Archive for December, 2008

How was Rome? (I wish, I will forever remember)

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Riza Adrianti Supono wrote on my facebook wall.  How was Rome? I thought the answer was already predicted, “It was fantastic!”  A standard answer.  But, was it?  Of course!  Also Pisa, Venice and Florence which I visited. 

I wish, I will forever remember that I had once been in the San Pietro’s square admiring the Church, the high-arched pillars and the fountain.  It was great, I had an opportunity to step in Musei Vaticani which concluded The Sistine Chapel and connecting way to Basilica S Pietro and to marvel at the beautiful painted ceilings and numerous wonderful art artifacts.  I was grateful to experience the inside atmosphere of the church, touch the beautiful statues, even offer prayer in one of the altars.  I stopped for quite some time to extend my respect at Pope John Paul II’s and St. Peter’s tombs in the basement of the church.

I wish, I will forever remember that I had once visited some most beautiful churches in the world and monuments in Rome.  I threw coins into Fontana di Trevi, with profound wishes that I will some day be in Rome again.  I went to Colloseo and argued with a couple of men dressed in ancient Roman soldier wardrobe  who abruptly asked to take my picture with them with my camera and after then charged me 50 Euros.  I succeed not to pay anything (after showing my empty purse) and decided to leave the colloseo and came again the next day.  I admired the beauty of the Pantheon when the rain pierced the temple through its circle-open ceiling.    Yes, during my visit,  Rome mostly was raining but still I was intoxicated by the beauty of the eternal city.

I wish, I will forever remember  the Leaning Tower of Pisa and also the river side view from the bridge on the way to the Piazza del Miracoli – the square where the tower located and accompanied by beautiful church and fountain.   

I wish, I will forever remember that I once was lost in the labyrinths of amazing maze little city of Venezia (Venice) while admiring its  churches and river.

I wish, I will forever remember that I walked surrounding the Dome of Firenze (Florence) and enjoyed the pink-green-beige-white of the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. 

But I think I got more than memories of beautiful places. 

 I wish, I will forever remember the nice well-dressed old gentleman who literally guide me to S. Pietro from the Metro Stazione.  He got off the Metro two stop after me and kept assuring me… “Don’t worry, when you arrive in S. Pietro Metro Station, ask anybody there how to reach the church! Even every stone will show you the way!”  He even guarded me from being squeezed in the crammed full metro and warned me to always watch over my backpack… And I ended up being guided by three beautiful junior-high-school students, who enthusiastically walked with me approaching the square (I almost out of breath following their steps).

I wish, I will forever remember the officer of Musei Vaticani who let me re-enter the museum from the exit (since I took the wrong direction and finished in S. Pietro with my bag still was in the museum deposit counter) and made me tour the museum twice… 

 I wish, I will forever remember the British university student who directed me to the bus stop of Bus number 40 which goes to Termini from the Piazza Navona.  It was heavily raining, and I gave up walking.

 I wish, I will forever remember the people who took my picture in front of or beside the beautiful sites:  An Indian couple in front of the S. Pietro, a friendly police officer in Musei Vaticani, a smiling Korean woman in Fontana di Trevi, a Californian musician who was beside me explaining the fountain, a bunch of gents from Poland in front of Fontana del Tritone, a group of four Japanese girls near Pisa tower, an Australian boy who voluntary offered himself to take my picture with the Pisa.

I wish, I will forever remember the Italian lady with whom I shared an compartment in a night train from Rome to Venice and woke me up two station before Venice’s Santa Lucia Railway Station so that I might not miss the station, the young man from Shanghai who was the first to greet me at river side of Venice, the  young girl who was a violin player from Taiwan  with whom I chatted by the river bank of Venice and suggested me to go to little town named Creamo which produced the best violins ever in the world. 

I wish, I will forever remember the Senegalese young man who grabbed my hand when I was almost left behind by train from Venice to Florence.  the  young female student from Chinese who was a future master of communication from an Austrian University who beautifully spoke English with American accent and shared comments on S. Maria del Fiore of Firenze (Florence)

I wish, I will forever remember the Italian uncle with two nephews (Fabio and William) and Eleanor (Fabio’s girlfriend and a smart Mathematics student) and beautiful Damiano (Eleanor’s baby brother) with whom I chatted and shared jokes in the train from Florence back to Rome.  They enabled me to stay awake through the 3 hour journey after an exhausted long walking tour in Florence.

I wish, I will forever remember Vivi and Irwan the two bank bureaucrats from Jakarta with whom I enjoyed the rain of Rome and whom treated me a hot Chinese food in the city.   “Rice”, said Irwan “provides energy!”  I hope they didn’t catch any cough after being forced to follow my long walking tour to see the Colloseo.  Two nice people who I wish forever befriend.  

I wish, I will forever remember the middle aged hotel attendant who every morning was always ready for the suggestion of the shortest path to the objects in Rome.  I wish, I will forever remember the  Bangladesh man who owned an Internet cafe  who offered me an umbrella since I broke mine on my way to the railway station.  I wish, I will forever remember Andrea the Napolitan and Sidha from India whom practically led me from Track 25 of Leonardo express in Termini to Terminal A of Fiumicino Airport in a dawn of my leaving for Rome back to Catania.

I do realize that I wish I remember more people than places… People who came from many different parts of the world.   They might speak different languages yet offer the same friendly smile and practice a universal helping hand.  I believe there are many kind people left in Rome, Pisa, Venice, Florence and … in the world. 

That’s wrapped up my brief vacation report.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My first night . . .

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

. . . in Rome –  The Eternal City, once even was the Capital of the World –  was depleted in Fiumicino Airport.  Give thanks to the cheap flight provided by Blu Express.  The Catania-Rome-Catania trip was only  48 €. And nothing to complain… ? :-(

Actually, the plan was indeed very good.  Flew from Catania, on 21:20, arrived in Fiumicino (Leonardo da Vinci) Airport on 22.40, went straight to Termini Stazione (Central Railway Station in Rome)  and off to the reasonable little hotel near the station.

But, the flight was delayed…. I flew on 22:something.  As, the passengers boarding, I spoke my mind loudly. “I cannot catch the train to Termini!”  A gentleman near me, responded, “Yes, you can… The Leonardo Express goes every 30 minutes!”  Yup, I know,  I learned from the internet…. but I know also that the last train departs from the airport on 23:30.  The gentleman then soothed my heart, “But the flight only takes an hour…!  You will have time”  No, it takes an hour and  twenty minutes.

So, what I was afraid of really came true. happened.  The plane landed and the pilot announced the arrival time.  It was 23:20 and Rome was raining.   Plus,  we had to wait for a bus for about 20 minutes.  I said goodbye to the last train to Rome, by heart.  Yet, we arrived in Terminal A sound and safe.

At the airport, I asked an handsome officer, “How could I go to Stazione?”  He turned his head to the other way, “Ah it’s closed…!” Maybe, what he meant was, the way from Terminal A to The Railway Station is closed? Yes!  Because then he suggested, “Turn right, to Terminal C… The Station is on that part!”  I asked whether I still  possibly caught the last Leonardo Express (with the 11 € fare).  “Yes!”

So, I went to the pointed direction.  Actually with doubtful.  Because, even though the passenger-conveyors (travelerator) still operated, no other person there except me….  I finally arrived at the stazione.   No one.  A man came from the opposite direction, and shouted madly in Italian as I asked (in English) whether there will be another train.  “No, the next train will be on  6 (in the morning)!!!”  Oh oh!  I read the schedule.  Leonardo, Termini, 06:37?

 I decided to go  back to Terminal C, because it had more lights and was warmer than the station.  Then, a cab driver offered his taxi for 40 €.  Come on! So, my saving didn’t worth at all?  The taxi would be approximately the same as the plane tickets?  “How about 20?”  I bargained.  The face of the driver turned annoyed.     How about getting the bus? The bus shelter seemed abandoned.  The last bus -I thought - has also left me.  Alone in Fiumicino. I left the option getting a taxi or a bus and really went back to Terminal C.

 

 

Numerous people had already slept in the benches.  I chose my corner, in front of counter 413.  I opened my notebook.  The first to do was viewing my picture collections.  And good things really ease  the sorrow heart.  Then I came to an idea to write this story.  Even arranged the self-captured picture.  Hmmmm.. Strangeness has healing power.  But then I had to surrender to the unconquered limitation.  My notebook battery ran out.  I could not find the electricity plug holes.  So, I set my body somehow in the double seats and tried to sleep.  I could not.  But at least, I was dry and warm.  Outside, the rain was still pouring.

On six something, I decided to go back to Stazione.  It was freezing.  Handful people had already there waited for Leonardo.  A nice Italian man showed me the automatic machine where I could get my ticket.  “Could I put the 20 € bill?” I asked.  He read the machine inscription for a minute, and said, “Sure, the maximum change of this machine is 9 €!”  He pressed all the menus (which are in Italian, but I noticed they were available in English too), I put the money and at the same time, my biglietto and changes came. 

The train came at 6:24… The nice man, said “There is come the Train!  Validate your ticket to the yellow box!”  OK.  I done.  Then got on the Train, entered one of the compartment and precisely on 6:37 the train left the Airport Stazione.  It took only 30 minutes (I even thought less than that) to arrive in Rome Termini.  So, it was around 7 in the morning and Rome was still raining heavily. 

The Central Station was great.  I went for a cup of capuccino in first caffeterria I found and learnt my way to the little hotel I had reserved from the internet.  It was only 200 metres from the station.  OK.  I will wait for the rain then go to the hotel.  I decided.  But then, I remembered that was my first mission to Rome was to report myself to the Embassy of Indonesia.  The Education Ministry still waited for the signed report from the Embassy.  I learned the map from Termini to Via Campania (The Embassy of Indonesia) which I got from the maps.google and read a notice from a member of Indonesian Students Association in Italy that to reach the embassy I should get bus number 910 and stop at Fermata (Bus Stop)  Piemonte. 

I asked a man sit across my table at the Caffeterria, how  I could catch the bus, how I knew where to stop.  “The bus station is on the north side of this station.  Bus number 910, I think is in the farthest line, but you could read the number in the line.  To stop, asked the driver or someone will always there to help you!”  See, I always have a helping hand every time I need one.  How could I ever stop praise God for His kindness extending helps through others’ hands?

Leaving the caffeterria, I went to the Information City tour at the south wing of the Station.  I got my City Map  I also informed must – to see objects.  OK.  Now I must have my telephone card.  I ran of telephone credits.  I went to the Tabachi, bought two biglieti and a telephone card.

I called Ilde my landlady to inform her that I was alright even though I have not slept.  I called the Embassy to arrange the meeting (and was thrilled to hear Indonesian spoken). Then, I was ready to go to the hotel.

Along the short way to the hotel, I went in a souvenir shop and got six postcards for three beloved friends at home in Catania and other three ones in Indonesia. Then I arrived at the hotel. It was some minutes passed from 9 in the morning.

Just I opened the door, the guy in the reservation desk saluted me, “Buorgiono, Signorina Suzanna?” Great, the internet reservation worked!  Yes! “Ah, a room is ready for you!”  Thank you! “Actually, I should be here early in the morning, but…!”  The guy cut my explanation, “No, it is a right time to come.  The check in and  check out time is around this hour. We could not have you earlier, because we were full!”  I suddenly realized that my staying in Fiucimino for a night and the lateness of the aircraft indeed were not bad at all. 

Thursday Dec 11, 2008


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