We made it. Everything went super smooth the whole way. We landed at 9:30 AM, and with plenty of time to kill before we could check in at our hotel, the Marcella Royal, we weren't in a rush. We stood back and copied the locals to find our way through customs and then on to the train station. I tried my phone to see if the ATT int'l roaming plan I signed up for worked; it works great. Found our hotel on google maps, saw that it was walkable from Roma Termini, the main hub, and we bought our tickets. Again, I copied the locals, avoided the tourist counter, and repeated what the lady in front of me said: "Bon giorno, due Roma termini. Grazie.". I used my bank card to pay since all of the cash exchange places seemed like a rip off. Then again, I'll probably be dinged by my bank every time I use the card.
The train ride was comfortable and a nice way to get our first look at Italy. We kept reminding ourselves that we were here. The landscape mirrored parts of California; we joked, "why did we come all this way?". Then we rolled into Rome and my jaw dropped. It still hasn't quite sunk in. The beautiful decay, the grand scale, the contrast between old and new. It's magnificent.We were definitely ready for a walk. The sun was intense, but it felt good after all that recycled air and climate control. We headed out for the hotel and stopped at an ATM to withdrawal some euros. I caught site of the rooftop terrace between two buildings, and popped into a pizza place across the street to buy water and make change so I had some tip money on hand for the hotel staff.
Before we left, we took a tour of the area surrounding the hotel via Google street view, and it definitely helped. Other than noting which direction the hotel was from the train station once we got here, we were able to spot landmarks and make our way here with ease.One more plug for technology; all I brought with me is my phone. I'm still going on one charge and I've taken several pictures, some video, posted all of these blog entries, google maps/translations/search, and I've even made a few phone calls (shocker). Taking a page from Sir Howard Knight's book, Julien's taking a nap. We'll wake up by 3 PM, then go out for a look around, eat dinner, and hit the hay at 10. Hopefully we'll be on local time by tomorrow. I think we'll head out early for the Vatican, and play it by ear from there. Signing off.