It was our last full day in Naples, so we had a busy day planned. I wasn’t worried when I couldn’t locate my passport immediately. My demeanor changed when The Little Nurse couldn’t find it either. She can find anything. Keys, credit cards, letters from the water company, not to mention needles in haystacks, anything. I think it was her who found Osama Bin Laden although she never talks about it. The passport was missing and our day just went to custard.
A phone call was made to the Consulate in Rome. Although it’s 9.30 I get a message “we open at 9.00.” I have pressed 1 for consular services. I repeated the call using option 2. Same message. Option 3, again the same. Option 4 was “press 4 if you are a British citizen in danger”. Well I am in danger. In danger of missing tomorrow’s flight. I pressed 4 and got a voice. Human. The Foreign Office in London. They patched me through to the embassy in Rome.
Their advice was clear. Get to Rome before 12.00, apply and pay online and pick up an emergency travel document. The Little Nurses hair demanded we take a taxi to the station. Traffic was heavy, we could have walked quicker.
Messing about at the ticket machine a young handsome employee helped us get return tickets on the train due in Rome at 11.30. Second class was sold out so I paid €218 for two returns in 1st class. So, robbed twice on consecutive days. We clambered aboard and discussed the events of yesterday. We concluded that the zipped flap on my bag had been opened on the crowded train back from Pompeii. I suggested, as my picture was in the passport, the thieves could realistically only sell it to Brad Pitt. Judging by her sniggering and the eye rolling I’m not sure The Little Nurse agreed.
First class on these trains is really nice and in other circs the journey would have been enjoyable, but I was filling in a complicated online form, and had one eye on my watch. We arrived in Rome on time and joined the taxi queue. It moved really slowly. Google maps said the Embassy was 18 minutes walk away. I assumed that meant if you didn’t get lost. We took a chance and got there with two minutes to spare.
It was a rigmarole getting through all the security checks but eventually I was allowed to deposit my bag into a locker without the guards finding a hotel knife I forgot I’d been carrying around to peel fruit. I know. I know. I’ve had better ideas.
We crossed a courtyard to the Consulate proper and the two guys dealing with me were friendly and efficient. I had arrived without the two pictures required so they took my picture, and gave me six copies back. He was a decent photographer and made me look slightly disgraceful without losing my innate good looks. Perfect. We were all done in 40 minutes. We talked to an elderly English couple who had been robbed as soon as they arrived in Rome. They had lost passports, money, credit cards the lot. Supposed to stay a week, they were leaving the next day after getting new flights sent from home. They had no heart for it now. A real shame. I offered them some money but they wouldn’t take it. After collecting my bag (and knife) we were on the loose in Rome.
After lunch we headed for the Galleria Borghese. Normally you have to pre book but we were lucky enough to get last minute tickets which are cancellations. It’s a splendid place and although smaller than the Vatican Museums it’s equally as good. It was one of the places we didn’t manage to get to last time we were in Rome.
So after a bit of a morning, and a nice lunch at last we are enjoying our day. In one of the salons I leaned on an empty bust pedestal. It was just there. Nothing on it and about elbow height. As I glanced across at a guided tour the tour guide glared at me and told me angrily not to touch the artworks. It was just a podium, but fair enough.
‘Ok,’ I said, ‘I’m sorry,’ I moved.
She glared some more. ‘ You’re not part of my group.’ she snarled.
Ah that was the problem. She was worried I’d heard some of her words without paying.’
‘No I’m not,’ I said ‘ and you’re not in charge of this room. I’ll stand where I want.’
It went a little quiet then so we just left.
We had a few expensive drinks in a little bar near the station. We offset the cost by ordering free wine in our first class compartment on the train.