This day started at 8:30am Monday, at Intercontinental Hotel in Hong Kong, and ended 42 hours later at 8:30pm in Rome, having done the Ferris Wheel ride on Hong Kong Island, and the Borghese Gallery in Rome, with a 12 hour overnight flight thrown in.
We enjoyed our last breakfast in Hong Kong.
Evicted at 12pm we went up to Jordan to leave our bags at Mina’s sister’s place, then took the MTR back to the Star Ferry, for the cheapest ferry ride there is – across the harbour to Hong Kong Island.
After a futile attempt at recovering money from an account HSBC closed on me without actually giving me my money back, we met Mina’s friend and had a ride on the Ferris Wheel, and tried going up the cable car to the Peak, but apparently it’s closed for 3 months.
Back to Mina’s sister’s place, and waited for her daughter and husband to finish work, then we met them at a typical Chinese restaurant.
Instead of heading straight back Jess, Mina and I took a stroll through the Temple Street Night Market. We bought a few trinkets and headed back to change, collect our luggage, say our goodbyes, and catch the bus to the airport for our midnight flight.
At the airport I bought a fancy new neck pillow, which turned out to be much better than the blow up ones (even if bulkier, it does squash down a bit), boarded our flight, and were on our way again.
I hate red-eye flights, but this one actually seemed ok. I had the window seat (useless as a window since it was night), a good neck pillow, and a nice sleeping pill, which actually worked for once. The flight, scheduled for 13 hours, only took 12, so that was nice too.
Landed at FCO, breezed through the checks with just our carry-on sized backpacks, and after a bit of a re-organise we took the express train to Termini.
I had emailed back and forward with the managers of the apartment we were staying at in Rome during the flight (inflight wifi is great!), but I wasn’t certain if they actually were going to let us check in early. They are very strict that 3:30pm was their book in time, so I was pretty happy when it seemed they’d make an exception for us. However I could actually confirm it, so rather than lug our bags to the place only to have to lug them back again to a left-luggage place, we checked our bags first at an automated left-luggage place a couple of blocks from the station. Just as we got to the apartment we got confirmation we could check in early, so we checked in, then made the trek back to the station to collect our things. This back and forward wasted easily an hour and a half, and left us hot and sweaty since Rome’s temperatures were no different to Hong Kong or Manila.
With time running out we quickly changed and were off again to the Borghese Gallery. This was our first activity in Rome. It’s booked months in advance – in fact at the entrance is a sign that says something along the lines of “Please go away, fully booked until…” but the date is left blank because it’s so far out in the future.
We took a guided tour. They only let in so many people every 2 hours, and you only get 2 hours, so I figured with limited time I’d rather know a bit about a few, rather than nothing about a lot.
Unfortunately photos were not allowed, but we saw some very famous artworks.
At the end of the tour Mina and I slipped away to take some illicit photos, and when we came back Jess was deep in conversation with the tour guide about the art. I think she was impressed that the youngest member of the tour was so knowledgeable.
We then took a stroll though the park and had our first gelato, truly a delight. We then took a walk past Augustus’ Mausoleum and the over-rated Spanish Steps before heading home.
Mina fell asleep around 5:30, Jess and I stayed up till around 8:30pm, some 42 hours after getting up. It was the longest day.
Next: The Pope