PC609 Travelling Lazio With Vilma
- I'd been long distance walking to Rome from the south on the Via Appia. 1 week before I arrived in Rome I'd got an email from Vilma my friend in Venezuela saying that she would be coming to Rome in 3 weeks to spend 2 weeks travelling Italy. This was her 2nd visit to Italy. Last time she stayed with her cousin who lives in Rome.

- So I formed a plan : I had found the secret of visiting Italy : anywhere nice & known has become overtouristed & full of rip-off shops and rip-off restaurants so the trick is to find places off the beaten track. And that in Lazio the state Rome is in there are some interesting places unknown to tourists like Sabaudia, Terrecina, Calacata and all those untouristed fortified medieval hill towns. ...like Vitorchiano (with it's own Easter Island Moai) .. Viterbo with it's natural free hot springs and it's red waterfall.

- Vilma could have a good trip, by just staying in Lazio : Normal people make too elaborate travel plans, they end up spending half their holidays & money travelling huge distances. There was no need for Vilma to travel all over Italy, since Vilma had already been to Rome I would take her to visit some of the excellent places I had found, all in the state of Lazio.
- Also we got the news Vilma's cousin had had to go away for work so we couldn't begin there. Since I'd got a message from Marcello at the college in Terrecina, that he would like me to give a lecture to his students so I decided to begin there.

- 1. South Lazio : Terracina (for history and beach),
- Sabaudia for Mussolini Fascist era project and architecture, Sermoneta (for the castle and artistic community)
- 2. Rome (Vilma wants to visit main sites)
- 3. North Lazio : Calcata (for the castle and artistic community), Surti (for Etruscan ruins), Viterbo (for medieval town, sitting in the free outdoor thermal pools, visiting Agua Rossa.. red waterfall) (last day is June 10th, we can vary the order a bit e.g. Rome first instead of Terracina)

- My plan got thrown out so travelling with Vilma was in 2 parts : first South Lazio and Rome and then while she went off to Venice and Verona ( I didn't want to go that far). So for 6 days I was and Walking the old Etruscan road the Via Clodia, then we met up for a day in Orvieto and travelled to Rome again, and she flew out to Barcelona the next day

- (O) (A) (B) - Thu 2nd of June - I met Vilma and we went around Ostia Antica and then eventually got to Terrecina, but we had problems with transport and finding a room
- Fri - I met Marcello and his students to give a lecture, then Sabaudia

- (C) - Fri - Sat : staying in Sermoneta
- Sun - no buses, but lucky to get a ride with grandfather ..got to station and 10.30 we were in Rome and found a hotel at Terminali station
- (D) Sun - Mon : Rome
- Tue - we had to abandon plan to visit North Lazio ..cos of problems getting transport info ..so we walked more Rome Plazas and found a special museum ...Vilma left on night train to Treviso to stay there Wed and Thu.
- Fri to Sun : Vilma stayed in Verona and on Sunday her friends from Alexandessi came over and took her to Lake Gardia
- for 6 days I was and Walking the old Etruscan road the Via Clodia
- (E) Tue : Met up Vilma again Orvieto
- We were both so tired ..walked around .. it was not as good as the smaller towns and quite touristy - train back to same hotel in Rome
Wed - Vilma left to Barcelona for 1 week before going back to Venezuela

- NEXT back to the Via Francigena ouside Rome to visit some places I missed out on

Complications - there were some communication problems :
- Compared to my big plan our visit was a disaster.
- I thought 1. Vilma is coming to Italy in June the hot time, but
2. Now I am discovering a better Italy, a real Italy of the small towns I can show it to her and she will really thank me.

- 1. Vilma's travel agent had talked her into booking 2 nights in a hotel at Venice as she needed a hotel reservation for the visa. The reservation was supposed to be cancellable turned out not to be. In addition to Venice 700Km in the northeast it turns out she had a plan to meet up with some one in the north west. So my brilliant plan of just staying in Lazio was dead.
- 2. I thought Vilma had stayed in Rome before, but it turned out she had stayed with her cousin, but her cousin hadn't been living in Rome at that time. She'd spent less than a day visiting Rome so her biggest priority was to visit Rome's tourist sites.
- 3. I had hoped to base the travel on who we could stay with through Couchsurfing, but almost all the people I had emailed didn't reply, only 1 had said they were busy.

- I told Vilma not too come to Italy in June it's the hot time, but she came & then complained "it's too hot"

- I know not to make fixed schedules when traveling Vilma was a bit annoyed she had high expectations that we could step off transport straight into a hotel, but real travel is not like a package holiday.

- No Internet - was my internet situation that was just unlucky. Before my new smartphone broke I could use WiFi and most places had internet anyway. But from Friday 20th of May I had 5 days of no internet cos small towns don't have cybercafes and in the big towns I was always running to do something cos of Chuiso Time.
- wrong telephone number - I am using my old phone cos my new phone broke and I didn't know her number had changed. Cos I didn't have email I sent SMSs just before she called I thought "this number is wrong, cos Vilma is not replying",
- Is the Italian systems - It's harder to organise things than in other countries


What happened next
Wed - Vilma left to Barcelona for 1 week before going back to Venezuela
- So my life should get back to normal .. I have to look for work and I have a million internet things to catch up on. I will start by going back to the Via Francigena ouside Rome to visit some places I missed out on before like Isola Farnese.

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