Day 24 - Friday 22nd July.
22.07.2016 - 22.07.2016 28 °C
Only a few hours of sleep last night, up before 5am as we had a schedule of various forms of transport to hit today as we were traveling from the island to Rome. We quickly packed up the ancestral home of my mother, waved goodbye to the awesome views and took our luggage down to Canneto. We were aiming to catch the 6:10am bus over to Lipari to catch then the 7am hydrofoil across to Sicily. The man I hired our car met us there and my aunt also came down to say goodbye. We were on our way.
We got to the dock with time to spare, both grabbed a pastry and a coffee and waited. The hydrofoil was a few minutes late but we were off the island and by 8am had arrived back at Milazzo in Sicily. We then caught a taxi to Milazzo train station, we had booked seats on the 9:37am train to Rome. We got there an hour early, sat on a deserted station for most of the time then a few people came closer to the train arrival time. The train was late 15 minutes, but once it arrived we jumped on with our luggage. The seats we had booked had someone in them - apparently people sit anywhere as the trains are never full. We sat in the last row as there were 3 seats and left our luggage behind the 2 seats in front and left so we could keep an eye on them, and stored our hand luggage above.
The trip was going to be 9 hours, so plenty of time to rest and catchup on the travel blog - which I did. The train has a short trip of about 30kms to the tip of Sicily to Messina. The train drops off passengers then backs away and moves onto a ship that takes the entire train across the Strait to the mainland. First time I've ever seen that happen. We were able to get off the train as they cut all power and aircon and could go up the deck to get fresh air. By now I was hungry as I'd been awake over 5 hours and only had a pastry to eat. I bought 2 arancini and a drink and that hit the spot.
The train disembarked off the boat, getting on and off the ship was a lengthy process for the train. It took about two hours to get from our starting point to the mainland whilst only covering 30km. Once we took off the trip was quite pleasant. The track follows the western coast of the mainland up to Naples. We got to see lots of water, beaches and resort towns all with people swimming. The water looked so inviting, shame we couldn't use any of it.
The train had only a few stops spread throughout the journey. It had a longer stop at Naples but from there it was about two hours to Rome. Given the train was delayed from the start it made up lost time and we arrived in Rome just after 6:30pm. First time in over a week we were suddenly hit by crowds and hotter weather. Getting a taxi was fairly simple, only a short trip later and we arrived at our accommodation. Here in Rome I chose an apartment which I thought was a bed n breakfast, but the front door was locked and had no idea how to get in. I called up the contact who was actually in the apartment and she came down to meet us.
Quaint little one bedroom flat, very neat and had aircon! I was sweating carrying up the luggage as the room was on the second floor (no elevators) and it was so steamy. But we were here, had a chance to rest a few minutes then shower and go out for our first taste of Rome.
First noticeable thing about looking for a place to eat dinner is that the menu prices here are a lot higher than anywhere else in this trip so far. We walked a couple of short blocks, found a place that looked nice and we ate there. It had good ratings on Trip Advisor, but I was disappointed as the entree we shared and my main meal were too salty. It wasn't cheap either but that was a sign of things to come. Just so we wouldn't eat and go to bed we walked over to Piazza Novona, it was buzzing with people and artists selling stuff. We thought it was too busy and too dark to take pics, we just wandered around a little and came home. A long day of travelling so naturally we were both tired and had no problems falling asleep.