Hello Everyone!! It’s been a few weeks since you’ve seen a post from me, and for good reason: we were traveling! I don’t feel that I can be a very effective travel agent if I don’t travel myself, so I spent two weeks getting acquainted with Europe (and a bit of Asia). This post will be the first of several, providing a comprehensive review of our trip, along with photos and some tips. So I hope you like to read. Here we go!
10 Day Eastern Mediterranean Cruise
Ports of Call:
Rome/Civitavecchia (port of origin/return); Katakolon/Olympia, Greece; Piraeus/Athens, Greece; Izmir/Ephesus, Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; Naples, Italy
1 Night Pre-Cruise in Rome, Italy
1 night Post-Cruise in London, England (flight stopover)
Day 1: Flight and Pre-Cruise
Mr. B and I had a 7:45pm British Airways flight from Tampa International to London Gatwick Airport, and after a two hour morning layover, connected to our flight to Rome. This nearly 8 hour flight was the longest ever for both of us, so were concerned about staying entertained in the air. Fortunately, British Airways had their Highlife Entertainment On-Demand Screens installed on the 777, so we were both able to watch 2 movies before falling into the always uncomfortable airplane sleep. (I still regret not watching Magic Mike…). BA provided two meals on our flight – dinner and breakfast – and have a completely open bar on their international flights. So if your desire is to drink the flight away, you can do just that!
We had a layover at Gatwick and quickly learned that your gate isn’t announced until 30 minutes before boarding begins. Which led to us sitting, bleary-eyed, in the main terminal trying not to purchase every snack available. They’re very strategic with this, I think.
Finally, our flight boarded and we were off to Rome!!
Note: you do not need to complete a U.K. Landing Card if you’re merely connecting through the airport. If you leave the airport, you’ll need to supply one to Passport Control. Seems common sense, but trust me… there was some confusion about this.
Upon landing at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, we went through Passport Control and collected our bag from baggage claim. (Once we found the right baggage claim….we were SO sleepy). Our plan was to hop on the Leonardo Express train straight to Termini, however we passed about 1,000 advertisements for the Terravision Bus that was only 4 Euros..so guess what we did instead? Right.
The bus ride took about 40 minutes and dropped us off right outside of Termini Train Station. From there, we walked about 10 minutes to Aberdeen Hotel, located on Via Firenze. Even with our baggage, the walk was not bad at all. We made sure to keep our important belongings close to us and walked like we knew where we were going, and no one bothered us.
After checking into the hotel, we freshened up and prepared for our evening in Rome. Although we were dog-tired, we knew that a “nap” would turn into “sleep” and we’d have a more difficult time with the jet lag. And how right we were; we had absolutely NO issues adjusting to the new time zone, which was 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
We obtained a dinner recommendation from the front desk clerk (who spoke perfect English), and headed out on foot to explore Rome. In the 6 hours we spent walking, we managed to see the Piazza della Repubblica, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Palentine Hill (in passing), the Arch of Constatine and the Colosseum. We were completely lost trying to find our way from the Pantheon to the Colosseum, but thanks to our handy map, we managed to get there. The streets of Rome can get very confusing. Not to mention, motor vehicles have no regard for pedestrians and..well..vice versa. It was a free-for-all. Definitely keep an eye out for the mopeds. They’re everywhere and have no regard for human life.
Because we walked for SO long, we never made it to the restaurant. We picked up some gelato (which I fell in love with. Stracciatella? Marry Me) and sat down for a quickie spaghetti dinner. (When in Rome…)
BVB Travel Tip: Rome is very easy to do on your own, IF you have a good sense of direction, a good map and/or a great data plan on your phone (for the GPS services). If that’s not your style, there are Hop-On, Hop-Off buses you can utilize instead. They pick up and drop off at specific locations, which will save you the time of walking between sites. However, you will pay a price (approximately 25 Euros per person for 48 hour pass) and..well..have you SEEN the traffic in Rome? No? You’ll spend a lot of time sitting in it on these buses. If all else fails, there are a plethora of guided tours available, which can be booked online. Check TripAdvisor to see what’s available, or talk with your super nice, gelato-loving travel agent!
Coming Soon: Rome Day 2 and Cruise Embarkation!!!