we’re feeling done in and agree that we’ll put the brakes on today. We limit our activities to a visit to the main station to make all our reservations to naples (pompei) florence and venice. I probably sound like a whinger by now, but we are getting frustrated too often by the total indifference to us as customers and to the endless runaround we are facing. Italy is the only country we’ve experienced this in, almost like they feel like they’ve got the whole tourist thing sewn up and so don’t have to bother offering any kind of concern for the customer. You get the feeling that tourists, for the locals, are just one big nuisance (which is probably true, but it’s clearly the tourists fueling the economy around here, not to mention providing naive victims for the endless scamming that is a constant.)
Today we lined up at the national (domestic) travel section for italian rail where the sign claims everyone speaks english… not! or more correctly, not for us. After being shuffled to two different agents (“no inglese! no inglese! go ‘dere!” – pointing vaguely off in another direction) we finally get someone willing to help us in english — only to overhear the previous two agents speaking english to other customers! Complaining does no good as they smile, offer some inanities and walk away. There are several profanities on the tip of my tongue and i must admit that i no longer hold them back if the the service is not suitable (am i turning into ‘the ugly canadian’ ?!?) They don’t care and i’m getting that way.
After escaping from the station we decide we’ll do a little shopping but have difficulty finding stores until we return to piazza popolo for lunch and discover via de corso which was a major road in caesar’s time and is still in use. There are lots of stores but nothing we want to buy.
On our way back to the hotel we stroll through many fascinating streets with no shortage of character or restaurants. The architecture is almost uniform in design but colour and age distinguish them and provide a rich background to our walk. We stop for a glass of wine in piazza narvona, an old roman circus with some marvelous fountains, which unfortunately like the trevi are under wraps for maintenance. The centre of the circus is full of small scale painters and portrait artists.
our final event for the day is a visit to a very modern museum containing a very ancient structure (the “ars pacis” or arch of peace) as well as a modern art display.
a glass of wine, a nap and dinner near the termini station.