Every year, my 5 youngest children and I take a boat trip, we did it when I was married, and have done it in the ten years since, and although it’s a stretch and a splurge, it’s worth saving all year to do it!! I am addicted to boat vacations, because they give you so much freedom. It corrals everyone on the same dates (rather than people arriving late and leaving early at a rented house), and it gives you incredible freedom. If you don’t like where you are in the morning, you can go just a few miles away to a prettier place, or change locations and plans entirely. It’s like a movable house, and you can vacation in a bunch of places. And being on a boat is probably the only place that I really relax. It feels so removed from the pressures of real life, and is a wonderful way to spend time with my children every summer, and we all love it.
Boat vacations are not without their problems however, weather being one of them. We’ve had to change plans to avoid storms or bad winds, and have gotten stuck in port for several days. Last year, the owner of the boat we were on had some serious legal problems with the Italian tax authorities, and we were stopped by the French authorities, and ‘stuck’ on the boat for 5 days, unable to go anywhere until the problem was resolved. It messed up our itinerary, but there are worse places to get ‘stuck’ and we had a ball anyway, with a great crew, in a beautiful location, on a lovely boat.
This year, our nemesis on the boat was the weather. We hit an unexpected storm the first night on the boat (and fortunately we’re all good sailors, but nonetheless it’s unnerving to be pitching and rolling all night, and not a lot of fun). And our last day and night on the boat, we had major storm warnings, with l5 feet waves expected and 35 or 40 knot winds. That would have been nasty, and really not a lot of fun. So we agreed to leave the boat for the day and evening, and meet it again at a port near Rome. We disembarked at a tiny little port in Southern Italy called Gaeta, north of Positano, Capri and Ischia, and we drove 2 and a half hours to Rome. I hadn’t been to Rome in l8 years, and it sounded like fun to all of us, for a change of scene. It wasn’t the relaxed day we had hoped for on the boat, but it was going to be an adventure. And so it was.
I guess I never paid much attention to the atmosphere in Rome, since the last time I was there I was shepherding little children from the coliseum to the Sistine Chapel, admiring monuments, and getting everyone fed and finding bathrooms. This time, with adult children, I was bowled over by the charm of Rome. Wow!!! It is a knock out city, with all the monuments we all know about, a spectacularly beautiful city, and a sense of enchanting chaos, with wild drivers, handsome people, delicious food, and all the charm of the Italians. We were lucky that it was about 80 degrees in the daytime and cool in the evening. The week before it had been l07 degrees—-I’m glad we missed that. There are 500 Cathedrals in Rome, and 1,500 churches, big, small, ancient, crumbling, spectacular. We didn’t go to the ‘important’ ones, in order to avoid long lines to get in. But in any given block, there are as many as three small beautiful churches, with frescoes, painted ceilings, and a stunning beauty that takes your breath away. We had two delicious meals, walked endlessly, dodged the crazy Roman traffic, did some shopping (sadly, the same stores as everywhere else now. Globalization has wiped out all the charming local shops in every city and location, it’s all Gucci, Prada and Nike now, which I find sad, even on a tiny island like Capri). But we shopped anyway, and listened to the church bells tolling at certain times of day. We walked up the Spanish steps, gazed at the Vatican, and threw coins in the Fountain of Trevi: you have to throw in 3 coins, with your back to the fountain, one as a personal wish of any kind, the second for love, and the third as a wish to return to Rome—-I had no trouble at all making those 3 wishes, and I hope that all 3 of them come true!!!
It was an absolutely perfect day in a spectacularly beautiful exciting city, and we had to tear ourselves away after a delicious dinner to go back to the boat. They had had a tough day with heavy winds and l2 foot waves, and I’m glad we missed it!!! The day we got in Rome was a gift. I’d love to go back, and this time I won’t let l8 years go by before I do. What a gorgeous city!!! It was everyone’s favorite day of the trip!!!!