Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-09-23

Stayed the night in Rome

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From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 20:00:01 +1000 (EST)
Up at 4am (after a couple of hours sleep). Showers and a quick banana
for breakfast, then on the 5:16 train to Stansted. Simes was fantastic -
got up early to drive us off to the station. We're going to miss living
with such great people (and cats!).

They made us put our backpacks through the 'big and fragile items'
scanner (because the straps tend to catch on the conveyor belts
otherwise), then we posted the postcards, got very annoyed by the
smokers around the cafe area where we were trying to get a drink, and
finally wandered over to our checkin gate.

We stood for about 20 minutes to make sure we were first in the queue,
but then when they opened the queue up, we wound up about 10th because
people rushed in ahead of us. The un-allocated seats mean that
everyone rushes to be first on. Of course when we _did_ get on board,
the exit row seats were almost all taken. I got one, but Kate had to
sit behind me on an ordinary row. The people next to me did _NOT_ need
those seats either, they were both quite short. Grumble. Across from
me where some quite old people who didn't look like they'd be able to
move quickly in an emergency, especially the old lady who was next to
the door, and would have had to open it. Grr. We both slept for most
of the flight anyway.

Ryanair run a bus from the airport directly to the train station. We
decided to try the hostel where Kate stayed last time (M&J's), which is
about 50m from the bus stop outside the station! Left our bags, and
wandered back to the station to buy groceries, validate our tickets, and
look around. Checked in to the hostel and promptly fell asleep.

Met some of our room-mates and then cooked dinner. Kitchen has more pots
than York, and heaps more knives, but not many mugs, and no kettle. The
pots don't have lids - at least plates work...

On the plus side, the hostel has free internet (hence we're sitting here
writing diary entries rather than out looking at things. It's also
raining outside). On the negative sides, the showers are crap, they
close the internet and kitchen areas at 11pm, so no late night cup of
tea or planning - and of course all the drunk types sit around in the
corridor outside the dorms making noise rather than safely downstairs.
Silly rules.

Ok, so we're grumbling a lot about hostels - guess we've been spoiled in
Cambridge! We're looking forward to home...

From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 20:05:25 +1000 (EST)
Another funny story we forgot to put in:

Due to mad cows in England (ok, foot and mouth Kate tells me. I still
think mad cows sounds better), cheese and meat aren't allowed into Italy
through the plane. We had some really nice aged gouda cheese from the
cheese shop in Cambridge (another stop we forgot to mention.. we went to
quite a few very dangerous shops full of yummy foods in Cambridge - also
got some really nice dates and some oat cakes there...)

We'd been planning to eat the cheese and cakes on the plane, but slept
through the time we were allowed to get out of our seats and unpack
them. We realised this in the queue for passport checking, and stood in
line stuffing oatcakes and cheese into ourselves as fast as possible. It
worked, all eaten before we got through the line. Helped take our minds
off the wait too. Of course we weren't awake yet, so that probably
helped as well.

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