Hello! I am officially back from my trip to Italy! To answer a couple quick questions: yes it was beautiful, yes I took lots of pictures, and yes it is bastard ass cold now that I’m back in Winnipeg (I even got a bit of a cold). I took a day off after arriving, to recover from the jet lag, and am now back to work and in the swing of things.
Over the next couple of days, I hope to post my pics to Flickr, and accompany them with a blog post covering the same time periods. This is the first of those, detailing the first two days... which were, not surprisingly, comprised mostly of a long flight over the Atlantic :)
I took the trip with Aaron, lead developer for CTRNet. The total flight, including layovers, was fifteen hours. That’s including the eight plus hour flight from Toronto to Munich. It’s a long time to be stuck in a seat, I kid you not! Especially when the in-flight movies are crap like The Game Plan. :/
The advice I was given for long flights like these was "sleep going east, stay awake going west", which makes sense. We started the flight at 2PM Friday from Winnipeg and landed 11PM Saturday in Rome. So, if you managed to get some shut-eye on the oversea flight, you’re in business jet lag wise. I, however, did not manage, and was not in business... but some sugar ladened cappuccinos solved that problem! :P
Oh, and by the way, a one hour layover at any airport is not enough time to catch a connecting flight. Ever. Our flight was twenty minutes late arriving to Munich, so we missed our connecting flight to Rome. Nothing more frustrating than being in an airport you’re not familiar with trying to make yourself understood to people who speak a completely different language. Luckily, we explained the situation to the right representatives in the end, and not only got another flight a couple hours later, but even got a free lunch out of it. Turns out the Lufthansa airline had an airline passenger bill of rights that cover what we were entitled to based on how long we would be stuck. Neat!
Our first hotel, which we stayed only the night, was a block away from the Colosseum, so we obviously started looking around that area. Bought a map and tucked it in my back pocket; Rome is a beautiful city to just get lost and wander around in, but I want to be able to get where I’m going eventually. Luckily, Rome is not very big overall (you can probably walk across it in an hour if you wanted) and has both an excellent Metro and lots of bus service.
After the sun sets, Rome gets lit up with street lights and floods. All the ruins and monuments are illuminated, making it worth while to visit every spot at least twice. The only thing I recommend is that you get used to negotiating with Roman traffic during the day, as it becomes a live action version of Frogger during the night! There are very few traffic stops, as Italy uses roundabouts and the like instead, so cars rarely stop or slow down. Crossing the street is more like playing chicken with half a dozen little Renaults and motor scooters!
Anyway, not too much in the first day in Rome... we mainly just went around for the sake of actually being there at last, rather than confined to a seat for hours. Early crash at the hotel, as we were going for an all day run around the next day!