We landed at Fuimicino airport (FCO) in Roma, Italia at 08:15 this morning. We were ten minutes ahead of schedule. One thing I will say for the airport is that the staff we very polite, even though I had no idea what they were saying, but it’s completely unintuitive. I pride myself as having my head screwed on reasonably tight in regards to finding my way around. This was the kind of place where if you blinked once, you were doomed to failure… forever… When we finally made it out of the secured part of the airport, there were a ton of limo drivers waiting. The first thing that struck all five of us was the small of cigarette smoke. Do all Italians smoke? I think I saw some smoking inside the building, but I must be lying. I saw my name and made contact with our driver. We popped into his spacious truck, so much better than the crappy thing we had to get to ORD.

The twenty minute ride from the airport to our apartment west of the city was a nice opportunity to take in an initial opinion of Italy. I was saddened to see a high level of graffiti and littering, on the other hand even the ‘normal’ buildings were beautiful. As were the trees. It was a beautiful 80F sunny day. We got to our building. The owner of the apartment had said the doorman would have our keys and to pay him the City Tax. I had forgotten completely about the city tax, and hadn’t remembered arranging transferral of the keys. Very unlike me to wait until the cab from the airport to do this. Kind of takes winging it to a new level! I remembered thinking the city tax was a few Euro. No. It is €3.50 per person, per night. We’re five people, for five nights, so €87.50! We settled into the house. My husband and 11 year old daughter, #1, went out for a wander and came back with bottled water and a few slices of pizza. Not much success, but we were too tired to investigate further. The grown-ups showered. The kids stayed smelly, and we all rolled into bed to try to sleep for a few hours.

Three hours later we dragged our butts out of bed and headed for The Vatican. My phone said 0.9 miles, 30 minute walk. Now maybe my phone knows how slow I walk and that’s why it was being charitable? 30 minutes? That’s a big estimate. Well what did I know. Oh dear Lord (no I wasn’t at The Vatican praying at this stage). Rome is hilly. Yep. The route from our apartment seems to be out of a prank show. Every single street goes up and then down, and then up again. Over and over and over again. Never mind thirty minutes, try forty five. Oh also, because it’s officially an international border, there are the odd spots where it’s suddenly blocked off for no apparent reason, so that’s fun. When we were a good way into our journey, and sufficiently pissed off, we rounded a corner, and say the dome of St. Peter’s which did put some wind back into my sails I’ll admit…

Once we finally arrived in St. Peter’s Square we were all equally impressed with them view. It really is visually wonderful. We took several pictures, but I also just wanted to enjoy it. Coming in form the airport, there were many times I wanted to take pictures, but forced myself not too. I do not want this holiday to become an iPhone holiday. I want to use my iPhone for navigation, Uber, and “Where the heck are you?” phone calls.

We headed out of the square eastward, which is still within The Vatican City. There are lots of little souvenir shops, cafes, the odd restaurant etc. We ended up walking along the River Tiber and up to Castel Sant’Angelo which was beautiful. Also where #3, our youngest, who’s 5 going on 30, needed to pee badly. We went for the bushes route, which she refused. Suddenly she was fine, but not fine. Why pray tell? Because a lovely playground came into view. Even their normal playground seem to be in beautiful settings. There was graffiti on it, and a mom vaping on it, but the scenery was so lovely I couldn’t have cared less. Also there were a bunch of eight year old player soccer, kicking ass at it. And another kid, just two if that, kicking a ball, way better than I ever was. Any country that wants to know why Italia are a world class soccer team, come on down to this playground in the grounds of Castel Sant’Angelo!

Apparently Lyft doesn’t have Roma in its sights yet, so after five minutes of trying to flag a cab, I grudgingly ordered an Uber to get us home. $21 later, and a decent ride home, we were all set. The husband, and kid #1 went for groceries. The rest of us tidied up. It is now 22:00. Everyone is asleep except for me. I love that. Seriously – the best time of day. But I’m wrecked. And I want to get up tomorrow early too. So much Roma to do. So little time!

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