Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Rome, Pope and Curry

Tomorrow we attend our General Audience in St Peter's Square with Pope Francis. Well it it wouldn't be a be a Papal Audience without Pope Francis would it?

We got our tickets about 4 45 this afternoon and it was the usual Italian style debacle. Last week we checked and were told exactly where we had to go to collect our tickets, between 3 00 and 5 00 today. On our way to the Vatican the buses went awry, so we jumped in a taxi, which are an absolute life saver in Rome. He got us there in good time.

But when we went to where we had been told to collect them we were told no, we had to go to the exact opposite point in St Peter's Square. Cue fight through thousands across the square and a search for our queue. Ask numerous people, in uniform, where you need to be and you get numerous answers. That's Rome/Italy. We finally found our queue and have our tickets. Another early start for a 7 00am bus to get us there for 8 00am, the Papal Audience is at 10 00am.

One thing we have learned this time in Rome is to take nothing for granted. If somebody says your bus leaves from point A check, because the next person might inform you that it leaves from point B.

All the guides claim you can buy bus/underground day tickets from newsagents and tobacconists. We tried the newsagent and was told to try the tobacconist, who told us try the local metro station, a ten minute walk away.

We tried to watch Lazio football club on Sunday night. You couldn't buy tickets at the 75,000 seat Olympic Stadium, we had to go to a corner shop in a back street that passed as the Lazio club shop. To describe the system as chaotic would be generous. Hundreds of people left after waiting for nearly an hour realising that we would probably only get in to buy tickets well into the second half of the game. An utter shambles.

Don't waste your time visiting the tourist information offices in Rome. We have visited three. They have no information, treat you with absolute disdain and, in one case we stood there for five minutes while she had a chat with her pal and just ignored us.

The service in the bars and restaurants is excellent, which is most important. Live in Rome? I would end up slaughtering people, but it's still a first class place to visit. But only if you possess copious amounts of patience.

Tonight we had a fantastic curry at the New Delhi Indian near Termini station. Fantastic, a week of pizza and pasta does have you craving something with spice.

1 comment:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Totally second your comment about Italian tourist offices.

There used to be something called the "Ente Turismo" (I'm probably showing my age here...) that was quite good, but now - forget it.

It also used to be true that you could buy bus tickets etc in the tabacchi, but more and more these days you can buy them on the bus itself (amazing progress, Italy!). Sometimes it costs a bit more on the bus. otoh, the tabacchi is still the place to buy postage stamps, unless you want to wait hours in the actual Post Office (and I do mean hours). Train tickets you can often get from the station bar (sometimes ONLY from the station bar), or from the often non-functional ticket machines. Beware of beggars and scammers if using the latter.

And never forget to validate your ticket in the yellow machine. Or maybe it's a blue machine; and some sorts of tickets don't need validating anyway. No, I don't know what sorts those are, neither does anyone else, except the Capo Treno.

Yes, it's a pretty confusing place.

But I love it!