Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Christopher J Davies
Imagine if Quentin Tarantino could solve everyone's flight problem with an alternate ending, just like he did when Hitler is killed in "Inglorious Bastards". He could have Lt. Aldo Rained fly a bomber directly into the volcano and cap it off with a major payload of TNT.
No that is not happening quite yet. Although the major European carriers are wishing for such a miracle as they are bleeding through billions of Euros.
St.Peters Square at sunset
My wife and I have been stranded in Rome since Saturday April 17th, playing the waiting game. Our carrier, our favorite airline, Lufthansa is overwhelmed with passenger requests and unable to give a clear picture of when we can expect to leave. They have no crystal ball.
Darcy on our terrace at The Hotel Hassler
When we first arrived in Rome, we stayed at the trend setting Hotel Haussler which is located near the Spanish Steps.We were there as members of the press to write a review which will be the way quite favorable. A room at the Hassler can cost more than 1,500 Euro per night.
For the second night we moved to the Hotel Dei Consoli, which was located just three blocks from St. Peters Basilica. The rooms were compact as a river boat but well appointed and modern. The staff were amazingly courteous and helpful. When we arrived it was a little surrealistic at first as the power had just went out in the Borgo area of Rome. The desk manager asked us if we heard about the volcanic explosion and that airports would be closed in Europe indefinitely? We decided to go to lunch in hopes that the electricity would be restored. When we returned, we were elated that the hotels juice was back. But the desk manager dropped more strange news on us about a "fireball" in Iowa. He played a video showing a meteor crashing into an Iowa. With all of these natural disasters, I am wondering we are headed towards a real 2012?
So after 4 wonderful days in Rome, we decided to "make lemonade out of lemons" and move down south to Naples. Hotels are lower priced and Naples is on the sea. We have never been there before. And since it is also the birthplace of pizza, we decided to see if we can taste the difference.
When we arrived at Rome's Termini (train station) it was filled with lines of thousands of Europeans trying to get a train to somewhere close to home.
We are now in Napoli discovering a much different and authentic Italy. Prices are more reasonable, streets are narrower and historic sites are abundant. We are staying at an amazing, recently restored hotel named Decumani-Hotel de Charme, which was a Bishops home. The owner is in his mid thirties and committed to creating a epicenter for arts and culture. Our deluxe room is spacious with 15 foot ceilings and a beautifully tiled modern bathroom with Jacuzzi tub.
The news on TV today shows that Lufthansa has just started to return 15,000 stranded Germans from the US back to Germany. The customer service lines in Italy and America are busy. The website has little info. It say's do not go to the airport. It instructs us to call the customer service lines.
In the meantime, we have just returned from a wonderful lunch at Naples #1 Pizzeria, Sorbillo. It was orgasmic. It was the first Pizzeria that I visited that had a wait list! www.sorbillo.it
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