One of the sad things about breakfast was that I had gone out the night before to a nearby magazine (little market-like shop-very tiny), and purchased what i thought was milk and pastry, like a fruit struedel. I just left it on the desk in our room for breakfast the following day. We ate the fruit, some bread, and i opened the streudle to split it in two, and it wasnt struedle at all, but a ham and cheese kind of sandwich in pastry dough. We did not dare eat the ham after being out all night. So sad. After getting all packed, I commented on how "empty' our cases seemed, even though i had added a shirt, a bag a book and a LOT of brochures from Babeş-Bolyai University.
We checked out of our hotel and had only to pay for our one day of eating breakfast in their little breakfast room, so that allowed us to get rid of some of our Romanian money. 44 lei or 10 Euro. Then they called us a taxi and it took three minutes to get there instead of the usual two minutes. caught a taxi to the airport, but couldn't even get checked in through security since they didnt have any staff there yet. We just sat around the airport, had a pastry and a drink (Mike did anyway), then we eventually were allowed into security. Mike was sweating so much, just from walking, standing, sitting, that he didnt pass inspection/security even after emptying all his pockets, romoving his belt, watch, shoes. They took him alone into a dressing booth type area and made him open his pants as well! I am sure that made him sweat even more.
This particilar Sunday, just like last Sunday when we arived, was warm and beautiful. Hot and humid, in other words.
We made it to our gate and the room slowly filled up with travellers in the very small Cluj airport. There are not many flights that leave this airport to Rome. I asked a girl sitting next to me if I would have to pay for our personal bags and she said if we purchased a "large carry-on" the personal was free. NOT. The ticket agent made us combine my "purse" into my carry-on bag! I squatted down right there by the gate and did it. Both bags had expanding zipper options and we used it, ended up carrying hats in hand, plus my waterbottle and one Rome guidebook. Ugh. So stressfull. All that careful packing and planning placement of our personal items all undone! The flight was VERY full, and Sophia Loren was flying with us! Of course, they did not tell us that, but Mike thouht he saw her when she got up to use the restroom. I also noticed a gentleman in the seat in front of me taking a photo of a person (entering or leaving the lavatory, as well! Creepy. I thought he was a private eye or a stalker because I didnt know it was Ms. Loren he was photographing.) But it was her. She had been in Cluj for the
Transylvania International Film Festival I would assume. Mike did ask a flight attendant if that was her and it was confirmed. She did get VIP treatment . Flight attendants cleared and blocked the aisles during her potty break, she left first and separate from the rest of us peons. I wish I would have seen her in person, but she just vanished.
Our flight to Rome took about 1 1/2 hours. Full flight, only charged services were available for food and drink. Wandered around lost at Ciampino airport for a bit. My instructions for us were not as easy to DO once we were actually there, so we found someone to help in a ticket booth.
And we found other english speakers, too. We bought a train ticket inside to get from Ciampino train station to the Termini in Rome. We stood in line outside the airport to pay a bus driver (bus number 4) to take us across town to the train station. We visited with a nice researcher from Sweden on the bus. Once at the train station , it was a series of stairs! Down under the tracks, up to track 5. Then an announcement was made (only in a non-English language!!) The other announcements were jn English, too. Before. This was a much smaller station with onlu two or three tracks.
After we had waited there a while with several strangers, they all knew that the announcement said our train was arriving at a different track! So we had to scurry back down the stairs to a different track. Down the stairs and up the stairs. Again. Ouch goes Mike's knees. Again.
The train arrived fairly (less than 10 minutes) quickly. It loaded very quickly. It was quite full. The steps (only three) up into the train car were very tall! A woman with a tight skirt could not have done it. But we did, with some effort. Remember, we are lugging our rolling carry-on bags with us. Mine is a bit tippy since it's over stuffed. And my free hand has my hat and a waterbottle and a book in it-- no way to do a hand rail, too!
We found seats, rode about 20 minutes on a quiet, smooth electic train into the Roma Termini station while visiting with a nice young woman returning to Bologna from visiting family in the country outside of Rome. She works as a pharmaceutical marketing representative. She directed us to head through the terminal to the METRO where we would catch our subway train to our hotel neighborhood. If we could figure out where that train was, anyway.
Down more stairs, up to another level. Down agin, down a hall, up another hall...wait! An elevator???? We took it. But then there were more halls and more stairs, and it took about 20 more minutes to actually find a place to get a METRO ticket (and we asked for help), the subway train was crammed, so we just crammed in, too. We didnt get pick- pocketed or groped, so that was good. We got off on the right stop, climbed more stairs to get back to street level (and it is flat! Yay!) walked a couple of blocks to our hotel, checked in, paid the county room tax (about 26 Euro) and collapsed in our room which has broken air conditioning! It is not very cool at all. Upper 70's F.
We ate at 7 pm at a pizzaria on the very next block, in view of our hotel. We ate out on the sidewalk in the breeze and it was so very pleasant. Tried to sleep in the heat that night. Tried opening the window. Tried telling the desk person...ugh! We really need a fan. It is a beautiful room, and there are less than 10 stairs to climb to get in here, unlike the 41 steps in Romania.
|FIRST ITALIAN PIZZA!!!! (two photos abobe) The view up the street and down the street from our sidewalk table. We ate inside this same place one other evening because it was rainey outdoors. It is in a basement!|
|Our room. Lovely, except the lack of A/C for a couple of nights.|