Random Thoughts: I apologize for my grammatical errors in advance... LoL
I left Toronto aug 31 10:30pm-ish; and arrived in Rome Sunday.
I booked with Air Transat; and a man with a sign was looking for guests of the La Darsena Hotel just in front of the baggage claim. It's a good thing I spotted him because I am used to meeting with the rep just outside of the airport (based on all of my travel experience). We waited as we were missing other people. We left; and we shared the bus with people who arrived from Montreal 1-2hrs before us. So, while there were still ppl missing, we left because the Montreal passengers have already been waiting long. I don't know if the other Toronto passengers were found and sorted :s Yikes, that would suck if it were me. So, please be on the look out for rep if your pkg includes transportation as it takes 4-5hours to get to the hotel.
Before getting to the baggage area, you have to hop on a indoor train to get where you need to go...just follow the crowd and you will be fine.
Drive to Rome:
Like I said, it takes about 4-5hrs to get there. There was an 30 mins stop so guests could use the washroom and a snack. I got their famous buffalo mozzarella sandwich; I love that cheese. I bought a bottle of 2Lwater for 3euros in fear I won't have access to water at the hotel, as I was not to familiar with the layout just yet.
Honestly, I did not really feel the long drive as I was tired and slept most of the ride. The bus had air and was relatively comfortable.
Hotel check in:
Pretty painless. They give you the key but the girl at the desk didn't really know how to speak English so you sorta have to figure out to direct yourself.
I was in room 211, but the elevator states "1" for rooms on the second floor; and "2" for the third floor. So, I was riding the elevator confused until made this self realization. There are rooms on the first floor but they are mainly the ground floor. There is no one to assist you with the bags; so don't wait around. There is no money exchange or ATM at the hotel so get your euros at home as it was rushed at the airport with big line ups. There are banks 20 mins right from the hotel but there are no money exchange at the banks just ATMs. It will only give you an option of Visa from the list when you put your debit card in; but its ok, they really are referring to your debit card. The first time I had to re-enter my card as I was afraid they were going to charge me on my visa but because I amusing my debit card another tourist told me to just choose the option listed and treated as though it is debit even though it lists visa.
Decent size for one or two; I wasn't planning to stay there for long anyway, as I will be out and about. I had a side view of Lake Como and I had Juliet balcony which means you can step out but there was only enough room to put a chair out. I ended up sitting on the actual balcony frame to get a better view of the Lake. This room had good exposure to the sun; and so I was able to tan from my room. It was directly above the lobby so I was able to get free wifi most of the time. Free wifi, in general, was only accessible to the lobby but because I stayed in the room right above it, I was able to get signal. You have to get the wifi code from the front desk before getting access, so be sure to get that.
TV had no English speaking channels which was horrible for me, as I like having it on as I change and if I'm in the room. Not even ONE! the hotel should at least get one movie channel. No iron; i had to spray water on my clothes and let the wrinkles air dry. No alarm clock; I used the wake up call and my iPhone alarm. The walls were thin. Lol. You can hear your neighbour. Shower was tiny and I am 5'1 and size small....so for me to say that it is small...it is small. There is an emergency plug you can pull in case of emergency in the washroom but I accidentally pulled it one day; and no one came, so If you think you are going to need it; I would test it out.
My Montreal friends got the upgrade of the sea view; and it was absolutely amazing! The front view balcony alone was enough to sell me on the room; but they were there for 2 wks so there are only a few available. I saw their pics and it was incredible views. There is also free wifi at the bar terrace which had a great view of the lake. Bring DVDs and a. Laptop if you need to watch something in English when you are in the room.
Angelo did not come until Monday; and mostly spoke in French. My French friends that met on the bus were nice enough to ask him to please speak English on my behalf. They were great people. Tours either 50euro or 70euro. When one of the guests said that I might as well do it on my own; the prices were dropped to 45 euros the next day. The tours were not organized in terms dates and prices; he had to return on Tuesday to finalize base on what people preferred to go. So if you haven't done your research on where you want to go, you are put on the spot to choose your preference; and base on that, the days of tours will reflect the high demand. I.e if no one wanted to go to Pompeii, the tour will be postponed next week versus doing it this week.
So, I was a bit upset about that because I already lost a day on Tuesday as the dates of tours weren't set; and I leave on that Sunday.
Isle of Capri:
So, I went to Island of Capri on Wednesday for 70euro about 2hrs ride via bus and boat to get there; and another 2 to get back. It was 7am to 6pm tour. It is extra if you want to go to the higher parts of Capri ...11euros for the 3 buses ride up ther; I opted not to go and just stayed to shop the stores at the dock. I also took my time to eat. But I did regret not going up to see what's what. It was expensive but I heard it was beautiful up there. On the boat ride, you will pass the Amalfi Coast and Positano. So because of that, it was worth the 70 euros as you get boat "tour" on the ride over there.
Thursday I went to Sorrento/Paestum for 45euros via bus. We went to the city of Sorrento first but only had 2-3hours; I only had time to really just walk around and take pics; had a gelato; and saw the Dali Salvador Art Gallery Exhibit; the cathedral was closed.
We had to meet back at the bus to head to Paestum, which was about 10mins away from the hotel. Arriving Paestum it was 10 euros to see both the museum and the ruins. You can see the ruins on the outside but it is fenced in, so if you want to take pics, it is the better value to just pay the 10euros. I felt ths tour was very rushed. We left at 8:30am and was back 5:30pm. Sorrento was a bit more energetic than Agropoli and so it would be worth a full day trip to go back if I had the time. But I didn't.
Friday was suppose to be the Almafi coast for 45euros. I didn't go as I already saw on the way to Capri. Although I am sure the tour would take you into the citY and give you a better experience seeing the coast. I went to the city of Santa Maria instead. It was about 20-30mins away from the hotel by bus. It was 1.60 euro one way which you can purchase the tix at the hotel. They didn't have it when I asked so I met a couple of ladies going the same way and we went on the bus together; they allowed us to get on and let us purchase the tix at the cafe by the bust stop when we arrived at Santa Maria. So, going back, I purchased the tix at the same cafe for another 1.60 euros to go back; just tell them you would like to be alerted when you are approaching the stop just before the hotel. Just familiarize your surroundings and you will know when the stop is approaching or sit at the front and get to know the driver to ensure he doesn't forget about you.
Note; there is better beach here. So, if you have time make it a full day and bring your swim suit and towels to shop the first part of the day and relax the second half of the day. Trust me...you won't need too much time shopping as it is very small little town. I didn't know how it would be so I didn't take anything with me and left before lunch so I can return to the hotel in time to eat lunch and lounge at the beach there.
Old Agropoli/Lake Como:
Saturday I walked around the city of agropoli. To get to the old Agropoli and village: go up the hill-driveway from the hotel (2mins); turn right, passing the cigar newsstand (which also sells Peroni beers for 1 euro! And 2L water for 88 cent euro); keep going straight where you will see the beach on your right; when you walked past the beach area, you will see an Esso gas station on the right and a statue of Mary on the left (in the cross roads); this should be roughly 20mins from the hotel at this point depending how you walk; make a right; keep going straight where you see a outlet store selling cheap tops and shorts for 3 or 5 euros; keep going straight all the way up until you see shops and restaurants; turn right and you should see the stairs that lead you up to the old castle....if you have a DsLR, take it up with you on this walk as there are great views of the beach and Marina from the castle. Saturday was the tour of the buffalo mozzarella cheese factory and wine ....they show you how to make it; and they also give you the food and wine to drink during the tour. It was 70euros so passed to go on the Agropoli self guided tour which cost me nothing but the things I bought. Sunday was the tour for Pompeii for 45euros but I was already leaving at 7am. There were also a Rome at night tour for 45euro which basically included only the ride as you had to pay for your own dinner etc. I didn't get the details as I would have been gone already.
People were complaining about the hotel food on the reviews I read before I left; but honestly, I was never hungry! There was nothing I ate where I said to myself, omg that is awful or oh gawd I won't eat that. Everything was great! And the ladies serving us were the same three for the entire week; and they worked the whole day.night; everyday I was there!
I don't like wine and I always opted out to drinking it when I am home; bit over there, I drank the two bottles of wine they served with lunch and dinner Italy taught me how to drink! Lol they also give a bottle of water for both dinner and lunch. Appetizer, Entree, desert. I thought it was an amazing value for what I paid.
I thought at first, it seemed isolated.
However, because of all the destinations I wanted to go to; it was actually great location! I didn't research the location enough because it was a last minute trip; but if I had, I probably would have gotten more out of the trip.
First impression of hotel: meh :/ dated. Omg did I make the right choice? But after awhile you forget about 3 star quality and you begin to treat as home away from home. Overall, I thought it was an amazing value for what paid.....and I paid single supplements so that speaks volumes!
I would recommend La Darsena and Agropoli. I had a great time...solo and all! I made great friends with other travelers. Lower your expectations and just appreciate the food, culture and scenery! It is worth the trip!
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- Also Known As:
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