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Friday, October 7, 2011

Civitavecchia: Transfer to Hell, er, Rome

Transfer days are always such sheer hell. We planned an extra day in Rome just to put off the next transfer day. It was also supposed to be for resting and regaining equilibrium. Instead we went down a terrible rabbit hole and it took four days to get back out.

You always get thrown off the ship early. The bigger, the earlier. Since this is a small ship, we didn't have to get off until, like 9:30 AM. So that, at least was good. And customs and immigration are nothing, and there were porters and the buses were right there. Stupidly, we took this as a sign something good was about to happen.

Bah. Immediately, more or less, we started seeing trouble. The drive from Civitavecchia to Rome is unremarkable and takes maybe an hour and a half. An hour in, someone was desperate to use the bathroom. They asked if a stop was planned. No. They asked if they could stop. No. Why not? There was no place to stop.

We were sitting quite close to the front and when Joyce heard this, she said, "What about that gas station right there? You stop there right now."

The driver was apparently mesmerized by this, and did as he was told. As soon as desperate lesbian number one got off, and ran in, she was followed by desperate lesbians two, three and four.

Now, I know how long the trip is, for one thing, and I don't drink coffee, for another. If I did, I wouldn't have on this occasion. However, many lesbians drink coffee, being humans, and many people over 40 have intestinal issues. Knowing this, Olivia and/or the ship should have arranged either a scheduled stop or a bus with a toilet. Cruises attract senior citizens. Allow for this fact. It turned out not to be about coffee, but the other issue. So plan ahead, tour people.


Not much later, we got to the tour hotel, which was not our hotel, and got a taxi to "our" hotel, the Radisson BLU Roma. You think Radisson, you think quality, right? Forget that nonsense. Maybe "BLU" is code for "fucked up" in Esperanto or something. This place is a big, fancy, expensive, dump.


We chose it for location and a pool. The location was as promised; we'd stayed on the same street before. They actually had two pools, surrounded by splintered planking, entered by loose handrails (or none) and absolutely freezing. Want a towel? Sometimes they had them, on the opposite end of the whole freakin' roof from the entrance to the pool. Other times, not. And if not, they wouldn't get you any, either, claiming there were none. It was just one of those places, and we've all been to them, that act like they are doing you a great big favor if they do their jobs, and if they don't, so what?

They shouldn't have messed with us. But they did, and oh, boy, did we make them just as miserable as they made us.

But let's go back to our arrival at this extraordinary house of misery. It didn't look bad at first, not at all. Here is an antiquity right outside the hotel.



And here is another, actually under the hotel.


We were pleased and diverted by these, because we thought it was a sign of respect for the area. They preserved and highlighted these ruins (some of which are still being excavated.)

But look what we saw next.

Would you rather sit on a set of boulder-sized bowling balls?

Or an upturned kayak?



Perhaps you would like the staff to welcome you.


Don't worry, there's no danger of that happening!

I'll continue tomorrow. I get depressed every time I think about this place, so you'll see Rome in very small doses.

At the end of each Rome entry, I shall present an aspect of one of our rooms that made our stay regrettable.



A Radisson BLU "dresser."

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