Day of trying to get the car fixed. Called mobile mechanic via the information centre and didn’t show. Another day wasted on the car, but a chance to finally start on the website!
Met a lovely couple in the information centre from New Zealand. They had their Ford Transit stolen from Vatican City. They had their laptop, and other electrical goods stolen along the way and it was eventually found a few days later with the tyres slashed and the ignition lock busted from being jacked. They had been stuck here for 6 weeks awaiting their insurance company from London to try and sort it out.
Made a feel kind of happy we didn’t get insurance! As it was over $1000 for 3 months 3rd party, fire and theft, on a $5000 van, we didn’t think it was worth it. As it happens we’ve spent more money than that, but on fixing things on it to keep it going, but it does drive surpringly well. It’s a 2.5L diesel (which is about 10c a litre cheaper than unleaded here) and as diesel is costing us E1.22/L its worth getting diesel. Given the exchange rate that’s about $2.00/L. We have been getting good fuel economy considering we have a high top, that’s not aerodynamic in the least! We have calculated 7.5L/100km which is comperable to my Golf in city driving.
The poor New Zealand couple, have been ripped off yet again, since arriving in the terror that is Rome. They went to the markets and found a guy selling laptops and phones. At first they suspected that the laptop they were looking at was their’s that was stolen from them. But for E300 they thought they could only afford that. So they went and got the money out and came back and checked it again and some how they switched it and when they got it back home it was water damaged and didn’t work!
We’ve also heard of the pickpockets that frequent the bus that stops outside the campsite’s front door. We hear it’s a racket that goes on day in and day out totally unabated by police. The couple we met in Florence said that the Lonely Planet Guide actually gives details of the viewing position in the Train Station in Rome where you can watch the pickpockets at work. Its really sad to see the capital of Italy reduced to such a level, and it appears the police are either powerless or don’t care less to stop it.
I also cant believe the filth around the park. We are less than 5km from the centre of Rome and the vatican. The park is E29 a night for just an unpowered parking site – which is over $50 a night! They do have a secuirty guard on the gate 24/7 but we left the front door open this morning while trying to phone mechanics (even though we never leave any valuables in the car at all) and the ashtray was open when we got back to the van. We are also right at the back of the park, so its amazing that people will go to such lengths!
Right now I just feel like we should turn around and get out of here. I am not sure I want to see it now. Even the downpour that we’ve had today cant seem to wash away the filth or the smell of filth from the streets. How can a place that is the religious capital of the western world let the people live such lives around them? Maybe we should check out Verona instead. I’ve heard great things about Verona.
Off to try and sort the car now. Cant believe how difficult it is to do. Have been calling and calling places today and no one will answer the phone...