Thursday, 23 August.
So, we have reached our final hours in Rome, but there was no taking it easy!
This morning, I realised that I had left my USB memory stick at the Internet Point I went to yesterday - these senior moments are getting just too frequent! Despite the odds, I wanted to see if I could get it back, which meant a trip back into Central Rome. We were also very keen to get to Mass at the Vatican, the times for which I had checked out on the internet, so we decided to try to achieve both goals.
We set off (just) in time for the advertised 9 am service. Along the way, we passed the queue that was forming for the Vatican Museum (opening at 10 am) and it was already longer than the queue we had experienced yesterday. We made it into St Peter's with a minute to spare, but didn't know where to find the specific altar that was being used. So we asked a guide and received an answer we didn't expect - Mass had just finished! And I thought everything on the internet was really up to date and accurate.... We were a little disappointed, of course, but enjoyed one last look around the Vatican, anyway.
Angela and Marie returned to the flat while I set of on my USB rescue. Incredibly, Don Quixote beat the windmill this time and the memory stick was still in the computer port where I had left it! With prize in hand, I set off "home" and even caught a bus inside the 75 minute limit, so that I didn't have to buy another ticket. Once I got back, it was a quick pack and a final farewell to a terrific flat. If any of you are thinking of going to Rome and would like to stay here, write to Signor Massimo Zoli at firstname.lastname@example.org - he will definitely look after you very well.
We decided to take the adventurous route to the airport. Massimo had told us it woul.d take at least a couple of hours to get to Ciampino by metro and bus, but we thought we would give it a go. As it turned out, it took about 1 º hours and only cost 2.40 Euros each - that was a lot better than 50 Euros+ for a shuttle and no drama at all. It did mean that we spent a lot of time at the airport, but it was better than stressing about being late.
So, on to Venice. The flight was pretty uneventful and only about 50 minutes. RyanAir is seriously basic, but at the prices we paid, we weren't complaining. At least the coffee on board is quite cheap, too! We arrived at Treviso airport and took the shuttle bus to Venice. Although we had been warned it could be up to an hour, we only took 30 minutes, so it wasn't too bad - and at 9 Euros return, cheap enough. From the Palazza De Roma, we had to take a water bus along the Grand Canal to San Angelo, where we were met by our hostess. What a great experience that was! I haven't been to Venice since I was 15 and Marie and Angela have never been. To cruise along the Grand Canal at dusk was awesome and looking down all the side canals made me think of the movie Waterworld. It is quite amazing to see this city and wonder at how it developed, when there is plenty of dry land nearby... I guess I need to read up more on Venetian history.
When we were met by Gracia, she took us along a veritable maze of laneways and over bridges to our flat, which was on the second floor of a little unit block. The flat was less than half the size of the flat in Rome, but as we were only going to sleep there, we didn't care that much. It was still very cute and cosy.
After dropping our bags, we went looking for a bite to eat and discovered we were just two lanes away from the Piazza Di San Stefano which, we also discovered, had an internet point and the best gelato in Venice - better even than Giolotti's in Rome! The Nocciola (hazelnut) was the BEST!! That was pretty much it for us, for Thursday, so off to bed and a good night's sleep in preparation for a big day ahead.
Ciao for now, Marie, Angela and Ray.