We had a direct flight from Philly to Rome.  The flight was 40 min late.   It was supposed to land at 9:10 am, but be landed at 9:50.  By the time we got off the plane it was after 10am.  We had the tickets for the fast train at 12:45 and I was concerned we wouldn’t make it because we had to take a train before that.  We were near the front of the plane.  When we got to Immigration, it looked like a mass of people with no specific lines, but the lines moved very quickly.  As we approached immigration, I saw why.  They don’t require any forms and you only show your passports for a second.  They don’t scan them; they don’t ask you questions; and they don’t stamp any forms.  We only had to wait a couple of minutes to get our bags.  Then we walked to the FCO train station to buy a ticket for the Leonardo Express which takes us to Roma Termini (Rome’s Main Train Station).  It is a 31 min trip for 14 Euro (kids are free).  We got to Roma Termini and were able to find the train departure schedule pretty easily.  We had about an hour, so we went to CONAD grocery story and picked up some beer and I got a sandwich.  We booked the fast train from Roma Termini to Napole online.  Our train from Roma Termini was about 45 min late, but the screens at the terminal kept us up to date.  Once the arrival track was displayed, we found the train easily.  We bought tickets for the business class section.  With the special they had online, we were able to get business class for only 8 Euro more (Ardan was free again).  The business class section is less crowded; you have assigned seats; they have beverage service; and the leather seats are comfortable and clean.  We were able to store our luggage in the compartment at the end of the car.  The train goes up to 200 km/hr which Ardan found fascinating.  Once it Napole, I found the terminal for the Circumvesuviana.  I don’t exactly remember the cost, but I believe it was only 3 or 4 Euro.  Ardan was free.  This train was crowded and reminded me more of the subways in New York than a comfortable train.  It took about 40 min to get to Pompei Scavi.
Once the, we were met by our guide.  Before we arrived, we hired a private guide for the ruins.  Antonio Somma was great.  He picked us up at the train station and excorted us to his father, Mario’s café.  He allowed us to store our luggage there while Antonio took us on a tour of the ruins.  It was a 2 hour tour and I cannot imagine doing the tour without a guide.  He showed us many things that we would have missed.  While he was showing us around, I saw so many people walking by things that after he explained them were fascinating.  The ruins are well preserved for being almost 2000 years old.  You walk down the stone streets with the high sidewalks and stone crosswalks with groves for the chariot wheels.  You can sell the shells of the shops, the houses, and many other parts of the city.  He showed us homes of the rich people where you could see the paintings that were on the walls from 2000 years ago.  We also saw the cement casts of some of the people who died.  When the volcano exploded, the city was covered in ash.  The bodies of people who died decayed and left a void in the ash.  When they finally found the city, the filled the cavities with cement to preserve what the people looked like.  It was fascinating.  We also saw the theatre, the forum, the gym where old gladiators trained younger men, the spa, and mansions.  We also saw the brothel which had the original paintings which were basically menus of their services.
After the tour, we took a taxi to our hotel, the Hotel Forum.  The taxi was 10 Euro.  We could have walked, but it was a mile and we had 2 suit cases.  The taxi was well worth it.  On arrival, we were quickly checked into our room which is on the 3rd floor with a great view of the mountains and the garden below.  The room had 2 double beds, a TV, minibar, desk, and a balcony with 2 chairs and a table.  We had a great view from our balcony.  The bathroom had a toilet, bidet, and a stand up shower.  The room was compact, but for European standards, it was very nice.  One note, you will need adapters when coming to Italy.  Make sure you get the ones that fit their plugs.  They are fairly cheap, but you have to make sure all your electronics are compatable.  iPhone chargers work fine, but make sure the things that use a ground plug work with 120 volts as well as 240.  When we arrived, I had a multi-outlet that I tried to attach to the outlet.  When I did, there was a pop and the lights went out.  Not only did they go out in our room, but the whole—floor.  When I looked at the adapter closer, I realized that it was only for 120.  While my laptop converter specifically says 120-240.
After getting the power back on, we took a shower and went to dinner.
I found our restaurant Add’U Mimi on Trip Advisor.  It was right down the street from the Hotel Forum.  We found Add’u Mimi pretty easily.  We were greeted warmly and taken to a table.  We sat at 8pm and there were only a few people in the restaurant, but by the time we left at 9:30 the restaurant was starting to fill up.  The waiter, Roberto came to our table soon after arrival to take our antipasta order.  The menu is in Italian, but Roberto took the time to explain the different options.  He spoke good English and gave suggestions.  We speak very little Italian, but I like to try to speak the language.  I ordered prosciutto e melon for my antipasta.  It was excellent—the melon was very fresh and tasty.  We live in a farm community in PA and it was as good as we get at home.  For our pasta, Roberto suggested the penne pasta with fresh marinara rather than the meat sauce.  He explained that the tomatoes at this time of year (May) are very sweet and tasty.  I got the spaghetti al vongole, which is spicy tomato sauce.  It was very good and the sauce was tasty and sweet.  They serve very good bread with the meal too.  I ordered red wine, but only wanted a glass.  I saw they had house wine on the menu for 5 Euro, which I thought was for the glass.  It was for an entire bottle!  They make the wine themselves and it is very good.  It was just me and my 9 year old son, so took what I didn’t drink back to the hotel.  For my 2nd course, I got veal scaloppini with wine wine sauce.  I also got roasted pumpkin and eggplant.  The roasted vegetables were excellent.  They must marinade them in something because they were very tasty.  I forgot to ask him how they prepared them before I left.  I’ve been looking for a great roasted vegetable recipe.  For our desert, we had Ricotta e pera and Baba Rum.  Both were cake type deserts and very good.  Then Roberto brought a finocchietto to the table to finish the meal.  The drink is a like a shot and is meant to induce digestion to finish the meal.  All in all, it was a great meal with good food, great service, and a nice restaurant.  Best of all, our bill was only 38 Euro total.  If all the meals are like this in Italy, I’m going to go home heavier.
We are now back in our room and ready to crash after a long day of travels.  Tomorrow, we are heading back to Rome to start the Adventures By Disney part of our adventure.

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