We just returned from our winter break in Rome. It was a fabulous vacation and I'll be blogging about it once I get the pics downloaded from the cameras because yes, every member of the family carries one so we have multiple shots of every major landmark in the city. Big time overkill, but at least it gives us a lot of choice.
The apartment owner arranged for car service this morning to get us to the airport. We strolled out the front door of our building a bit before 9:00 am and our handy dandy driver hopped out of the van to lend a hand loading up our suitcases for the ride to Rome's Fiumicino airport. The driver seemed to know only a bit of English, but did ask us if we liked Rome and we all responded with a chorus of yes, beautiful, amazing, blah blah blah.
In what I've come to realize is the norm in the eternal city, there appear to be no speed limit signs and oftentimes no lanes marked on the roads, not just the cobbled sort. We were on major streets that appeared to be leading us out of the city center for a couple miles and then the driver abruptly shot off onto a maze of side streets that were winding us up to the crest of a hill.
The driver pulled over along what appeared to be a glorified alley, hopped out and gestured for us to follow him. This obviously was not the airport and my oldest daughter stage whispers to me, "Is he about to rob us?" Good question and honestly, in Italy, you just never know.
The reality is that he wanted us to see a rather stunning view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. There was a large green painted door in the tall white plastered wall where we made this unexpected stop. Since no one rushed out to grab our purses or suitcases while brandishing a firearm, we hesitantly trailed along behind the driver to see what he had in store for us. Lo and behold, there was a peep hole in the green door that looked through a garden with arched greenery that perfectly framed the dome. Whew - so glad it was a Kodak moment rather than a robbery, stranded on some back alley without a euro to our name, no phone to dial 911 sort of moment.
Despite our little side trip, we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to catch our flight back home to England. And how funny is that, our family grown accustomed to thinking of any place other than Texas as home. There's nothing better than snuggling down in your own bed in the ancient chenille robe your mother gave you many moons ago and giving thanks for the blessings that allow us to travel and see the world with our girls.