Our train departed Termini at 11:12 am for Civitivecchia. I’d purchased tickets online from RailEurope really cheap; they were good for a month on this route. But I was still a bit nervous about this leg of the journey. Did I have the right tickets? Would we find the right train? So we departed for the station in plenty of time.

Termini is something of a destination itself — decent eating, nice shopping, great people watching — so it was not too painful but we were eager to be on our way. When they finally posted the platform number, it was the very last one and seemed a mile away. I was pulling heavy luggage in floppy sandals, much too slow.

Somehow we missed the first class cabin and became crammed in second class but the train was leaving and there was no escape. Turned put we were just lucky to get seats as it filled to overflowing on the next stop. So much for the non-stop route I thought I’d purchased! It was hot and miserable until the train passed through several stations and the crowd thinned out again. Soon thereafter, the Mediterranean seashore came into full view. We found comfortable seats and enjoyed a boost in AC, relaxing until our final destination.

As we rode, we chatted with a couple from Philadelphia who relayed a curious and disconcerting scene in Rome, at the Spanish Steps. A mugging occurred in full daylight and full view of several policemen, one of whom gave chase. The thief was admonished but not apprehended. The stolen goods were not retrieved. Both thief and policeman returned to their posts as if nothing had happened.

Our train-mate, a professor at a respected university, also relayed that multiple Rome restaurants charged for things they did not order. In these instances, the bill was corrected. However, on a recent trip to Turkey, one bill was many hundreds of dollars in excess. Upon complaint, an alternate menu was produced with outrageous prices. There was nothing to do but pay it, although he later discovered the restaurant had been listed on the State Department website due to multiple U.S. citizens’ complaints. I became even more thankful for two trips to Rome with nothing more than taxi rip-offs!

~René Morley

Read all about Roma, 2012! Friday | Saturday morning | Vatican Museums | Saturday evening | Sunday

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