Oh my, I have fallen down on the job! Our last day literally flew by and now I have found myself back in the “real world” again. Let me tell you how things went:
On the last day of our trip, I woke up early, but decided to stay in bed and just relish being able to sleep in a little bit before going back home. We all met at 9am to walk back over to the Hotel Quirnale restaurant for breakfast. After we ate, we walked but up to the Piazza delle Repubblica for one last look at the fountain. The skies were quite overcast, with rain expected for the day, but it did make for some good picture taking opportunities without having the sun glare. We walked back around the fountain and took one last look at the Basilica before heading back to the B&B. John grabbed his bags and we all went back to the George Byron Cafe for one last cappuccino together. Sondra and Randy had gotten there before us, and while they were waiting, a couple of beggars tag teamed them, distracted them and some personal belongings were stolen. In some ways, this really put a damper on our last day. The beggars were always around, and sometimes quite a nuisance, but this it was such a shame for this to happen on our last day together.
John’s taxi came and he was whisked away to the airport. Randy, Sondra and I hopped into another taxi and decided to go see the Parthenon in Rome. The Parthenon has the largest dome in Rome – even wider than St Peter’s Basilica! It has an opening in the dome and we were actually wishing to have some rain to see the water fall through the opening! We walked around and marveled at the architecture, and I was very surprised to see the Catholic chapels inside the Parthenon! We stayed at the Piazza there to have lunch and enjoy watching the tourists. From there, we traveled onto the Coliseum. Uncle Randy and I went in on a group tour of the Coliseum, while Aunt Sondra waited for us outside. From some of the books that I have read (Mark of the Lion series in particular) as well as the stories from the guide, helped to bring about a picture of what the coliseum must have looked like in it “hey day”. In some ways, thinking about the fights and “entertainment” is not only exciting, but also makes my stomach feel sick. It is so easy to look back at a society and think about how depraved they were – the numbers of animals and people killed in that arena – but we tend to forget that we have our own depravities. Leaving the Coliseum, we walked by the Arch of Constantine and saw bits of the Roman Forum.
By this time, it was after 4pm and we were getting a bit tired so we took another taxi back to the Piazza Repubblica to have ice cream at the cafe where we first ate in Rome. A short rest at our B&B and it was soon time for supper. We decided to go to a Trattoria that was close to the B&B and had another relaxing evening.
The next morning saw us off to the airport. The lines were long and many – passport checkpoints, baggage checks, lines for boarding passes, etc. We had arrived at the airport at 9am for a 12 noon flight – and only waited at the gate for about 30 minutes. Amazing. I think it was harder (at least it took more time) to get out of Italy than it was to get in! We arrived in Philly just a couple of days ahead of the coming storm, so although the rides were just a little bit bumpy, air traffic wasn’t being affected much. We had to wait in more lines to get through passport checks and customs, and then to go back through security to board our next flights. I walked with Aunt Sondra and Uncle Randy to their next flights, then found my way to my gate.
Arriving in Richmond, I was so tired, and at the same time, I was really glad to be home! It was so good to see my friend Lydia again and to catch up with all that had been going on at home in my absence! It is a kind of surreal feeling, a feeling that you were not really gone, but that life continued to happen – I kept catching myself saying things like, “last week” and “a few days ago” when talking about things at home – even though I had been gone for 2 weeks! …..and just like that, the vacation was over, and I was home again.
- Back to Roma
- 2012 In Review