How time flies when you are with a loved one! The last day in Rome with my daughter came all too fast for me, but the little time together was certainly better than none at all. We woke up to another dreary sky and rain, which ruined our plans to explore some parks and gardens. Rome is the type of city, however, that will offer you something for each weather, regardless of the season. After packing up and checking out, we headed for the Piazza del Popolo, aiming for one of the twin churches – Santa Maria Dei Miracoli (Our Lady of Miracles). Technically, if you begin your exploration of Rome, you should start off here, as this is the start of the Via Flaminia, the very first view of Rome that travelers had in the age of antiquity.
Champagne came out of her backpack for a bit of a walk and decided this was her chance to meet and greet some of the Italian pigeons. She got distracted by all the other people around, the new sights and sounds, that she veered away from the Obelisk and headed for the Neptune fountain instead. It wasn’t long before she flopped on her belly and refused to move, not out of fear, but because the first rain drop began to fall. One should always listen to animals when it comes to weather! So we packed her quickly back into her pack, and headed towards the church on the other side of the piazza. The rain drops turned into hail, and half way across we were pummelled by the hail stones.
Entering the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, we realised mass was going on, so we chose a pew and settled down for prayer. This, as I discovered, was a church dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, to whom I have had a devotion to for many years. In one of the side altars there was also a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, and on the other side, Our Lady of Bettharam.
Emerging from the church after mass we were embraced by radiant sunshine and blue skies, the first miracle. We had no specific plan, since we were limited by time so we strolled down the Via del Babuino, filled with ridiculously expensive boutiques – but all in lovely old buildings. Eventually we found ourselves at the famed Piazza di Spagna and at the foot of the Spanish Steps. There are certain landmarks in Rome that simply impossible to photograph without people, the Trevi Fountain, for example, so I didn’t even try. Instead, I soaked in the view while my cat watched the people huffing and puffing up and down the stairs doing their selfies.
A quick lunch and we headed back to collect our luggage and make our way to the main train station, Roma Termini. This is where we parted ways with heavy hearts. Champagne and I caught the Leonardo Express airport shuttle and my daughter moved on to the main bus stop to travel back to Florence. Like I said in the beginning of the trip, once you get your bearings of Rome, you discover the more economical ways to travel to and from the airport, and the Leonardo Express is certainly a relief from the horrendous taxi fares. I said arrivederci Roma and promised to return for a more extended visit.