Roaming in ROME!!! - Night 1 (16 December 2007)

10:21 PM

16th December...
It was our first time going to Italy. Our first stop is Rome. We were excited, and we didn't want to miss our flight, which scheduled to depart at 12:45pm from London Stansted.

We left Uxbridge at around 7:30am, took Metropolitan line to Baker Street.

If you have read about Sherlock Holmes, you will definitely know Baker Street. One of the attraction in Baker Street is Madame Tussauds, which is a wax museum.

Why we went to Baker Street when we supposed to go to Rome? Well, we went there to take easyBus to Stansted airport. The pickup point is at Gloucester Place. (Note: A check with easyBus website shows that it is departing from London Victoria now) You can purchase ticket earlier through their website, and it should cost you a few pounds. EasyBus is orange in colour, so, you won't miss it.

We bought ticket for 9:40am bus to Stansted. There is one bus every 20 minutes. As we arrive early, around 9am, we took the 9:20am bus to Stansted as there were still seat for us.
The ride was ok, but a bit stuffy. As it was winter, no one open the windows and there were about 10 peoples inside the bus. We did went pass Harrod, Natural History Museum.
The journey took about 1 hours and 35 minutes.

We arrived at London Stansted around 10:55am. We took RyanAir to Rome Ciampino airport. We purchased the ticket through RyanAir website. Piece of advice, don't book too early (or too late), there will be usually promotion when one or two months before departure date. We purchased our ticket in first few days of October. The ticket price was 0.01 pound, excluding tax.
It is cheap!!!

London Stansted is a budget terminal. It is clean and neat. Nothing spectacular. It was very crowded as most people were rushing to go home for Xmas. Very Very crowded.

We boarded RyanAir. I must say, RyanAir was a bit below our expectation. The plane was quite stuffy and a bit uncomfortable. But, 0.01 pound to Rome, can't ask for more. :)
Overall, still very happy to have bought RyanAir.

London Stansted to Rome Ciampino took about 2 and a half hour. When approaching Rome, the lower the flight ascends, the more excited we are. We also managed to have a bird eye's view of Rome. From the picture beside, you can see the buildings in Rome clearly, and it was almost sunset.

After 2 and half hour journey on the flight, we finally reached Rome, Ciampino Airport. It is a budget terminal, so it is small and basic. Our hotel was in Rome City Centre, near Termini, so we took Terravision. Again, we purchased the ticket online. There are counter at the Ciampino airport and Stansted airport. The fare was EUR 8 per person.

We boarded the bus outside airport near the carpark. It was unpleasant ride. The driver didn't inform us when the bus will leave. So we seated inside the bus and waited for some times. The bus left after they able to get enough passengers.
It was winter, so, the air conditioner is not on. The windows are closed. We felt very hot, dry and stuffy inside, making us very difficult to breathe and uncomfortable. I believe other passengers felt the same too. The bus journey was about one hour. It was aweful!

Finally, we reached via Marsala, outside Termini Station. First impression of Rome, messy and dirty. The walls are full of graffiti and there were quite a number of homeless people outside Termini Station. As we heard there are a lot of pickpockets in Rome, we got a bit worried. But eventually we got used to it, and in fact we think it is the identity of Rome, which make it unique.

We lose our way while finding our hotel, no sense of direction. We walked into Termini and came out from another exit. We only have a printed map of the hotel on hand. Luckily we was in the junction of via Marsala and via Solferino. We booked Hotel Stella through
Hotel Stella is situated at via Castelfidardo, which is straight down from via Solferino. So, we managed to find our way there.
There is a supermarket nearby the hotel and there is a pub beside the hotel. Some of the tourists reviewed that the pub can be very noisy during weekend. Our stay was during weekdays, so, we had peaceful and quiet sleep. Hotel Stella is a two stars hotel. It is a bit small but comfortable, clean and cheap, we like it. Most importantly it is convenient and near supermarket which we visited a lot during our stay.

After checked in, we went for dinner. We went to Termini station Level 2 Ciao Restaurant. It is a self-serviced. Food were labeled in Italian. So we can only point and said "One". We ordered Spaghetti, Risotto and a bottle of wine. This was our first Italian food in Italy. We were so excited. It was so tasty.... (maybe we were very hungry... )

After meal, we wanted to go to the supermarket, but alas, it was closed. Closed at 8:00pm. It was 8:05pm when we walked pass there. We were so thristy, but no choice. We had to walk back to hotel for rest. We will have a busy day tomorrow... Vatican City...

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