Left home at 8:15 on May 8th – beautiful morning and lovely views of the city and the lake as we flew over.
The wait in Vancouver was a bit long at almost 3 hours, and when they announced that there might not be enough room for all the carry-on luggage I checked my backpack for free – they assured me it would arrive in Rome they same time I would.
The flight to TO was ok – great views of all of the mountains lakes and rivers between the coast and the AB boarder, then nothing but clouds most of the rest of the way. That’s ok – not much to see anyway. Watched a bit of tv, and a really interesting documentary about Hedy Lamarr. It did clear up as we approached TO, and got great views of the city – not nearly as spectacular as Vancouver, however, but then not that many cities are.
Met a couple of Cdns (from Vancouver Island) that were connecting to the same flight with me and they were pretty happy when I told them I knew where the train from Fiumicino into Rome was – we agreed to meet at the baggage area after we landed so they could follow me. The final leg of the journey to Rome was long but uneventful – watched several episodes of Big Bang, and couple of pretty funny movies. Again it was overcast almost the whole way but did clear up as we approached Rome.
Landed right on time and cleared customs no problem although the customs guy looked at my passport, and then gave me a funny look. I pointed to my now very short hair and he said ‘looks better now’ – I agreed.
Collected my two bags – the backpack did arrive safely, thank goodness. At least it didn’t get left behind in Canada like my bike did last year. Met Judy and Jeff (the two from the Island) as planned at the baggage collection place and we all headed to the exit and over to the trains. They ended up getting a shuttle bus into the city instead so we said a quick goodbye as I ran for my train.
I didn’t have much time to catch my connection to Foligno so I had to run what seemed like miles to the farthest track possible. In addition to the backpack I had, of course, my camera case over my shoulder and my other two bags that were tied together into one heavy, awkward package so it wasn’t easy – although it wasn’t as difficult as last year dragging the bike box so I shouldn’t complain. I tried to log into the station’s wi-fi but my ipad gave me a message that it wasn’t secure and I should log off. I quickly sent Colin a message about what train I was going to be on so he could meet me in Foligno.
I waited along with a couple dozen others for our train to board, but then there was an announcement that it wouldn’t leave for an hour. They had sent us all to the wrong track as the train we should have been on was slowly pulling out and passing us on the next track over. I confirmed several times with other folks that we were now waiting on the proper track for the proper train.
We did leave finally at 2:28 and it took just over an hour and a half to reach Foligno – I recognized some of the passing towns as it was the same route I took last year. Just before we reached Foligno it started raining – by the time we dis-embarked it was pouring pretty hard. Colin wasn’t there to meet me – I assumed he either didn’t get my message, or had met the train an hour earlier and I wasn’t on it. Hoping he was somewhere close by having a coffee or something I tried to find a place in the station with wi-fi so I could contact him – no luck.
The rain was really pounding down but I took a chance and lugged my bag across the road to the lovely little hotel I stayed at last year. It was a different front-desk guy but he was just as nice as Anil had been last year. He let me use their wi-fi so I could message Colin, who immediately responded and said to hang tight and he’d be here in about an hour – he hadn’t received my original message as they all arrived at once when I logged in at the hotel. The front desk fellow let me stash my bag and backpack in the hotel’s office while I went out to the old town to find something to eat.
It was still raining hard, but I was so soaked it didn’t matter any more. I found a very nice lady that directed me to a bank machine so I could get out some euros, then another lady directed me to a place where I could get a bit of wine. The store was closed but there was a shop next door that sold excellent cheese, prosciutto and – wine! I asked for ‘vino tinto’ and she looked very confused and I pointed and repeated ‘vino tinto’. There was a younger lady there that spoke english so I said I wanted some red wine – only then did I realize I had reverted to spanish (which was the last language I studied in full) – no wonder the older lady hadn’t understood me! The bottle had a cork so they opened it for me and stuck the cork back in so I could get it open later.
I then headed to the turkish kebab shop I had gone to last year and got the same thing – a huge donair wrap. I chatted with the owner while I waited and he was super happy when I told him I’d been to Turkey many years ago and loved it. I told him where I’d been, and recognized Agia Sofia on a poster on the wall – he thought it was great.
The rain was abating a bit by now and when I got back to the hotel I went into the courtyard (where I’d put my bike back together last year) and ate part of the donair and sipped wine from the bottle at a table under an awning while watching the end of the day’s Giro stage on tv thru the window.
Knowing that Colin’s campervan wouldn’t fit into their driveway I collected by bags and went out to the sidewalk to wait for him. I would highly recommend the Villa dei Platani to anyone that ever happens to be in Foligno – I have been there twice now while only actually staying the night the first time and both experiences were extremely pleasant. Both Anil the first time and the fellow the second time (didn’t get his name) were so helpful and kind right when I needed it.
Colin arrived and it was just like old times – found a 5 euro note on the ground right in front of the van and took it as a sign of good luck ahead. Loaded my stuff into the van and hit the road for Papiano.
Had a lovely salmon and chips dinner, followed by a really nice shower and early bed. Colin’s friend Neil is here to do some renovations so he is using the guest room while I get Colin’s room. He and Mo are making use of the campervan that is parked down the hill a bit.