Well it’s been over a year but I’m now back on my travels, for a purpose as well as to mark off a place I’ve always wanted to visit. So the purpose. Friend’s of mine, Steve and Alessia, are finally tying the knot in her home village of Leonessa, north east of Rome (about 2.5-3 hours drive from Rome airport). The place I’ve always wanted to go … Roma of course.
So today was my day of travel, hence just one entry (that and the fact the hotel’s wifi only covers the reception and maybe the bar). As a day it was uneventful and I arrived at the Hotel Leo in Leonessa around 21:30 local time, so about 14 hours after I set off from home. I drove to work as it is near Heathrow and parked there (I had checked with security before hand) then a friend who coincidentally works next door and is both a workaholic and an early starter, Dave R., took me to terminal 4. Initial checkin was a pain, the electronic side was quick, but baggage checkin moved at a glacial pace. With no lounge to relax in I wandered round and the time actually did pass quite quickly (or more accurately much of my 2 hours I needed to kill was spent at checkin). The flight to Paris was a little bouncy but quick, however my expectations of a sandwich or a breakfast never materialised, I just got a small drink and a small pack of savoury snackage. the next plan to head south was the business lounge at terminal 2A. In theory I could move between 2E where I landed, 2F where I was just to take off, and 2A where the lounge is, except that it only on the outside, not post security. (where incidentally the lounge resides). I grabbed an expensive sandwich as I was hungry though expected lunch on the second leg as it was a two hour flight. Time passed quicker than expected as there was little to do there, but then once more I was in the air. Again an uneventful flight, but it was a good mob that I had grabbed food as again all I got was a small drink and a small snack.
I was through Leonardo Da Vinci airport quicker than expected as I did not have to go through passport control (as I had come from one mainland European country to another). My hire car experience was slow though. No fault of the guy behind the desk, he just kept finding himself being the only one answering the phone followed by the discovery that my car was missing. Net result was that while it took about 40 minutes to get sorted (instead on around 10) I was upgraded from a Fiat Punto with aircon class car to a Lancia Muso, which is a small luxury MPV. Key thing is it has aircon.
The drive from Rome airport to Leonessa can be split in to three parts. First the ring road and autostrada out of Rome, nothing special though I discovered the Italians only post speed limit signs for when you have to slow now, not speed, thank yeah gods my sat nav was able to gove me that information. The next part was the main roads up from just north of Rome to Rieti, A road travel, but different in style from the UK, France and Netherlands, more rural and basic for want of a better description. Just past RietinI missed a turning to Leonessa and the next one took me the final 15-20 km through switch back mountain country roads. With the vague handling and diesel engine, plus vague gear box, of the Lancia, reasonable fun, but if I had of been in the MX5……
So I arrived in Leonessa around 21:30 to find the place effectively shut up. I wandered in to town and finally found an eatery open, the Trattoria Felicetta. Now I speak no Italian and had forgotten my phrase book and only one of the staff there spoke a little English, but I still ended up with a reasonable bowl of fetucini bolognese, spoilt only by the powdered parmesan they put on top. What was interesting was that they put a bottle of tap filled wine on the table, but the bill just covered the meal, the wine was effectively included and an assumption was made that I would not take the piss, i.e. just have a few glasses.
So the evening is already winding up quietly. The others are visiting Alessia’s parents so it could be an early night for me, but then it has been a long day since I was up at 16:30. Oh and as to initial impressions of Hotel Leo. Basic comes to mind.