This was our travel day and unfortunately we were traveling on Malev Airlines where I have no status. We arrived at the airport extremely early and were greeted with a line that snaked around the airport.
Malev had self check in kiosks at the airport but alas – all of them were out of order. So we sat in line and waited and waited and waited. The line was so long that there was a second entrance to the airport closer and as people start arriving for this flight they naturally started to merge into this line. We decided to create a luggage Wall of China to encourage people to head to the back of the enormous line and it worked.
In Rome, we were going to be staying at the Intercontinental De La Ville. I had done some trolling on Flyertalk about the property and was able to private message a Flyertalk member who had contacted the hotel in advance of his stay and was able to secure a nice room. I have Ambassador status but was afraid that staying at a hugely discounted rate would not get me an upgrade.
I emailed this hotel employee a couple of weeks in advance asking to have an upgraded room. He responded saying that he would do his best.
When we arrived at checkin, they had our entire group’s rooms ready for checkin. I was a bit nervous. I was handed our room key and it said 2nd floor. I assumed the worst figuring that the nice rooms would be on the high floors. As I opened the door, I was pleasantly surprised that my groveling had actually worked and I was in a beautiful suite.
I threw my stuff down and headed out with some colleagues to see the sites of Rome. As it was Sunday, we headed down to the Vatican City to see if we could catch a glimpse of the Pope.
This proved to be a mistake as we arrived about 10 minutes too late and everyone was filing out. We turned around and headed to the Vatican Museum. Unfortunately, we arrived 10 minutes after they took their last visitors. A bit discouraged, we decided to get some lunch and found the most wonderful pizza place around the corner. Everything was fresh made.
After lunch for pizza, we headed down to the Coliseum. It turns out that today was a national holiday in Rome and all the museums had free entry today. The Coliseum was packed with people. It truly was a sight to see. It was an amazing piece of history to see up close.