I am writting this post on the Syphax flight from Rome to Lisbon. Syphax, what's that? I will explain later on...
The day started with the alarm clock at 6h12AM, bahhhhh! I needed to be at the airport close to 8AM to catch the AirBaltic flight to Rome at 9h20.
It is about 30 minutes walk from Marta's home to the bus that would take us to the airport. I say "us", because Marta came all the way till the airport! Thank you very much for that Marta :)
At that time in the morning you basically see two types of persons. The ones that must go to work or travel and the ones that did not finished partying the day before, afterall it is a Saturday night!
The ride to the airport takes around 30 minutes, and there is where the mess starts! All the flights from AirBaltic have the same check-in counters and the line is huge! After the check-in done (I wanted to dispach my bag all the way to Lisbon), it was time to head for the security to access the gates. Well, this on is a huge huge huge HUGE line! You see some people passing just in front of you and you have no idea if they are going to your flight, or another with a later boarding time. Well, a total mess and Riga airport. They have a fast track security line, but you have to pay 10 Euro to access it. Well, my boarding time was at 8h50 and the departure time was at 9h20. It was my time to pass through security at 9h18, and guess what, of course I needed to "bip"!! Bah, but I have nothing with me, NOTHING! Well, you must go back and put your shoes through the scanner. Well folks, no time for argue or even breath, let me move, I must be in Lisbon by tomorrow!
I was not the last to board the aircraft though :)
Marta, see you anytime soon? :)
|Turning into active runway @ RIX|
|Cruising somewhere over Europe :)|
Flight was bumpy on the approach to Rome, but not a big deal.
Arriving into Fiumicino airport is equal to saying "welcome to Italy, we are trying our best to be efficient". It turns out that the aircraft approached the gate (no Marshal neither VDGS - Visual Docking Guidance System, an Automatic system that helps to guide the pilots to the right parking spot while in front of the designated gate). The bus were there waiting, but we needed to wait for avout 10 minutes inside the aircraft for the staircases to be operated by the ground staff.
Well, not everything is bad, there is free internet in the terminal, so I comnected to check if Chiara had responded to my yesterday Facebook message. Chiara is a couchsurfer I've met, when I organized an event with Ricardo Serrao to whatch the world cup soccer final (Germany vs Argentina). Chiara was in Lisbon that day and she joined us in the bar where we saw Germany winning the world title.
There was almost 50 people on that event, so it was difficult to talk to everyone. It turned out that at the end of the event, I knew that she was from Italy, so I asked if she would be in Rome on the 3rd August. It turns out that she was, so we decided to meet this time in Rome.
I have been in Rome twice, so instead of sightseeing by myself, why not to meet Chiara?
We ended up going to Giovanni's house to have a meal, great!
Because I was in a hurry, I took the Leonardo Express, the fastest commection into Roma Termini. It costs 14€ Euro, one way. If you plan to come to Rome and you are not in a rush, there are two options (slower train that costs 8€, and also bus). Not sure about the bus price though.
|Peter Lamb heading to Rome city center|
Well, at Roma Termini I went to Sao Giovanni, which is 3 or 4 stops away from Rome Termini by underground. Ticket valid for 100 minutes costs 1,5€.
|Ticket bending machine for underground in Rome|
I met Chiara at the exit of the underground and we head to Giovanni's house where should be Chiara's boyfriend, Giuseppe and Liina, Giovanni's girfriend from Estonia. Giovanni would join us in some minutes. I wanted to buy some wine to contribute for the lunch, but we ended up not going to any shop. Sorry guys :)
Guiseppe and almost everyone's help ended up cooking some pasta with Zuchini, tomato, salad, mushrooms, carrots, cheese and gelato for dessert! Needless to say almost, but Giovanni is a couchsurfer as well.
So folks, Rome was not Fontana di Trevi, Spagna, Coliseum or Vatican shots, but yes an Italian gathering to spend some good time together! Thank you very very much for the hospitality, shared moments and stories (very cool atmosphere indeed)!! You are all WELCOME at my place in Lisbon! Super cool couples both of you :)
|Liina, Giovanni, Peter Lamb, Chiara and Guiseppe|
Time flies when you are having a good time, so soon was time to head back into the airport. I thought about looking for the bus but I ended up catching the fast train again.
Well, sitting next to me there were two friends, one Portuguese and another Norwegian. They were gathering some friends in Rome for a reunion, as they have been studying in the USA. In a few words, the Norwegian guy is on his third year of college to become a doctor and meanwhile he works in the hospital, where he get payed 40 dollars per hour and double of that after the standard 8hours. The portuguese is about to finish law school in Portugal and then will get a non payed job for the internishp. Something must be wrong in here!!!
Well, now the Shyphax story:
I booked this one way flight from Riga to Lisbon with a long stopover in Rome. On Tuesday, TAP sends me a mail saying that there would be an equipment change on that flight and it would be now operated by BHAir. Cannot say that I am an aviation freak, bit the truth is that i used to read quite a lot about it amd necer heared of such airline. TAP would give me the choice of getting a refund or changing the flight date free of charge. Well, none of the optioms were really options...
When I get (lets say angry, not to say pissed), is that on Friday evening they send another mail saying that there is another equipment change, this time for Shyphax. Never heared of such as well, a Tunisia based airline. Well, I wrote them a mail back, saying that the options were not really options and that they should give the passengers the option of flying some of the Star Aliance Network, or give them some extra miles to shut them up! Fingers crossed now, ahahah.
The thing is that and Equipment change, quite OK with that, but the crew is also not TAP, cause this plane is on lease (wet lease, or dry lease, I never remember which one is with crew and without). Well, my hopes of seeing Monica a couchsurfer/cabin crew at TAP on my flight need to wait for another chance!
|Practice your Arabic! :)|
|Lear how to say Life-Vest, may be useful one day :)|
The beauty of flying Westbound at around sunset, is that you ended up seeing one sunset on ground and a never ending sunset while in flight! Am I two days older?? :)
The flight is being so far smooth, and we are due to start our decent towards Lisbon.
Is it nice to be back? Yes it is, but, as always, I am ready to be on the move again tomorrow! :)
That's all for now folks!
PS - Special greetings to everyone I spent my time with (all of you know who you are) :)