Coming and Going En Route to Rome
|Watch that cab meter while in Rome...it can get away from you if you're not careful.|
By Rick Steves
My New Year's Day flight to Europe was light, so I got upgraded to business class — a comfortable surprise. Enjoying a virtual bed on the plane, I never slept so well at 600 mph!
But with an evening departure followed by an evening arrival in Rome...I wasn't ready to sleep. Ironically, sleeping so soundly during the flight extended my jet lag recovery time. But looking out my window at floodlit domes and monuments, pondering the story of this great city...I could think of worse ways to endure insomnia.
Breaking my carry-on rule, I checked my bags. One of them didn't make the tight London connection. The person in front of me in the Rome airport service line had a similar problem. He spoke enough English to ask "Compensation?" The attendant made a call and said, "Okay...€50." My turn next. I asked, "Compensation?" The attendant made a call and said "Okay...€50." Had I not asked, it wouldn't have been offered. (I got the cash immediately. The bag arrived at my hotel 16 hours later.)
At the curb, I hopped into a taxi. As I watched the seemingly friendly cabby's meter, it crept up to €40. As we pulled up to the hotel, it suddenly read €83. "Holiday tariff" the cabby explained. Referring to my guidebook, I knew the ride should be no more than €50, and that's all I paid. My "compensation" became his.