The Alps seen from an airplane window (2015-03)

Berlin to Policoro (via Fiumicino & Rome)


Berlin to Fiumicino by plane (Germanwings)

One nice thing (apart from staying with my sister) about staying at my sister’s place in Berlin-Charlottenburg is that it is awfully easy to get to Tegel airport. I had the last of my four 4-Fahrten-Ticket tickets left, found the stop for bus 109 near the Schloss and 15 minutes later was at the airport.

I had opted for Germanwings again as the flight from Toulouse to Hamburg had been such a success and at 93 euros for the ‘Smart’ option the price was reasonable. My flight was leaving from terminal D where I had never been before. So I checked in at the information desk and they sent me to an annex at the other end of the airport. As is usual in Tegel, the line at security was short and the process painless.

This time row 1 was already taken so I had chosen seat 2F — again, lots of legroom, no one in the seat next to me and a small lunch pack with two drinks, a sandwich and a chocolate bar.

Fiumicino to RomeTermini by bus (T.A.M)

The Leonardo da Vinci airport in Fiumicino is about 30 kilometers from the center of Rome. There are several options of how to get there: taxi (about 45 euros), hotel shuttles, the train (14 euros) and lots of busses.

The busses all stop outside terminal 3. They all cost between 4 and 6 euros. For some, like TerraNova, booking online is cheaper. But then you have to choose a certain bus and print the ticket before. So I chose T.A.M., bought a ticket for 5 euros at their counter and waited. When the bus came twenty minutes later there was a big rush to get a seat and a handfull of people really had to stay behind for the next bus about an hour later.

I got on and an hour later was already in the heart of the eternal city.

Rome Tiburtina to Policoro by bus (Inter SAJ Srl)

The main bus station in Rome is Tiburtina, about 3 kilometers from Termini. Since this was my first visit to the city I decided to walk there from my hostel, the Alessandro Downtown. I passed the university and some stunning buildings, evocing the city’s long history. The bus station was bustling with people. It wasn’t immediately clear where I would find tickets to Policoro so I asked at the first counter, right by the gate.

I have been learning Italian for three months with my trusted Duolingo app. Yet, somehow I was able to find out that this was the wrong place, but that there were more ticket counters around the corner. The process of waiting, introducing myself as not speaking the language well and demanding a ticket to Policoro had to be repeated four times until I finally found stalla 4. None of the signs outside had pointed to that fact that  they were selling tickets to Policoro here but the gentleman in the glass cage asked when I wanted to go. My WorkAway host in Basilicata had given me a link to research my bus, so I said ‘Per venerdi, 14:40 ora per favore.’ He nodded, asked for 30 euros and handed me my ticket.

Two days later I made my way back to Tiburtina. With 18 kilos on my back and another 4 on my front I opted against walking. Instead I went to the next tabaccheria and bought a single ticket which allowed as many bus and metro rides in 100 minutes as I wanted.

I only wanted to get on the metro line B towards Rebibbia. The other passengers waiting at the metro stop looked at me with a lot of empathy (…or, pity…) as a completely overcrowded train entered the station. But against all odds I and my two backpacks found some space.

I reached stalla 4 with more than half an hour to spare. By now I had learnt to wait as close to where the bus would stop as possible. I dropped my bags and myself on the bags. But it was only 10 minutes later that the bus drove in and a helpful lady pointed me to the last luggage compartment on the left ‘Policoro…’

The bus was packed and left the station on the dot. The was no free WiFi but the conductor handed every passenger a small bottle of water. We stopped once about two hours into the ride to drop off some students and pick up more passengers. We stopped again at the rest area ‘Alemagna’ to buy dinners and get a better loo than the one on the bus. To my great surprise toilets on rest stops in Italy (or at least this one) don’t charge for the pleasure. After that the conductor popped a cheesy Italian RomCom into the DVD player which was interrupted ever so often as we hit our stops along the way to Basilicata coast.

We arrived in Policoro at 8:40 pm, 20 minutes behind schedule. My Workaway host Alessandra had waited patiently and off I went into a new adventure.

Do you have anything to add? Thoughts? Opinions? Let me know!

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