We’re nearing the end of our stay in Rome, ready – we think – for our drive to Positano on Thursday morning. Our Roman holiday has been great, with lots of memories, some good lessons, and more girlfriends for Henry.
Our first lesson: Italian taxis don’t have a lot of trunk space, which makes it hard when you’re travelling with two months worth of luggage and baby toys. Our ride into Rome from the airport, we’re hoping, was the low point of our vacation. We were packed in a tiny Fiat with luggage all around us in stop-and-go traffic for hours when Henry got car sick all over himself, Kristine, our luggage, and the taxi. The driver was great about it and was prepared with towels to clean up the mess. We thought it couldn’t get any worse, but it did. When we finally made it to the general area of our hotel, the driver got lost. The quick turns, bumpy cobblestone streets and starts and stops caused Henry to get sick all over again. Lovely. But we finally found the hotel, and Henry’s vomit fest turned out to be a blessing in disguise – the Hotel Raphael felt so bad for us that they upgraded us to a suite for free. Nice work, Henry! By the time he was in his PJs, his face had returned to it’s normal color and the famous Henry smile was back. We even let him play in the bidet. The Hotel Raphael is excellent, by the way, and we’d recommend it to anybody staying in Rome – with or without carsick baby.
After that ordeal, we decided to have an easy day getting oriented in Rome by taking a leisurely walking tour on Monday. We stopped in a few cafes and learned how to eat a quick breakfast (croissant and espresso) standing at the bar. We strolled up to the Spanish Steps, past the Villa de Medici, to a viewpoint overlooking the Piazza del Popolo. Kristine had a small pout because the church she wanted to see had just closed. But we saw some great stuff – including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and some amazing views of Rome.
Tuesday morning we awoke refreshed and ready to tackle the Vatican City. By 9 we were on our way, stopping for quick shots of espresso at three different cafes and fruit from a vendor along the way. We crossed the bridge d Saint Angelo, and headed straight to the Vatican Museums, winding our way to the Sistine Chapel.
After refuelling with wine and pizza at a nearby tratorria, we headed to St. Peter’s Basilica. Naturally, Henry made many friends. A few Japanese girls chased us down to take his picture. After touring the main level, we paid to climb up to the Cupola. What the hell is a cupola? We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. 551 stairs later, we had managed to wind our way through the narrow, low ceilinged passageway snaking around the dome of St. Peters to a tiny walkway at the top, where we inched along with our backs to the wall, snapping one quick picture before quickly heading for the stairs back down. At the bottom we were both shaking, and Henry was strangely quiet. We needed to take the edge off so we headed home to get drinks on the rooftop terrace of our hotel – with an equally good view at a much more manageable height.
It rained today, Wednesday, our last day in Rome, so our adventures were tempered a bit. We still managed to make it to the coliseum, though. And, what would a day of the Fry Family European vacation be without a cafe for Henry to make more girl friends. Seriously, thank God for Henry. I can’t think of a better way to make up for poor language skills, vomit or general parent cluelessness.
Tomorrow Tim will attempt to drive the family to Positano in the rental car. We’re taking lots of towels.