September 3 – Camp Flaminio to Rome Airport (60 km, 37 miles)

September 3 Route Map

This was the last riding day of my trip. I got up a bit earlier than usual and got packed up so that I could do a bit of sightseeing on the way to the airport. I saw the area around, and at, the Vatican. Pretty interesting stuff – there’s a lot to look at. Much more than I had time for. So after a couple hours in the city I proceeded on out to the airport, with a short side trip to the coast to dip my tires in the Mediterranean. It was just a way to finish off the trip, as I dipped my tires in the North Sea in Oslo at the start of the trip.

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View of the Castel Sant'Angelo. It was built between 135 AD and 139 AD as a tomb for the Roman emperor Hadrian. Throughout the centuries it has served as a mausoleum, Papal fortress, residence, prison, and is currently a museum. ^

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St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica. In the center of the square is an ancient Egyptian obelisk that was taken to Rome in 37 AD. In 1586 it was relocated to St. Peter's Square, where it has stood ever since. ^

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Here's something we don't see in the U.S. - a curb-side gas station. There are many of these small stations throughout Rome. It's a great idea, as they take up very little space and it makes it easy for people to get a quick fill-up. ^

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In many places, the road to the Rome airport is lined with trees like these. Quite nice. These trees, like many other roadside trees across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, were cataloged with unique I.D. tags fixed to them. ^

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Once I got to the airport I checked into my room at the hotel and continued the quest to find a box for my bike. I first went to the baggage check-in area at British Airways to see if they had any bike boxes – no deal, nothing. So the next stop was back at the hotel to see if they had any used boxes I could piece together. Once again, the answer was no. But they did recommend that I go back over to the terminal to the oversize baggage area. The hotel staff assured me that they had bike boxes. So once again, I went back to the terminal, found the oversize baggage area, and was promptly told that they had no boxes and that I should just go buy one. Well duh, if I knew where to buy one, I’d have already done it. And of course they couldn’t suggest a place to buy one. So out of options, I went back to the hotel and rummaged around outside it, looking for dumpsters that might contain some cardboard boxes. Jackpot! As I was dumpster diving for boxes, the hotel security guard approached and asked what I was doing. I explained the situation and he said he had to go call his boss to make sure I could take the boxes. He came back a few minutes later a bit exasperated and said he couldn’t contact his boss and that it was okay for me to take a few boxes. So, after all the trouble of going back and forth between the hotel and the airport terminal, I finally had what I needed. So I spent the next few hours piecing together a box for the bike. Problem solved. I just hope it’s enough to protect the bike during the transfers to four different planes.

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The final destination of my trip - the Rome airport!

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Arriving at the Rome airport. Notice the gas station on the right, and in particular the sign displaying the gas prices. Regular unleaded gas is 1.388 Euro per liter. At the current exchange rate, that's US $7.22 per gallon, or 2.5 times more than the current average U.S. gas price. Americans like to complain about our "high gas prices" and how they are a burden on the economy, as if the world's going to come to a crashing halt if the price of gas goes up 2 cents per gallon. But things seem to humming along quite nicely all across Europe. Europeans like their cars just as much as Americans do. ^

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Statue of Leonardo da Vinci at the entrance to the airport. It's about 25 feet high.

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Tomorrow I leave Rome at 11:45 am for London. Then it’s an 11 hour non-stop flight to Los Angeles, where I’ll overnight. The next day I’ll finish up with flights from LA, to Seattle, to Anchorage.

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My bike, inside the pieced-together box that I made for it. Hope it's good enough for the trip home!

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