About the time most of you read this, we’ll be on a plane back for the United States. Forgive any typos and misspelling because I’m in a hurry to make sure I get this posted!
Where did we leave off? Oh, yeah, right before we pilgrimmed to Cascia. St. Rita hums – that’s the best way I can put it – and in all the best ways.
Leaving Cascia, our GPS plotted us a course to Todi. When it insisited I drive down what looked like stairs in Cascia, I knew we were in trouble. I dutifully followed the directions, bumping down the stairs, and then it gave us a left turn onto an almost single-lane sorta paved road going straight up a mountain, with a sheer drop-off on the right and no guardrail. Um.. have we ever mentioned my vertigo and fear of heights? I can deal if there’s a guardrail or if I’m driving on the inside lane, but driving on the road ahead of me had my heart racing and my little fists clutching the steering wheel like it was my grip on sanity. The boys kept offering to have me pull over (where?!?!?!) and they would drive, but I told them I couldn’t sit on the passenger side of a sheer dropoff either. After about 10 kilometers of that, I finally was breathing somewhat normally and dealing as best I could. The mind has a way of starting to block out what is terrifying, which is handy. This route took us through more windy, obscure mountain passes than I thought existed. A couple of hours later, it dumped us out on the highway going into Todi. Simply.not.fun. But an excellent method to cure me of some of my fear of mountain driving. By the time we drove into Orvieto to the train, I was passing cars on windy mountain passes.
And here we are in Rome. All my life I had heard of Rome cab drivers, that they are crazy, drive crazy, just close your eyes when you get in a cab. My suggestion when our train got into Termini was to take the Metro to our hotel, which a metro stop was really close by, we had a map, it would have been perfect. No, the boys wanted the “convenience” of a cab. I had major doubts, but…. we hailed a cab. Any of you ever play the Grand Theft Auto game? The boys couldn’t figure out on the drive over whether to jump out at a stop light in terror or take notes on his driving technique for GTA4. I was terrified, so I just blocked it out and didn’t look. Now, we gave him the address of our hotel, but I guess he decided just taking us to the other side of the Tiber was good enough, and he basically dumped us out there, indicating Viale Vaticano and gesturing up the hill. Well, hell, I had no idea where we were, and maybe it was around the corner, and then he just threw our bags out and sped off.
Where were we? We had no idea. Luckily we had the GPS, which we pulled out, only to find we were still about a kilometer from our hotel, So we walked there, dragging our bags and hot butts behind us.
St. Peter’s Basilica (again, we don’t have pictures yet, no SD card adapter for this computer) is… hmmm, I don’t have words. It is a place you can see thousands of pictures of and still not get it. It’s just a place you have to go inside of and see. I could have easily spent a couple of days just in there. My not-so-little nontourists at least let me spend an hour before they jetted out.
Wednesday, tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Sistine Chapel…. meh. Kidding!!!!!!! It is truly a work of art on a scale that you just have to see. Paying for the tour was worth it, just the little asides on how it got done, the politics between artists, but seeing it is something you have to do if you are anywhere near it.
Follow-up for the afternoon was the Coliseum. Holy Emperor, McFly, I’m sorta moved that I was standing on some of the same spots that people stood almost 2k years ago. Rome is full of that, excavations, bits of stone buildings. Rome itself? Yikes, it’s a dirty fright of a city, but I get its magic because I want to come back, but only for a day or two at a time.
These places are like Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, if you’ve never seen them, you take the “idea” of them for granted, but once you go in person and see how truly vast or rich or beautiful they are, your perception of those terms are changed forever and some of the significance of your life is both dwarfed and magnified.
Now it’s a good night’s sleep and home. How I long for home. My own bed, unlimited coffee in the morning, my dog, my books, my kitchen I never use. It has been a wonderful adventure and one I would do again. Taking a trip like this with your grown children is a treat – you learn about each other in ways you would have never done in just daily living. By the end of three weeks, we are now picking apart how each other eats or clacks a fork on teeth. It is both frazzling to nerves and endearing. We’ve learned how to be more patient with each other because the world’s a big place out here and can be lonely and scary unless you have some people to laugh and share it with.
Thanks for sharing this with me. Ciao until next week!