The last time I left you, Mark had suggested we ditch early from Elba to take in Rome before heading home.
A brief conversation of:’ can we really do this? is it cost-effective? ‘ very quickly became:’ you only live once, hang the expense!’ Like fugitives, we began packing at speed to be able to depart on the first ferry off the island to the mainland the next morning.
Mark had secured a room for one night in Rome. We emailed the apartment owner on Elba to explain our sudden departure, enjoyed a final breakfast at a bar, hauled our cases to the port, cast a final look at the island over our shoulders and boarded the ferry just as my grandfather had before also heading to Rome with his parents as a young boy.
Getting from our apartment in Elba to the hotel in Rome was going to be a mad dash as timings of connections were uncomfortably close but in true De Vivo/Jones style, we were up for the challenge. From the port at Piombino, we were able to buy train tickets straight through to Rome for €50 for all of us.
Like everything in Italy, the bus from the port to the train station was ten minutes late, narrowing the next connection gap considerably. We willed the bus to move faster and dived off moments after it stopped. Clinging to our belongings we hurtled to the platform, activated the tickets, climbed aboard, stowed the bags and sat! phew! Made it.
It wasn’t a straight forward route to Rome and an hour in, we had to alight at Felonica and wait about 40 minutes for the next connection. A table between our four seats was a welcoming discovery on the train. With two hours to kill and nowhere to go everyone fell into their preferred method of distraction after a spot of lunch.
There was a stark and obvious difference between what we had left and what greeted us in Rome. We had enjoyed such a calm and sedate movement of life for six days and now we were thurst into a hive of activity with people rushing in all directions and no room for politeness. Being ploughed into and barged passed was a fast lesson in doing the same.
If you cant beat them, join them!
In the apartment on Elba, after I’d packed all the bags ( note the annoyance) Mark decided that we were better off mixing up the clothes so that we all had something in one bag meaning that in Rome we could stow bags at the station without the need to lug them through the streets. Although at the time, I was less than impressed at having to unpacked and repack – it was late, I was tired- Mark’s idea turned out to be the right one.
Just outside the station, we found a left luggage company much cheaper than the equivalent in the station and for €23 we entrusted them with three bags for 24 hours allowing us to walk away much lighter.
The walk to the hotel was not as smooth sailing as you’d think, yes we were no longer shackled to luggage but it was hot and sticky, we wandered up and down every hill in Rome I’m sure before arriving at the square where the hotel was and we couldn’t see it.
It was well hidden in plain sight, after consulting google and reading that other tourists had met with the same conundrum, we were forced to ask. Our final push passed the finish line came with the many flights of stairs we had to climb after we failed to operate the lift to the hotel reception.
The hotel was right behind us but there was no indication where it was what so ever.
Housed above a church the Spledour Suite hotel was elegantly presented, feeling rather posh compared to where we’d come from I felt somewhat underdressed for such a place. Our family room had a mezzanine floor that excited the kids who began to hatch plans to spy on us all night. A quick shower, change of clothes and we were out the door: 24 hours left of our holiday, which left us precisely 24 hours to explore Rome before making our way back to Pisa airport.
we’d made it, let’s go!