We got up bright and early on Saturday to get our rental car back to the Rome airport on time. It’s about a 3 hour drive, plus time to fill up the tank, but we made it with time to spare. Our flight to London wasn’t until the evening, so we made plans to see our friend, Fr. Cassian, a Dominican who did our individual RCIA instruction in New Haven and is now studying for his doctorate at the Angelicum in Rome.
We decided to spring for the left luggage fee at Fiumicino (ground floor of the terminal, all the way to the end, €6 per bag) to spare ourselves further schlepping on the train back and forth to Termini. Between the freedom from the bags and the express train tickets, we were living large. I told Chris it was the most relaxed travel day I had ever had.
We found Fr. Cassian at Termini – not hard with his white habit – and he took us to lunch at a tasty buffet in the station. We caught up about our trip and his studies. Christopher was super happy to see him despite only knowing him as a newborn. Fr. Cassian jokingly gave Christopher a test and asked him who was on the crucifix on his rosary. Christopher instead told him it was “a rosary like Mommy has.” I think I passed Christopher’s test.
Fr. Cassian then took us on a tour of St. Mary Major, one of the four papal basilicas in Rome along with St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, and St. Paul Outside the Walls. It was great to have a guide and see the relics of what was supposedly the manger at the Nativity. “Why is there a giant statue of Pope Pius IX with the manger?” I asked. “Because when you’re Pope you get to do that sort of thing,” Fr. Cassian replied.
We walked back to the train station for a coffee and talk a bit more before our train back to Fiumicino. We lost cup #3 of the trip and there was a tired Christopher meltdown at the end, but it was wonderful to see Fr. Cassian.
The rest of the day was thankfully uneventful. We went to the Priority Pass lounge at the airport and loaded up on snacks and boarded our plans without incident.
Passport control took forever and involved a lot of Christopher distraction and the schlepping of stuff from Gatwick to our affordable AirBnB in East London was exhausting, but we collapsed in bed to rest up for our whirlwind day in London in the morning.