Highlights from Our Trip to Italy

After visiting Greece in September 2002 for about 2 weeks, we flew to Rome, to start our exploration of Italy...

In Athens, on Sunday 6th October, we got up at 4:30 am to pack a few final things and start our trek to Athens airport. We had to allow the hour and a half it took us to come in from the airport when we first arrived in Greece, and because we were going on an international flight, we also had to get to the airport 2 hours before our scheduled departure time of 9:20 am. Our 5:40 am bus from Syntagma to the airport was surprisingly full, but the trip went smoothly. Everyone got a thorough search and frisk going through to the departure gate.

The flight was excellent, with splendid views along the Gulf of Corinth in Greece, and then along the "heel" of Italy. Our destination was Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport at Fiumicino, on the west coast, near Rome.

Almost "Da Vinci"-like view of rugged mountains and the west coast of Italy, near Gaeta (looking south towards Napoli).

Getting close to the airport, we noticed quite a few other large aircraft, flying about at various altitudes above, below and to the side of us. It was quite amazing, watching other aircraft flying along at a similar speed to our own, through the huge space all around us, and against the green hilly landscape below us. One could just imagine the scene inside the Italian air-traffic controlling operations. We went on into Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport. It was a huge airport, and the aircraft taxied on and on for a considerable time before we pulled up at the terminal.

From the airport, we caught the "Leonardo Express" train to "Stazione Termini", in the heart of Rome proper. Our first impressions of Rome, as opposed to Athens, were that it was more spaced out, with wider streets and wider footpaths, and that it had a lot of huge old structures (especially some massive sections of old city walls made of millions of small flat bricks).

We looked around in the area north east of the station for accommodation (the other areas had the reputation of being rather seedy and unsafe) and found a good room on the 4th floor of a restored old building.

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