Day One: Coventry Toilets and Robbin' Romans

After an early morning start to a dubious Coventry airport, courtesy of Phil, we were some what delayed by the Mainframe at Swanwick breaking down so all flights were delayed 2 hours. Not bad but I think that the facilities at Coventry were somewhat limited - it took Paul exactly 30 seconds to do the shop.

Next problem - toilets: One can per sex. Usually a problem for women, but with three flights stacked up, the place was getting really overcrowded. And as usual with blokes, it stank.

Anyway, eventually we get in the air for a really dodgy flight - turbulence all the way, and a hard landing by the Irish Pilot at Champino airport, some 8 miles outside Rome.

After finding our baggage and a coach to Rome, our first taste of being "robbed by the bleedin' Romans" came about with a 45 euro taxi fare to a hotel at a pace faster than Star Taxis of Bilston. Anyway, we know now don't we?

Next stop check in and sort the transport, after a nice lunch in the Zoo in the Vila Borghese.

Here's our entrance into Rome, by the City Wall's:

We then proceeded to find the city centre of Rome when all hell let loose in the sky. Thunder, Lightning and torrential rain drove us to seek shelter in a cafe. After the sky had done its "welcome to Rome" stuff and we had got the message from Jupiter, we proceeded to the Bus Terminus and purchased a travel pass for the duration of our visit. Why didn't we do this earlier? Why oh Why?! Well, we live and learn. And we learnt 7 euro's is cheaper than 45 - don't go by Roman Taxi's.

Next stop: The National Museum for a look around some old smashed up marble and stuff. Nice if you like smashed up marble but I noticed than even Paul's extremely high patience with art and the "nice" side of life was being fully tested here, so we made a run for it and decided to try out the bus passes. Hmmn, which one goes near the Vila Borghese??

After trying the obvious, we then made for the hotel and some much needed rest. As we approached the hotel, it was then that we decided that there was an extremely large number of blue shirted policemen with guns and automartic weapons outside the hotel. Could it be that we had booked via www.mafia.co.it for the holiday and the police had found out? Ha! On the street on the first day - that we be something to tell Dave Orton! After bluffing our way past the cordon with the great Italian Phrase " WE ARE STAYING AT THAT HOTEL", we were informed by the receptionist that non-other than President G.W.Bush was staying in the next street to the hotel. Great. I'm going to wear out my passport showing it to the Carabineri.

Police protection for G W Bush outside our hotel

G.W.Bush in Rome

After a much needed rest (yes Dave, we were knackered) Dinner was in order and having negociated our way past the Carabinerli again, we found some local bars nearby and ate our first portion of pasta.

At chucking out time and a dirth of good looking Roman women, we retired for the evening, safe in the knowledge that any moment we could be wiped out by a stray rocket from either the US Marines, the CIA, the Carabineri or any of the US's current enemies. But on the positive note, the traffic was quiet. In fact there wasn't any!

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