Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Plaines, Trains and Automobiles Part Deux...and Matthew Macfadyen

Next stop - Paris

We hated leaving London but it was time to move on to Paris so we caught the train that runs beneath the English Channel to arrive in Paris.  Amazing.

Paris was the only place where we had trouble with our taxi.  Not with the driver, but with this odd little man that came up to us and led us to an empty taxi outside the terminal.  He wouldn't back out of the car once we were in.  He kept saying he loved Americans and God Bless America and there is nothing like Americans...until we gave him a tip.  Then he left.

I don't have many pictures of Paris.  By the time we got into our room, which was very tiny and on the fourth floor, all I was concerned about was getting my husband warm (it was beginning to get very cold outside now) and having him rest.  Rich's colds almost always morph into pneumonia and I knew what we were in for.  That was when I ran outside in the rain looking for a place to buy him food, or at least a cup of coffee. (I rambled on about that in Part One)

Forget Paris, we'll have to go back someday.  All we saw of the city was the Eiffel Tower and Montparnasse which we saw from our freezing Hop On Hop Off bus, the one where we only hopped on since we were too cold to hop off.

The only thing of note that happened in Paris was a fire alarm that went off late in the afternoon.  Rich had finally warmed up and was crawling into bed so we got him dressed once again and walked the four flights downstairs, terrified that the place was on fire.  The lady at the desk said it was a fire drill and we should ignore it.  I didn't slap her but it was a thought.

The next evening we caught a sleeper train to Rome. It was raining and cold.  We arrived at the station a few hours early hoping that there would be a warm place to wait.  There wasn't.  I sat Rich down in the information office and dared anyone to kick him out, then I went to get food for us and to see when the train would be leaving.  Finally, after several hours, we were able to board, with one small problem.  Our suitcase would not fit down the incredibly narrow passage to our compartment.  Rich struggled mightily with that monster of a bag I brought; he had to turn it sideways to squeeze it through the passage.  Also, there was no where to store luggage except in your room so we put it on the floor and rested our feet on them.

Once we were on our way I realized there was no heat in the train  (the food car was even worse than our room).  It was freezing and Rich was getting sicker.  I crawled up to the third bunk and brought down all the covers I could find, even stole a cover from a cabinet in the hall, and we huddled together all night like that, colder than I have been in years, and trying to sleep sitting up, since no one came to turn down the bed.
We rolled into Rome eighteen hours later (and three hours past when we were supposed to).


It was raining and bitter cold.

All right, at some point someone has to be saying WHAT DID YOU EXPECT when you travel in November.  Remember, we live in Florida.  We think it's chilly at 60 degrees.

Our hotel was lovely - the St. Anna - and just a block from Vatican Square.  The crowds there were unbelievable, all of us standing in the rain to go through a metal detector before we could enter St. Peter's - and the line never lessened, it was continuous all day, rain or shine.

Really St. Peters was all we saw of Rome too.  Richie was getting much worse and I felt very guilty dragging him to see this.  Luckily he was too out of it to fight me.

That was it.  After our second day in Rome we grabbed a shuttle car to Civitivecchia, where we would board our fabulous fifteen day cruise home.  As you can guess, nothing there was as we planned it either.

And, it was raining...


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