We ended Germany on a really high note. I got to see my sister and her awesome family; we met the newest member of the extended Clark family; and the German countryside was absolutely gorgeous around Traben-Trarbach. Lindsey and Hans dropped us off at our hotel in some small town I’m not going to pretend I know how to spell for our one night sleep before boarding an early 6am RyanAir flight from Frankfurt-Hahn to Rome. Despite how excited Jen and I were to be heading to Rome, it was pretty sad watching Lindsey’s red Durango drive away. It was such a pleasant treat to be able to see her and her family on this work trip and I’m very grateful we took the opportunity to stop in Germany before Italy.
As excited as we were to get to Rome, I will say that the first 2 hours in Rome nearly drove me to head back to the airport to go back to Germany. Traffic was horrible, it was warm, it was much dirtier than Germany, and the terminal station (Termini) was an absolute madhouse. This station is where all the buses, trains, and subway all meet. There…were…people…everywhere. We somehow bought a metro pass and headed down stairs. I felt like we were being herded like cattle through a twisted maze of underground catacombs. At various points we all stopped for unknown reasons. I imagined they were reloading the slaughterhouse weapon of choice before letting us continue.
We eventually made it on to the metro in one giant bear hug. Literally. Jen and I were mixed in body to body inside the metro car for a few stops. I was convinced some slick dude was going to goose Jen because it would been awfully easy. When we actually got to the stop we needed, we could barely get off the car. I decided to just use my large stature and push my way out. I physically pushed an Italian man out of my way so we could get off. It was a nice relief to be off the subway.
We still had a kilometer or so walk from the metro station to our hotel and their roads don’t exactly follow any logical pattern. We started walking hoping we were going in the right direction. We eventually made it to our hotel relieved to drop our luggage off.
Our objective in Rome was to attend the 2nd Worldwide Landslide Forum. I was invited to speak at the conference in a session entitled “Wildfire and Slope Instability.” We arrived in Rome Tuesday afternoon and my talk wasn’t until Friday morning. Our schedule was for me to attend the conference and then meet Jen later in the day to do the sightseeing. We saw lots of great stuff and quickly fell in love with Rome. It is totally a walkable city in terms of easy access to major historical sights without having to get a taxi.
Having said that, I did figure out the Rome bus system and used that to get back and forth from our hotel to my conference each day. Their bus system was much better than that disturbing subway system.
I made a Google Map out of places we visited while in Rome. Check this out if you want to see how things were spatially distributed.
I would visit Rome again. It was great. Pictures this time are on our Picasaweb album because I didn’t want to deal with them all here. Check it out!