Rome. In September. With temperatures down from the blazing summers, September is the perfect time to visit Rome.
Edmonton, Alberta to Rome, Italy
Duration: 7 Days
Outbound was WestJet – Edmonton (YEG) to Toronto (YYZ) (3 out of 5). When we first boarded the flight, we were honestly confused as to if it was in fact a WestJet plane as the seats were literally an inch thick and looked flat, cheap and rigid. Thankfully it was going to be a relatively short flight at just under four hours duration!
Then WestJet did the next most annoying thing you encounter on a flight – secondary only to the bare-foot-on-the-arm-rest-guy – they announced that there were no seat-back televisions but they would be happy to rent you a small tablet – for an added fee of course – or you were able to watch their entertainment selections via their proprietary app. C’mon WestJet!! No one wants to watch The Notebook or The Fast and the Furious on a mobile phone screen! Grr.
Our next leg was AlItalia from Toronto (YYZ) to Rome (FCO) (4.5 our of 5). In a stark comparison to the WestJet minimalist flight, as soon as we stepped through the doors of the AlItalia plane we knew we were in for a treat! The Flight attendants were impeccably dressed complete with jaunty hats and each thick, comfy seat had been carefully laid out with a pillow and blanket.
And not only did each seat have a nice sized seat back television screen in front, but it had a remote control in the armrest!! Shortly after take off, we discovered that these wonderful entertainment systems also offered a crash Italian language course! Yippee! Another win!
The food on the flight was also tasty and nicely served, an added bonus!!
Rome (FCO) to Amsterdam (AMS), Amsterdam (AMS) to Calgary (YYC), Calgary (YYC) to Edmonton (YEG)
I won’t bore you with the minutia of this series of flights, other than to strongly recommend KLM! Our flight from Amsterdam to Calgary was flown by KLM and it was fantastic. The seats were spacious, complete with pillow and blanket, and offered an ample entertainment system. Where they really out did the competition was with the meal and snack service. As this was a daytime flight, there were no nap time breaks for the lovely staff either. Rather they served lunch, a snack, dinner and another snack! And each offering was tasty and satisfying. Super well done!
A strong 4 out of 5 Stars…sadly I can’t give them 5 stars as the delayed flight caused us to miss our connection from Calgary. But given the choice, I would totally fly KLM again.
Città Eterna Bed & Breakfast Booked through Hotels.com. Total price $504 Euros. 3 out of 5 Stars.
Huge pro tip here!!! After you retrieve your bags at the Rome airport, clear immigration and make your way through the passageways at the airport, you are hit with a wall of taxi, shuttle and limo drivers, all hankering for their next fare. They are loud. They are aggressive. Oh well. Pick one. Negotiate a rate. Trust me. We were prepared to take the train from the airport into the city. And by prepared I mean we had researched it online and thought we had a good idea where to go. WRONG!! After the long flights, lack of sleep, crowds etc I decided that I really didn’t want to mess with public transit and negotiated a ride to our hotel for $40 euros total.
Thank the travel gods for that!!
Addresses in Rome are brutally hard to find! There are no outside house numbers like we are used to back home. Rather they are written in small type on the call buttons. We would have never found it. Plus we would have been headed for the wrong metro station – turns out there was one literally down the block from where we were staying.
So fellow Stampers, take my word for this – after a long, international flight, take the easiest way possible to your destination…you can be brave and venture from there. After you are well rested and have your bearings.
As for the hotel – if you check our travel tips, tip numero one is always read the reviews on whichever travel site you are booking on! Which we did. So we knew that there was 50-50 chance that we would not get breakfast at our bed and breakfast. As neither of us are morning people, we were willing to accept this risk. What the other visitors failed to mention were the mattresses on the beds. The Do Not Remove or Risk Certain Death or Imprisonment tags stitched onto them declared them as being manufactured in 1983. Nineteen friggen eighty three. The first three nights we toughed it out. We tossed. We turned. On the fourth night the kiddo discovered another mattress just hanging out under the bed. Hmmm. He stacked it on top of his mattress and gave it a whirl. Much better!! We then discovered that we could take the other half of my bed and stack that on top as well. Much better. Now we could actually sleep and not wake up like crippled old men.
Oh and we never got breakfast. And the housekeeping was bizarre at best – the first day we drank three out of the four coffees provided and used three out of four towels. When we came back to the room we found they replaced two of the towels. No coffee. The next day, the reverse. And it didn’t get any better from there.
We just rolled with it, as the saying goes, “When in ROME…”
Resources for travel to Italy: