have followed my recent travelblog charting my trip from Singapore to Rome at http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog/retiredandcrazy/3/tpod.html will know that we should have stayed in Italy for 7 days, we left after 2! The reason is simple. My travel companions Jill, Angelo and I didn't like it there. Why?
Our opinion of Italians is that they couldn't organise a p***-up in the brewery, they are rude and hostile, even to each other and the trains are a total nightmare.
So, start at the beginning. We arrived in Rome last Saturday, checked into a nice hotel with "bad attitude" staff and set off on our planned walking tour of the Vatican. Took the bus to Vatican City, managed, with great difficulty to get directions to our meeting spot, eat lunch and then tried to find out why there were so many ambulances in the vicinity. No-one claimed to know.
After lunch we set off to walk to our rendevue spot but by this time the crowds had built up. As we walked the crowds got thicker untill we became hemmed in and could hardly move. Still no-one seemed to know what was going on! We tried to press on, but couldn't, tried to go back, but couldn't. It was very scary because we were being moved into ever thicker crowds. After we finally moved to clearer ground we found out that Angela Merkel was in audience with the Pope and they were expecting 300,000 people in St John's Square. Mad. And no-one knew this was going to happen. Oh come on!
OK, we were the victim of circumstance. Next day we set off to ride the hop-on hop-off bus. We were told to stand in line and buy a ticket from the newsagents. BUT the newsagent had run out of tickets and we were then told to stand in line get one on the bus. This we did, for nearly 40 minutes! When it arrived it was nearly full and fights broke out to get on while three attendents stood by and watched.
Nearly an hour later we managed to get on the next bus. Same thing, but being determined we managed get on. The route had been changed and took us no-where interesting and the commentry didn't match the route. Finally we decided to give up and went back to the hotel via the railway station so that we could check out the trains to Sorrento the next day. Have you ever been to an Italian railway station? My advice, don't!
Again, total chaos reigned and we weren't able to find out anything worthwhile. I have travelled on Italian trains and know the traumas involved. Even their own advice is "Note: some of the escalators and elevators are not working so you may need to haul heavy luggage up/down stairs. Keep an eye on luggage in case they get feet and walk off. There are also sometimes bad people that have either spit on the seats or have other bodily fluids that don't smell too good on the train floor. You can take the train to Sorrento by checking on the boards. Attention as they might change platform at the last minute. Inside the train there are, sometime, a few people begging for money. Do like you never heard them and do not open wallets around."
No shit! Sounds a ball doesn't it? And then there were the four druggies that were passed out cold on the pavement on the way back to the hotel and the two black guys routing through a suitcase that obviously didn't belong to them. This is not to mention unmentionably dirty toilets, some without doors and a tramp using the washhand basin to clear his throat and nose in full sight and sound of people buying fancy cakes in the bakery.
When we got back to the hotel we looked at each other and almost in unison said, "shall we go home?" The answer was "yes"!!
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