Day 18: Sunday August 8th, 2004 Read Short Version View Photos

Short Version Instructions: Only read every other paragraph.

We woke up, had breakfast, finished packing and were on the road by 10:30. We drove for a while, stopped at an Autogrill for snacks then continued to a small town where Alan had been earlier in the year for a US Youth Water Polo Team tournament. We drove by the pool (twice) for old time's sake, found it closed, and had a brief bit of drama looking for Jessie's wallet which we eventually found. We then sought out a pizzeria that was supposed to be particularly good.

Thumbs Down: Ghost towns Unfortunately, this town nearly completely shuts down in August apparently. Even most of the stop lights were out. The main street of the town had maybe 5% of the shops open, and that's pushing it. Disappointed, we got back on the Autostrada and continued on to Rome. We drove around the road that circles the city until we eventually found our hotel and checked in. Bekki and I once again switched rooms to a big bed instead of two singles across the room from each other, which like the previous Sheraton, was a real queen mattress. We unloaded the luggage, parked the car, changed and met in the lobby to catch the shuttle into the city center.

Thumbs Up: Good shuttles The shuttle bus was nice, although the city center was a good 20 minutes away from the hotel. We arrived at the Teatro Marcello and proceeded to do a super quick tour of Rome, where they had all been before in 1996 but I had not. We walked by the Piazza Venezia, past The Forum, to and around the coliseum (the line was way too long to go in), and then went in search of either the Trevi Fountain or the Spanish Steps. We walked all over the city with moderate luck, and finally decided to eat once we got within a block of the Trevi Fountain. We found a touristy little restaurant in a small alley and got our decent food. I had lasagna and spaghetti with meat sauce, Bekki had lasagna and swordfish, Jessie had caprice (for the 947th time), penne with gorgonzola cream sauce and the swordfish, and Alan had spaghetti with a carbonera sauce and some sort of meat.

We passed on dessert and went to a good gelateria on the other side of the Trevi Fountain, where Jessie and I hucked coins in from 20 feet away. We wanted to catch the 9 o'clock shuttle, which was in 20 minutes, so we snagged a taxi to take us to the pickup point. We waited for 15 minutes until the shuttle came, right on time, and took us back to the hotel.

I got a waiter in the restaurant to bring a corkscrew to our room, as we had iced the white wine I had bought when we went wine tasting earlier in the trip, and had him open it. Jessie, Bekki and I drank it while watching TV then listening to music. Shortly thereafter everyone left and we were left to packing and sleeping. Thankfully we're heading home tomorrow, as this has been one extremely long trip.