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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rome to Umbria

I got to Rome Fiumicino airport arrivals hall at about the time the Uruguay-Ghana match was scheduled to end; I heard a radio voice talk about "if this goes to overtime"; I found my way upstairs and with construction going on, through the passageway, and down an elevator at the end, to the airport Hilton. I was checked in, on an award, to a nice room, with air conditioning after dealing with the heat in Paris.

Not sure about the Uruguay-Ghana match, I flipped through and saw it wasn't on the RAI channels, and figured I wouldn't get the satellite channel that was showing it exclusively in Italy. I saw a crawl on CNN saying it was still in overtime; I clicked past the movie channels and found a German channel carrying the match. There I saw the injustice of the flagrant hand ball, Ghana missing the penalty kicks, and losing the shootout.

I slept comfortably, getting up at 7.30 to have breakfast in the terminal rather than pay inflated Hilton prices. Back to the room to check out, and up the elevator to the start of the passageway. Now, around the airport complex, one can usually find luggage carts that can be taken for free. At the start of the passageway by the Hilton, there were carts lined up with a machine, appearing to be official, charging 1 euro for them. When I went to breakfast, there was a man standing around talking to me in English and Italian about the carts; I wasn't sure if he was offering one or asking about them, but I didn't care, since I wasn't carrying anything. Now as I was making the trip with my bags, I claimed a cart, he pulled it out and asked for a euro to him rather than into the slot. I'll take it that it was legitimate; at another point in the passageway, there were carts lined up without an attendant, and there appeared to be a release that was activated from the coin slot.

So I took the passageways to the top level of Terminal 3 (the former C side) and took the elevator down (with a mistaken stop at level 1) from level 2 to level 0, where I could cross to the intercity buses. I found the SULGA bus to Perugia at 10 minutes before its 9 a.m. departure. The bus waited until 9.15, when the driver came around and sold tickets: €21 to Perugia. The bus got to Tiburtina: I called my mother on my cell phone, with a patchy connection, to report on my progress. The bus started on its way; I noted a new lane being built on the A1 near Rome. Only one stop in Deruta, and we arrived at Piazza dei Partigiani at the scheduled 12.45 time. My parents and their friends weren't there; I gave them until 1 before making a phone call. I needed to leave a voice mail message, very patchy. Now this SIM card, which I got for emergencies before getting an Italian card, had next to no time on it, and I went through the process of calling to give credit card information to add $10 to it.

Finally my parents turned up, and got me to the pulled-over car where their friends Ken and Lesley were waiting. They'd missed a turn or two on the e-mailed directions I'd sent for the garage beneath the bus stop. They'd gone up to central Perugia, and I fear they'll incur a big ZTL fine.

From where we were, we found a way to the garage, and took the escalators up through the Rocca Paolina to central Perugia, where we had lunch at the Rosetta. Umbricelli with truffles and porcini were a nice welcoming meal. I'd been puzzled about my parents' flight, since I saw that their flight from Boston to JFK was first long delayed, then cancelled. They were rebooked on a flight to LaGuardia, had a surprise when that flight was delayed less than they were led to believe, and bused from LaGuardia to JFK.

We drove on to Umbertide without too much trouble, and settled in. I got an Italian SIM card, but so far they say they need my personal data, which I already gave, so no use from the phone during the weekend. Oh yes, Italy looks great, it's nice to settle in, and I'll have more on that in future posts.

1 comment:

  1. Great news, Andrew! Have a wonderful visit, and tell Umbertide hello for me. I'm missing her this year.