Folks next door hadn’t slowed down at all – did a bit of yoga, packed up and left for my free breakfast – moaners still going strong. Walked back to the hotel I’d checked in at, ate a bit and waited for the hotel’s shuttle bus to take me back to the airport to collect my bike.
Checked first at the ‘lost luggage’ area outside the arrivals gates (different from the one yesterday) – was told the plane was just landing and come back in 1/2 hr. In the meantime tried to find the safe-bag guy again but couldn’t locate him. Very confused I finally found an info lady that figured out, again by looking at the map I googled, that the bag place was inside the departure area and I couldn’t get access. The only reason I’d gotten to him yesterday was because I’d been with an airport staffer that just marched me right in. Oh well – thought I’d be putting the bike back together on the sidewalk. Finally got to go in past the lost luggage police (well, they seemed a bit like cops) – my riding shoes set of their beeper and I had to remove them again (happened in Kelowna too) for inspection. At last was led back to the over-size luggage pick-up and there was my bike! Upside down, with huge green arrows saying ‘this way up’ pointing to the ground, but at least it was there. Got the bike, along with the bags I’d been ferrying around on a baggage cart and headed for the train ticket place. The guys in the airport office didn’t know about whether or not the bike should be kept in the box, or assembled, so they sent me across the airport road to the actual train station. The clerk there said ‘oh, no, if it’s not in a box you can’t take it on any trains’ – was very glad I hadn’t been able to get to the safe-bag place or done it myself on the sidewalk!
Bot tickets from the airport to Rome, then from Rome to Foligno – finally feel like I’m on my way. Ride into Rome didn’t take long, and had a 2-hour wait for the train on to Foligno. Now, with no baggage carts like the airport had, I’m dragging the bike box along (all 64 pounds of it) as well as my camera, two large panniers, and my camping gear bag – not easy even after all the weight lifting I did. Again had varying degrees of success getting info from the train employees, but eventually found the right gate to access the line my train should be on. A guy from Luxembourg verified I’d found the right place, and when the track number was finally posted helped me carry/drag the bike, etc onto the train.
The ride to Foligno was just under 2 hours long, but shortly after we left Rome the ticket-taker came by and gave me a horrible surprise. Apparently you’re supposed to get your ticket verified by sticking it in machine and getting a ‘stamp’ of some kind on it. No one at any point had bothered to tell me that, and the ticket-taker on the first train didn’t have a problem with it. Italian trains must make a fortune on this, because the ticket itself was only 9.95 euros, and the fine for not getting my ticket verified was 50 euros! I was back to almost crying again, but she wasn’t compassionate at all – pay or else! I almost felt like turning around and going home, but then figured that at least the next couple of days couldn’t be any worse so tried to cheer up.
Rody (from Lux) is going to email me some of his pic’s – he’s a photographer and was going a couple of stops further than me. He was very nice to talk with the whole time. A couple of black guys that got on 2 stops before I got off were also going to Foligno so they very kindly helped with with my bike box – carried it down stairs, under the tracks to the other side, then back up into the station and out to the sidewalk. It looked like it was getting very stormy so I nixed the idea of assembling my bike on the sidewalk and dragged it and all my bags across the street into a hotel I’d read about online before I left home. This one is much nicer than the one near the airport, and the fellow at the desk said I could assemble the bike in their courtyard after breakfast tomorrow.
Still exhausted, I decided that I should go for a walk and get something to eat or I’d fall asleep by 4:00. Walked into the town centre – not far at all, and the town is great since no cars are allowed in the centre. Some sort of celebration was going on, but I don’t think it had to do with the Giro. Foods stalls, etc – first one I noticed was ‘try something from Scotland’ which struck me as kind of funny, being in Italy and all.
Never bought anything there, but came across a Turkish felafel place. Had fun talking to the guy there – he used to be a taxi driver in Istanbul and I told him some of the places I’d been on my back-packing trip. Got a huge donair that I’ll save some of for lunch tomorrow.
Came back to the hotel and face-timed Dom – kitties still don’t understand where my voice is coming from when he shows them the phone, but they sure do recognize my voice. Sly is sleeping on the bed where my feet would be if I was there – just like he always did.
Had a nice hot bath and getting to bed early – well, at least before 9. I trust my current neighbours will be less disruptive than the last ones!