Monday, 24 October 2011
WT - Rome
Rome in Italy was the next destination but a little about our last few hours in Zurich Switzerland.
During Ronnie's birthday celebration I enquired about her thumb which she had injured in London and when I saw how infected it had become, I insisted that we see a doctor in the evening on our return from the Alps. Of course she argued that she only needed to see a pharmacist for some assistance in obtaining the tools and medications to look after it herself. So I made enquiries about the location of an open pharmacy in Zurich and found what we needed at the Central Railway Station.
The pharmacist agreed with me that the injury which had closed needed to be lanced and refused to give Ronnie the medications she sought until she had seen a doctor, conveniently located next door and open for business till 21:00 that evening. After about an hour of waiting, the doctor called Ronnie in, gave her a blast for not having the injury attended earlier and set about lancing and cleaning the wound. A prescription for some antibiotics was filled and that was that. Probably not the best note to close her birthday on but I was certainly much happier:)
The following day Sunday October 16 was a travel day, now I haven't said much about the travel days since they are all pretty similar in that we need to ensure everything is packed in such a way that weight can be adjusted or removed quickly and orderly at the airports. So the preparation, hotel check out, transport to the airport (a costly little exercise for the unwary - I'll explain shortly) and finding the correct check-in terminal at the airport has become pretty mundane but time consuming.
Some advice for the inexperienced traveller. Ensure that your hotel has an airport shuttle or is close to public transport. Booking an hotel close to a central railway station is very wise but since they are usually very central to the city they can be pricey so if you are on a tight budget the red light district is a dollar saver but make sure you check the hotel reviews. Now I know what you are all thinking but trust me there is quite a significant police presence in these districts so they are pretty safe as long as you use common sense. There is no point booking a nice clean reasonably priced hotel 30km from the city centre because you will spend so much on travel that it will in fact cost you more than an up market hotel in the heart of the city. It is wiser to spend more on decent accommodation, you will be a heck of a lot more comfortable in the long run.
We have been slow learners as far as the airport shuttle's go and have had to use taxi's on a few occasions (Paris/Rome/Zurich/Munich) Australia/New Zealand/USA/Canada all have airport shuttles run by entrepreneurs and so you can find a shuttle that will make a point of taking you to your hotel for about half the price of a cab, in any event they are easily found. Not so in the European countries, not one of these cities mentioned had a service of this sort, only the biggest most expensive hotels have airport shuttles but to save the day there are entrepreneurs (hard to distinguish from the con artists and there are heaps of them) who will offer a VIP guide and transport service (generally the taxi/bus drivers will warn you about the con artists if you take the time to query them). On 2 occasions we have stayed outside the city centre and paid between $150 - $200 on cab fare each way! Public transport is fine unless its raining and you have a lot of baggage!!
Rome was one of those cities where we booked outside the city centre as we were staying 4 nights and needed to watch the penny's having gone significantly over budget on a previous leg of our journey. Of course this re-evaluation of the budget has a flow on effect so we needed to cut out some of the tours and excursions we had planned. Instead of visiting Pompeii, Greek Islands and Venice we decided to enjoy the sunshine at our hotel. We took a wonderful tour of Rome on foot one morning followed by a coach tour in the afternoon and evening. Unfortunately we were unable to visit the Vatican Library or enter any of the historical sites but we did manage to get some wonderful photo's of Rome.