Travel Days – Santiago to Orvieto – June 4/5, 2016

We had almost a full day in Santiago before our 9pm flight on Saturday so we checked out of our apartment at 11, stored our bags at the post office (Correo) for the day, and hung out in the city for the day. We visited the market where we watched a man prepare fresh Pulpo (octopus) and there we ran into Alain and Juliette, who had arrived in Santiago the day after us.  I’m glad we had a chance to touch base and say goodbye before we left. 

Later, we had some lunch then we lay on the grass in the park for the afternoon. Around 5:30, we picked up our suitcases and headed to the bus stop to the airport. On the way, we finally saw Philippe and Chantal! I had been watching for them everywhere, knowing they should be arriving in Santiago today, so I yelled with joy when I saw them on the street!  They are staying overnight and then walking to Finisterre before they head home to Corsica. We exchanged contact information and said goodbye. I forget to get a photo but I do have pictures of them on other pages of the blog so that’s ok.

Our flight was late, so we didn’t arrive in Rome until midnight and it wasn’t until about 1:00am before we were out on the street, looking for a cab. Finally we found there was a lineup so we joined it and waited our turn. We were only going to a hotel 8km away in Ostia, near the airport, so when the regular taxi drivers asked if we were going to Termini station in Rome and we said no, they would bypass us and move to the next people. Then the guy who was directing people to the taxis told us this line was only for people going to Termini (I think he was lying though) and he told us we had to go up the steps to the local taxis. We were suspicious but we went up to see.  

The man there called a driver over and he said he’d take us to Ostia.  I pointed to his car and said “but that’s not a taxi!”  (We’d be warned that locals come to the airport to make a few bucks driving people, kind of like Uber but with no controls.) The man said the white taxis (regular cabs) are too expensive and we should take this one. Erik asked how much and he said 40€. I gasped and said no way, we are only going to Ostia, it’s only 8km!  Then the guy said it’s a flat rate but offered to drop to 35€ and Erik said no, we’ll only pay 30€, which they accepted. We were just happy to have a ride because there was no other way to get to the hotel, but we know we still paid more than we needed too, and I was still a little worried about getting into an unlicensed taxi. Once we got into the car, he couldn’t even start it in the first try, but he did take a direct route and got us to our hotel so we were relieved. We were exhausted when we finally got to bed close to 2am. 

Our hotel was right across from the beach, which is where lots of the people from Rome come to relax. However, we weren’t staying and didn’t see it except the nice view from our room the next morning. We had a decent (for Italy) breakfast at the hotel and then walked 10 minutes to the local train station.  It was only 1.50€ each to get a train ticket into Rome Termini station.  It was fairly simple, one train change and just 45 minutes to get there. We had a bit of a wait until our 1pm train to Orvieto so we just hung out and relaxed. I saw two soldiers with big machine guns walking around for protection. This is a big train station and probably a likely spot for terrorism so it was nice to see the protection. 

The train to Orvieto was 20 minutes late and we sat in 2nd class which has a bit less space than 1st class but it was only a 90 minute ride for under 8€ each so we didn’t mind. During the trip, we chatted with a nice young man from Edinburgh.  As we approached Orvieto, we could see a thunderstorm developing. Mandy, the property manager, had texted me to confirm our arrival time and then she suggested she meet us at the station so we didn’t have to walk 1 km in a rainstorm.  

When we arrived at the apartment, Mandy, and the owner, Susan, gave us a thorough rundown of everything we need to know and gave us a welcome gift of wine and pastries. We absolutely love the apartment, and it completely meets our expectations and is even prettier than all of the pictures we saw.  

We enter through a small courtyard off a side street and up two short flights of stairs to the third floor. Inside, we find ourselves in a large square main room that has a kitchen on one side and the living room on the other. There are two glass French doors off the kitchen to a small terrace with a table and 2 chairs.  The kitchen also has a window on another wall as well.  The floors are wood and tile.

Off the living room is a long bathroom with a washing machine and a shower, and window that looks out towards the Duomo. Also off the living room, next to the bathroom, is a big bedroom with a queen size bed, a table and chairs, and an entire wall of built in cabinets. The bedroom has the same view of the Duomo which you can see if you are laying in bed.  The bells ring to mark the time of day. 

Our kitchen has a 4 burner gas stove, a small electric oven, a full size fridge and freezer, a cappuccino maker and a full set of dishes and pots for cooking, and includes oil, balsamic vinegar, and a set of herbs and spices. I am looking forward to cooking again!

From our bedroom, we can see part of the playground of the elementary school next door, and this morning we saw a bunch of little kids playing, they actually looked like pre schoolers, and they were all wearing blue or pink smocks over their clothes – maybe to keep them clean? I’m not sure but they were really cute.  

After our tour of the apartment, Susan took us on a walk around town to show us the best bakery, a grocery store, and a few good restaurants. While we were out, we stopped at the CittaSlow market (Orvieto is one of the Italian cities that started the Slow Food movement), and later we went back and bought some delicious spread for our bread. 

We also bought bread, cheese, prosciutto, and tomatoes from the grocery store and had a simple dinner at home tonight. We were both very tired from being up so late the previous night so we went to bed early, listening to the 10 o’clock bells rings us to sleep.  I think we are in heaven.

Our street, via Sant’Angelo. Access to the courtyard is down the road, on the right
Entrance to the courtyard
Top window and terrace is part of our apartment
View from the bedroom

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