Our first interaction in Rome was with the lady at the tourist information booth where we picked up our RomaPasses. We waited in a short queue, then jubilantly told the lady we were there to pick up our passes that we booked online, but we’re sorry, we forgot to print our reservation confirmation. She looked not at us, but at a point just below our faces, for a few seconds before saying, “Well?”
“Yes? We booked online,” I repeated.
“Well, who are you? Give me SOMETHING with your name on it.” She gesticulated wildly with her hands as she said this.
“Oh, like my passport?” She rolled her eyes and nodded her head vigorously. “If you need to see an ID, you just to ask,” I said, as I handed her my passport.
She was also very short with us when we asked questions about how long the pass was valid and where we could use it, claiming that she had “a long queue” to deal with.
Despite that, we have been overjoyed to have arrived in the eternal city, though from our first jaunt through the train station, I think it should be more aptly named the eternally smoky city. Every man, woman and child was smoking something or other beneath huge signs proclaiming that smoking is forbidden in the station.
Although I’ve only been here once, I feel much more comfortable here than I did in Venice or Florence or Chiusi. It’s the sense of coming back, rather than arriving someplace new. After checking in to our wonderful apartment on Via Cavour at 2:00, we went on walkabout, surveying some of the major landmarks like the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. For three hours we wandered the streets, climbing hills and braving the treacherous paving stones, before returning “home” to unpack and relax before dinner.
Thus starts our adventure in Rome.