Well my streak of not being able to sleep on an airplane continued as I went the entire trip to Rome without a single minute of sleep. Something about sitting up makes it impossible for me to sleep.
Watched a couple of movies and relaxed for the most part. The trip wasn’t bad at all except for the fact that I walked the plane once in my socks and stepped on a toothpick that went right through my foot (UGH).
We got into Rome at around 9 am (there is a 9-hour difference from Phoenix so it was midnight Arizona time when we arrived). It figured that our driver spoke NO English so I had to start speaking Italian right off the bat. I think I did a pretty good job, the kids were impressed although I’m not that comfortable doing it. I spoke to the driver about the weather, the time, Rome, his family. The hotel we are staying in is very nice (Hotel Dei Mellini).
We were all very tired from not sleeping much but didn’t want to go to bed because we have to get on Italia time. So I am up now at 3:30 in the afternoon writing this. We went to lunch to a nice corner pizza/pasta place (the pizza is so different from what we are accustomed to, but so good). The girls wanted to shop so we walked the streets of Rome for a few hours. The city is crazy. It’s just like New York except mopeds and smart cars everywhere. Traffic is nuts. There are so many people. I thought more people would speak English but most don’t so communication is a little bit of a challenge.
Tomorrow we have a private tour of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilicia and a few other things and I am very much looking forward to that. But I am most looking forward to seeing my cousin (cugino) Alessio tomorrow. She lives in Rome and she left a message for me at the Hotel when I arrived today. I called her back and we are meeting up for dinner (cena) tommorow (domani) and I can’t wait. You see my family is the only Gambadoro’s in the United States — No I am not kidding. Our family comes from Messina and I have many of my relatives here in Italy although I have never seen them. So tomorrow night will be an extremely exciting time for the whole family. When we go to Florence I am going to hook up with my other cousins Francesco and Fabiana. My grandfather died not too long after coming to this country so my father doesn’t have much recollection of the family in Italy as he was very young at the time. But now with the advent of facebook, email, etc.. it has been easy to find and stay in touch with those in Italy. My family here started finding me about 5 years ago and we have had some contact. But now that I am here it is going to be so great to see them in person for the first time….That’s it for now. Going to have some gelato tonight and then get a good night sleep.