Thursday, 7 March 2019

Hilton Garden Inn (Rome, Italy)

Another travel day. After breakfast, packing, and thanking the hotel staff I wheeled my suitcase to the bus stop where I’ll catch a bus to the central terminal (Roma Termini). I loved this hotel. Reasonably priced, away from the tourists, great staff, and they serve the most amazing scrambled eggs!

I get a little overwhelmed when I enter the Roma Termini. It is vast! Though today, I decided just to take my time and not let the size of the place get to me. I think it worked.

At first I tried to purchase my ticket to Sorrento through one of the self-service machines, but halfway through the process I thought I’d better talk to a person at the sales desk. And I’m glad I did. She explained the transfer process in Naples and also recommended that I take a bus from Naples to Sorrento rather than the train. I discovered last night that the train from Naples to Sorrento makes 34 stops and the distance is only 48 km.

During the short wait for the train to depart I grabbed a cheeseburger and water from the station’s McDonald’s and watched the departure board that would tell me which platform the train will depart from. About 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time I saw that the train was to leave on platform 8. I’ve discovered you have to be ready to move once the departure platform is announced.

This train must have originated from another location because when I boarded the train most everyone was seated. After getting assistance lifting my suitcase to the overhead rack I sat down in my assigned seat. 10 minutes later we left the station.

I knew this was a high-speed train, but didn’t realize that we were going to travel at 300 km/hr. The scenery flew by as I looked out the window. In an hour we arrived in Naples. The sales clerk at Roma Termini said that I needed to get off at the stop before the central station and transfer to a bus that will take me on to Sorrento.

I needed to ask several people along the way where to find the bus and I eventually found the bus but not the driver. Finally the driver showed up and it seemed that I was his only passenger. I asked if I could use the restroom first and he gave me 5 minutes. It was a small bus and there was no restroom on it.

We were 10 minutes late getting started. I kept waiting for him to pick up more passengers, but it was just the driver and me on the bus all the way to Sorrento. Along the way I saw some amazing views from the small bus.

We arrived at the stop in Sorrento and I got out and he took off. I had no idea where I was. It wasn’t a large bus station, more like a visitor center. I called the hotel to ask if a taxi driver could pick me up. I couldn’t even tell them where I was but asked a woman who was standing nearby to give them the location. In a few minutes a taxi found me and I was on my way to the hotel.

I splurged a little when booking the hotel. I really wanted a view of the Gulf of Naples and of Mount Vesuvius. This Hilton was the only one in the area. As for the 5 minute taxi ride, the driver said the fare would be 20 Euro. I paid him and went inside to finish the check-in process. While checking in I asked about the taxi fare. They didn’t blink an eye and said that was typical for taxis in Sorrento. I made a mental note not to take any more Sorrento taxis.

My room was perfect. A large balcony and a beautiful view of the Gulf of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. I posted a picture of this view on Instagram. I was staying in the new wing of the hotel and everything was new and fresh. Think I’ll like it here.

Later I went down to the Executive Lounge and was served a glass of wine and an assortment of canapes. Earlier I had ordered a pizza so I’ll be well fed tonight.

I’m planning to watch “The Agony and the Ecstasy” tonight. Tomorrow I’ll take the ferry over to Naples and walk around, eat a famous Naples pizza, and visit the archaeological museum. The following day I’m planning on taking a ferry to Capri. Breakfast is a 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.

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