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Without a doubt, today was one of the biggest travel debacles that we’ve ever faced. The plan on disembarking from Jade was to go pick up a rental car and drive north to see some hill towns, amongst them a small principality called San Marino. However, if it always rains on us in Palermo, the Gods conspire to stop us when it comes to visiting San Marino (see July 2010). Today, it happened in the form of confusion around rental car dates with Avis. So, the agency in Civitavecchia didn’t have a car for us.

Now we faced a dilemma. We could return to the Rome airport and get a car there… this would waste 3-4 hours in terms of travel/transfer time and mean we’d only have time to spend the day driving to our hotel in Arezzo rather than sightseeing. Or, we could scrap the rental car idea (and San Marino) and just get a hotel in Rome.

Realistically, with the delayed start, I knew that the driving made far less sense, as we’d have two days with a lot of “car hours” for only a day or so of sightseeing. Just staying in Rome clearly made sense. Nonetheless, I was rather frustrated at the thought of having made plans that would now have to be undone and would ultimately be more of a hassle than had we just stayed in Rome from the start (as we’d originally considered).

Oh well. I’m nothing if not resourceful.

On my iPhone (thanks AT&T for the $60 data international data plan!), I found a good deal on Hotels.com for a five-star hotel on the Via Veneto called the Hotel Majestic, a few blocks from the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. It wasn’t a Marriott or Starwoods property (I checked them first because I hate not getting points), but the price ($250/nt.), location, and reviews were very good.


As for getting to Rome, since we were already halfway to the train station in Civitavecchia, I saved the 150 euro cab fare and spent 25 for train tickets to Roma Termini. From there, we took a short taxi ride to the hotel. Aside from schlepping some heavy luggage, it was a relatively pain-free transfer.

In the end, the cost differential given a high car rental rate made the swap more-or-less a wash economically.

We spent the afternoon strolling around central Rome doing a variety of walks provided by Rick Steves’s guidebooks. We took in all of the famous sights: the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and any number of greater and lesser churches. We had a good time…


For dinner, we ate at a sidewalk cafe near our hotel. Unfortunately, Emerson started to feel poorly and threw up after we returned to our hotel room. So, it seems that she was suffering from whatever I had the night before.

All in all, not the best of days…

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