Thursday 15th July 2010
It was another magnificent hot day waiting for us when we woke on our last morning in Porto Santo Stefano. We weren’t due to leave until Saturday but we were going back to Rome today. We wanted to have the last two days in some comfort before heading home. I was a bit sorry to be leaving the area as there were still a few places that I had wanted to visit, Grosseto and Assisi. The Grosseto Archeological Museum is supposed to have the best display of Etruscan artifacts and rivals the Museum of Florence for its historical value. The apartment was just too uncomfortable though.
We headed up to the pool for an hour before packing up, returning the keys and driving to Rome. Returning the keys was slightly amusing. I walked up to drop the key into the Portiere. The girl on duty there was rather stunned that we were leaving though. She called Massimo and he then rode up on his bike. They were clearly not happy; about exactly what though, I’m not too sure. They then both furiously started making calls from their mobiles and were gesturing to me that I couldn’t leave. They were prattling on about a ‘deposito’. I assured them that I had not paid a deposito so there was nothing for them to worry about. This went on though for quite a few minutes. Massimo then raced out back towards his house to get something. I’m not sure what though. At that point, I decided to sneak out. I walked at first but, once out of sight, I made a run for it, back down to where Mark and Tom were waiting in the car. As I was heading down the stairs I called out to Mark to ‘start the car’ as we had to get going ….and quickly. I jumped in and off we went.
Our last task before leaving Porto Santo Stefano was to try and sort out the parking ticket. I explained our predicament to the female officer at the ‘Polizie Municipale’ through a nice man who interpreted for me. He was understanding and sympathetic but she was not so, we still have the ticket.
It was a 2 hr drive, back with the maniacs, to Rome. Mark was going to drop Tom and I at the hotel and then return the car to the airport. His main concern about dropping us off in the Old Town, after his efforts in Siena, was that he might end up driving down the aisle of St Peter’s!
We finally made it back to the Hotel Adriano, in the 37 degree heat, by about 3pm and without incident. Outside of the cities they drive fast but sort of stick to their lanes. Within Rome though, they still drive fast but have no concept of lanes. (Room 428 this time)
We were in 7th Heaven to finally have bath towels, a clean floor, clean sheets, mite-free bed covers and curtains, a clean shower and a clean, functioning toilet. Tom and I waited in the comfort of the hotel whilst Mark battled the Roma traffic and train system to return the hire car. We celebrated our joy at being back in the ‘world of the clean’ with a drink at the Hotel Bar and then a delicious pizza and pasta meal near the Pantheon. We even managed to choose a nice white wine for the meal; an event that has been a bit of a challenge for us on this trip.