My Experience: A Roman Holiday to Remember

From the time I was in first year of secondary school, I was obsessed with Roman history. Reading about the gladiator fights and their vast armies was captivating, especially sitting in a rainy and cold Dublin.  


In fifth year, my family surprised me with a trip to the city of my dreams for my eighteenth birthday, to say I was excited was an understatement. The first day we arrived, myself along with my brother and cousin were flicking through the tourist brochures and eating authentic Italian pizza. My dad was told by the owner of the restaurant as we were leaving about the problem of pick pocketing particularly at the bus stops.  


Of course, that’s where we were headed. Our plan was to take a trip to the Vatican, which was a bit optimistic on the first day there. We hopped on the bus and suddenly we were off again. I looked around confused when my nanny noticed her bag which she had strapped to her was now empty of its purse, not a euro in sight.  


We scanned the bus as a group of teenagers made their way out the back and made a beeline for the main street. I just stood there quite shocked about what had just happened. My dad on the other hand, an All-Ireland soccer champion had other plans. He started running towards them looking like Tom Cruise in a scene from Mission Impossible.  


One by one, my family along with my 70year old nanny started running too. Can I just reiterate that this was not during a stop in traffic! They were literally running across roads full of moving cars in the middle of the day in an extremely popular city.  


I have never been sporty or fast so I trailed behind probably looking very foolish! Around two minutes later when we stopped at a corner, my dad reemerged from the side street. He was holding her little purse in his hand. Honestly it was such a proud moment, my dad had managed to corner the thieves with the help of a local taxi driver. I was delighted but more concerned about the fact that only a few years previous my dad had suffered a heart attack.  


He actually made them count the money to make sure every cent was there. You might think that would be the end of drama on that holiday. Well, unfortunately it wasn’t, this time I was the one in the starring role.  


We finally decided a few days later to make our trip to the Vatican. It is a beautiful place with truly stunning artwork and architecture. But there are a lot of steps and as I have mentioned earlier, myself and exercise do not mix. I decided to stop at a certain point in the climb, making arrangements with my family to meet at a specific spot.  


About 30 minutes went past and there was no sign of them. Not an Irish jersey in sight. What followed was me climbing the steps in an area that was so tiny a mouse would find it cosy. I followed what looked like their path.  Also, I managed to start my climb in the centre of a school tour group who were speaking a different language so not a lot of conversation there.  


When I finally reached the end point, my family were standing there and let me tell you I was not impressed. I was wearing an awful outfit, had a cap on with a bright red face and no water. Not a look I would like to recreate for ‘Throwback Thursday’.  


Hilariously my family had actually spoken to the security there in the midst of my adventures. They were genuinely confused as to why my family would be concerned about an 18 year old adult being missing! 


It was an unforgettable holiday, there were plenty of bumpy moments but we could see the funny side a few minutes later. Apparently, gelato fixes everything!