En route to Sicily via Rome, travelling with Alitalia from Heathrow, I asked my husband to show me a bit of the Italian capital. We had five hour stopover and I thought we had plenty of time to take a peek of the city, have a meal at a tavola calda and head back to the airport.
That was the plan.
When we got out of the airport, we found buses going to the city and quickly bought a return ticket to save a few euros. We were both mistaken. The trip took more than half an hour.
The bus stopped not so near to the Colosseum and we had to take a train. We had to buy tickets from the vending machine and they cost 1 euro for the return trip (I think). But the machine accepts only coins and we didnt have any. Now there was a lady standing by who readily offered to exchange our €10 note with 9 x €1. Clever. Crafty. But a sure help in time of need.
We arrived at the Colosseum a little after sunset and the city lights have been turned on. I looked at the ruins with mixed emotion of admiration and sadness. We walked around on the original cobbled street, took a picture with the Arch of Constantine and bought some postcards. And that was the end of my Roman tour.
It was such a quick one that even the photos can tell you they were taken in a hurry. Indeed my photos didnt do justice to the beauty of the place but I vow to get back to Rome and spend a day or two, ride on a vespa and fulfill my dream of a Roman Holiday.
I wanted to see more but it was time to get back. Now instead of using our return ticket for the bus, we feared we were not going to make it in time to catch the final leg of our flight. So we bought a train ticket back to the airport which was going to take us only 15 minutes but cost twice as much as the bus.
So many things went wrong in this trip.
Firstly, including our meal, we spent nearly €100 for that quick visit to Rome. I felt we didnt get the value for our money.
Secondly, we didnt have the leisure of taking good photos because we were in a hurry. In fact, we only had four photos taken.
Thirdly, we didnt get to see other places. Luckily, on the bus I saw a bit of the city and some magnificent buildings. I was so impressed! How much more if we had enough time to spend visiting them.
Lesson learned: Never travel without a plan or itinerary set beforehand. Unless you have more money than sense, you might end up spending money you didnt have.