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We were picked up at 5:30 PM, on May 11th, for the drive to Pearson Airport. At a recommendation from Charlie and Cheryl Ryan, we have started to use Peter, a retired guy from Port Hope, for transportation to and from the airport. He comes to our house, we drive to the airport and he drives our car back to Oshawa. This time around, he got to drive our week old Mini Cooper S Countryman.
My many years of traveling with Air Canada paid off, as I now have lifetime Aeroplan Elite status, which gives us extra luggage, check-in at the preferred counter…no waiting…and access to the Maple Leaf Lounge, where we can kick back, relax, have dinner and refreshments. When you have to arrive at the airport 3 hours early for an international flight, that’s a BIG bonus!
We boarded AC890 for the direct flight to Rome, but take-off was delayed for close to an hour. We had paid the $100 extra for exit row seats, so there was lots of room to stretch out, watch a movie and enjoy the ride. Well, not exactly enjoy, since they do serve questionable meals and the ride was bumpy for much of the way.
We landed on time and met the pre-arranged transportation to our Homeaway apartment, in Trastevere, one of Rome’s trendiest areas. It was partly sunny when we arrived in Rome. The car was hot, but our non-English speaking driver got it cooled down quickly. The weather forecast for our time here wasn’t great, so we weren’t surprised when, not far down the road, it got a bit cloudy and then started to rain lightly for a while. As we got close to the city, it rained harder and when we got into the city, it became a torrential downpour. To add insult to injury, it hailed!! The pedestrians were running for shelter.
It was still raining hard, when we arrived at 21 Via Benedetta, our home for 3 days. The door was locked, but I pushed on one of the buzzers and someone opened the door for us. Unfortunately, I forgot to call to make arrangements for the key to the apartment, when we arrived at the airport. After I called, we had to wait close to an hour before someone came to let us in.
After climbing to the 5th floor – Bonnie counted 40 steps to the apartment door and then another 16 steps to get up to the living area – to our apartment, we got situated and, about 2:00 PM, went out to explore the streets and back alleys of Trastevere. We don’t have to go far to find a restaurant/bar/cafe, since there’s one on each side of our doorway and one across the street, which is about 10′ wide. Trastevere is a very popular place for nightlife….eating, drinking and entertainment. Of course, there’s good photography along the way.
One thing that really surprised us here, and we saw it on the streets during the drive in, is the amount of tagging, or graffiti. I’ve seen lots of it in different cities, even Toronto, but this is unbelievable! Beautiful old wooden doors are covered with it, walls, every available space. It makes for some interesting photography though.
We decided on Ristorante ‘Carlo Menta’, on Via della Lungaretta, for our first dinner in Rome and our first glass of red wine. Yes, I had a glass as well. In fact, we ordered a bottle and brought half of it back to the apartment. Cheap drunks!
On the walk back to the apartment, we stopped at a small market to pick up some fruit and yogurt for breakfast. We were back in the apartment by 9:00 PM, checked our email and, after a very long 2 days, called it a day.