Off to Rome – November 2015
After a lot of last minute switching, my trip to Europe ended up having a 23 hours in Rome. So after a stressful day and night, I got up early to head to YVR to catch a quick shuttle flight to SeaTac in a little prop plane (Dash 8). The flight was short and fairly uneventful, although the cloud cover coming in to Seattle was impressive and I felt like we were stuck in a cloud… But we eventually broke free and landed. After a fairly long layover in Seattle, where I visited both the United Club Lounge in Concourse A and The Club at the south terminal, it was time to head off to Frankfurt.
The flight to Frankfurt was on a 747, and since the plane didn’t have a first class, the upper deck was business class. I’ve always loved 747s, ever since I was little, but I typically don’t fly in them very often since they’re being replaced by newer airplanes. I boarded and made my way to the upper deck to enjoy my window seat! The service was great, good wine selections and I even got a bit of port with dessert. The entertainment wasn’t all that impressive a selection but seeing as I was hoping to spend a good chunk of the flight sleeping, that maybe worked to my advantage. After a decent nap, with just under 2 hours to go, breakfast was served, complete with espresso (if you asked), and we started our decent down to Frankfurt. After going through passport control I was off to the business class lounge. I was surprised (and grateful) when I discovered they had shower facilities and managed to snag one right when I walked in. I had just enough time to grab a seat and drink a soy latte and a mimosa before it was off to my next flight.
The flight to Rome had the standard European business class seats (just the middle seat blocked) however I ended up in row 1 with a nice bit of leg room. They served breakfast and I did managed to get one of the toy Lufthansa ducks they usually give to kids the hour and a half flight to Rome passed fairly quickly and we were landing in the Italian capital.
Due to the nature of this portion of the trip I ended up booking a last minute deal the Domus Libera for a pretty good rate. The hotel was generally pretty nice but they had the most uncomfortable toilet seats I’ve ever used. The staff was nice, but I think there were a few miscommunications which put a bit of a downer on my stay.
With my limited time I was off in short order for a quick walk around the city. First up was the Colosseum, where I didn’t go in, but did walk around the entire circumference. It was under quite a bit of repair, so I didn’t get that iconic image, but close enough! I made it all the way around and ended up at the Arch of Constantine. The roman forum also looked interesting, but again I did not go in, though you could see quite a bit from the outside gates.
Then I scooted over back towards the hotel and hit up a few more of the “must-sees”, Pantheon, Trevi fountain, before heading back to my hotel as the sun was starting to set. I spend some time recharging before venturing out again. This time the destination was Vatican City. Although it was night time, you can still wander around the Piazza. They had hundreds of chairs set up in front of the basilica, I’m not sure what for. They square seemed smaller than I pictured it, or maybe it was because of all the chairs.
I also wandered over to the Vatican post office, which is apparently much more efficient than the Italian postal system, and said hi to some Swiss guards ( they posed for a picture). Afterwards, aiming for Piazza Navona, I wandered through the roman streers, taking in sights as I went. As luck would have it, I stumbled across a little vegan restaurant on my way to the square: Cambio Vita. They had a dinner buffet for 8 euros, including wine, so I put a little bit of everything on a plate and chowed down… It was delicious! I also grabbed some gelato and a piece of banana cake/bread for breakfast the next morning.
A final stop for the evening, the hotel suggested Trestavere to fine a place to grab a drink. I walked over the Ponte Garibaldi, with a nice view up and down the river, and started to look for a place to have a glass of wine. After walking around in circles for a while, I finally settled on sitting on the patio at Enoteca Trastevere and asked the waiter for a suggestion for a glass of red wine. Feeling pretty good about the fact that I had managed to make it to 10 pm, I wandered back to my hotel to grab some sleep in the very comfy bed.
I ended up sleeping in a bit, thanks to the jet leg, and had a somewhat relaxing morning. I checked out by 9am and made my way back to the airport. After a bit of misdirection, I ended up almost being late, but made it to the airport before the check in cutoff.
Luckily I managed to skip the security line because I was in business class (good thing too because I’m not sure I would have made it otherwise) and made it through passport control and to the gate. I was finally was able to relax a bit and rewarded myself on a good layover with a glad of wine
23 hours is definitely not enough time to see Rome properly, but I was able to get a decent amount in and now I know better for my next trip back to the city.