Travel Note

23rd May 2009

My latest coaster holiday was supposed to begin with a pre-booked taxi collecting me from home at five in the morning. Punctuality in the early hours isn't one of my stronger points, but I'd actually made it outside at the appointed time to find no sign whatsoever of my lift. Ten minutes later a quick phone call to the dispatcher revealed the truth; they had no reservation for me, but they did promise a car at my door as soon as possible. Fifteen minutes later I'd had enough; one of my neighbours was also heading to the airport, and he was kind enough to split his taxi with me. I made my second call to the dispatcher advising that I'd made my own arrangements.

It was five minutes after that, a full half hour after my original booking, that my phone rang to advise me that a taxi was waiting outside my door. On being told the situation the irate driver proceeded to shout down the phone at me, utterly oblivious to the fact that it was now half an hour after my booked time. He was not to be reasoned with, to the point that the end call button seemed the best choice. This didn't stop him calling a second time and leaving a rant on my voice mail. One might have thought this the end of the story, but no; after my arrival at the airport I got a call from yet another driver advising that he was at my home for my pickup; go figure. In hindsight it seems that the taxi company recorded my reservation for an incorrect time, though it does beg the question why they failed to notice this when I made my original phone call.

Four hours later I'd left the chaos of Dublin far behind, only to be greeted by the hell that is Rome Fiumicino airport. My flight had landed well ahead of schedule, but the baggage handlers were not available yet, and thus we had to wait over half an hour before suitcases began appearing. The final calamity came courtesy of Easycar Italia, who managed to take two full hours to clear a queue of seven people. Clearing the airport took longer than the flight from Ireland to Italy; go figure.

These various delays combined to take just about all of our allocated sightseeing time, with the sole exception of an hour long visit to the Hard Rock Café. The next time my travels bring me to this city I'll be sure to allocate an entire day just to get from the airport to a hotel. With luck it might be enough.

 

Oasi Park

23rd May 2009

Rome used to have a large amusement park named Luneur, but it closed towards the end of last year. As a result, a city with a population of almost four million has been left with only a solitary family coaster for entertainment. The Mini Mouse (#1345) is an Interpark ride that bears a passing resemblance to a standard Big Apple, but the design has been improved with a mid sized drop in the top section of the ride as well as a diagonal lift hill which provides a neat head chopper effect for the main drop. At the time of writing this is the only known installation of this particular design, which is a shame; it's a definite improvement on the standard layout.

Park Map