Trip Trippin’ Part 2-FCO
When in Rome… be prepared to be tired and stressed out when travelling with small children!!
Day one: arrive Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino airport. Baggage pickup and the Leonardo Express train to Termini (Rome’s central train station) were relatively smooth, except for one incident in which we discovered that elevators in Rome are shoebox-small, slow, and don’t reach every floor you want or need them to. The rest of our journey was quite stressful and tiring.
After arriving at Termini station, we headed to the TerraCafe (also in the station) to pick up our OMNIA Rome and Vatican cards, which allow unlimited use of public transportation including the hop-on, hop-off bus systems, and, most importantly, entrance to the Vatican, Colosseum, and one other main attraction without having to wait in line. If you’ve ever seen that massive Vatican lineup (I’ve stood in it once before, actually), you’ll know what value this holds. Waiting to pay regular admission could take two hours or longer.
Back to picking up the OMNIA cards, or lack thereof. Apparently they’d run out completely, and the only other place to get them was at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. After a long flight with about three hours of sleep (not to mention a 45-minute initial delay, insignificant at this point), each hauling 25-lb. backpacks, carry-on luggage, and pushing an unhappy Dani strapped into her stroller, we decided to just pick up the passes the next day. We search for the elevator. After a few attempts on our own and asking a local store clerk (apparently no one knows where the eff it is), a police officer finally points us in the correct direction. Too bad it’s under maintenance and appears to be the only one. Regretfully, we end up waking up Dani, who is not pleased with us, and yells out her unhappiness as we now balance a stroller, two large backpacks, two heavy carry-ons, and a 24-lb infant down the escalator. After purchasing two day passes for the Metro, we begin the arduous elevator journey down to Metro Line A- direction Anagnina. It is arduous because, yet again, it is shoebox-sized, and takes three of them to get down to subway level. Apparently, it is mastermind Roman urban planning that allows such elevators to descend only a few floors each time. In travel books and on online forums, “they” say that Rome is not child-friendly, but I wasn’t expecting this. I’ll never complain about the Eaton Centre’s “inefficiencies” ever again.
By this time, around 2.5 hours on foot since exiting the plane, our entire bodies are drenched in sweat in yesterday’s clothes, and our shoulders are caving in and defeated.
We make it to our stop and exit, look around, ask two locals for directions to the hotel, and somehow end up walking in a gigantic extend-a-route square path in the 32+ degree Roman weather with the aforementioned baggage, until we finally find our hotel.
The rest of the day was spent walking around the city, visiting the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and major shopping streets Via Corso and Via Condotti, with a stop for some mango and kinder egg-flavoured gelato along the way, obvi. I almost fell asleep two or three times while waiting for a meal or just getting a chance to sit. However, none of those details were as exciting as even getting here, so I’ll leave it at that. ‘Til the next…