09 March 2010

Travel Day to Roma, Italia - Day 1

My trip to Italy started on Friday 12th with a flight at 10:30 am CST. We had a plane change in Washington DC before landing at JFK in New York. There we had a layover for a few hours. Since my father traveled to South America for work so many times that he accumulated more than 2 million miles, just with American Airlines, he's now permanently Platinum and therefore we could spend the layover in the Admirals Club. It was a nice quiet place to have to wait for our flight to Rome.

Normally I fly with Southwest because I typically travel domestically. After my flight win Finnair last year I was expecting something similar from my flight - entertainment built into the headrest (music, movies, TV shows, games, etc.), edible food and good customer service. On Finnair they come by with hot towels, regularly bring you drinks (including alcohol for free), good food considering it's on a plane and provide nice pillows and blankets. This is not true of AA. We went at least 3 hours without seeing anyone who we could even ask for a drink from. Needless to say I was ready for this 8+ hour flight to land in Rome.

Once we landed in Rome we grabbed our checked luggage and looked for the Trafalgar sign since that's who we were doing the tour with and they provided transportation to the hotel. We located the transportation guide and waited for others who were also arriving. Meanwhile, we meet a very nice family from California who had a daughter Sammy, whom my sister became good friends with over the course of the trip.

We arrived at Hotel Diana Roma sometime around 11 - 11:30 am and had some free time before our welcome drink, where we'd meet our tour director, Maria and the rest of our traveling companions for the week. We decided to do a little bit of unpacking before taking a walk and checking out parts of the city. 

We first headed to the Hard Rock Cafe. I collect the pins and my mother collects the Hurricane glasses. Since we were there already we decided to grab a snack to eat and shared one of the large sampler appetizers. Our server, Steven wasn't Italian, he was actually Belgium which I thought was interesting since this was one of our first encounters in Italy. From there we continued to walk around the city for about another hour or so before heading back to the hotel for the get-together.

At the get-together we received important information about the tour, optional excursions, name tags, receivers so we could hear the local guides and met everyone that we'd be spending the next 13 days with, all while having some wine.

Afterwards we decided to grab dinner at the restaurant that was right across the street from our hotel. We order the antipasti which was cheese and meat and two pizzas, the first a four fromaggio and the other salami and ham. The four cheese pizza was delicious!

From there we headed back to the hotel and called it a day since tomorrow we'd be heading out early and starting our sightseeing with the local guide.

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