A Funny Thing Happened on Our Way to Addis…

Have I ever mentioned that on our last trip to Ethiopia we spent a whirlwind 40 hours in Rome? When flying Ethiopian Air, there is a refueling stop in Rome early in the morning. On our first trip to Ethiopia, we were sleeping when all at once we descended into Rome. Russ woke me just in time to see the rural landscape before we landed. The plane didn’t pull up to terminal, rather the airline refueled and replenished the food out on the tarmac. There was even a brief frenzy of cleaning. We were supposed to sit quietly in our seats, but Russ and I couldn’t stand it so we snuck to the back where fresh air was pouring through the open doors.

Russ traveled to Ethiopia two months later to get Dimples and once again, he landed in Rome, but was stuck on the plane.

When we began planning our trip to get Honeybee, Russ said, “I’ve been to Rome four times and never gotten off the plane. This time we need to do it.”

We thought it might be expensive, but our travel agent with Susan Parr Travel checked all of our options and found that it was only $50 more per ticket. We decided to go for it. Russ booked our hotel online and we got tickets to the Borghese Museum, but we were so swamped with preparing to leave for Ethiopia, that we had no time to think about Rome. We intended to buy a guidebook, but never got around to it. I did make a phone call to a young woman from my church who had lived in Italy and she recommended a few “must see” places as well as the best gelato shop in Rome. In the end we decided that we would take in all we could in our short visit…and figure out what we had seen later.

On a Saturday morning at 8:00 AM, we landed in Rome and took the train into the city. We walked to our hotel and then spent the day sightseeing. We slept one night, saw more sites on Sunday, and then were back at the airport again. It was crazy, and fun, and we are so glad we did it. I’ll admit that I felt a little guilty not getting to Honeybee as quickly as possible, but once I realized that if we had flown Ethiopian Air the entire way (as we had in the past) we would have arrived at the same time, my guilt was assuaged.

One of my favorite moments was photographing this couple as they were being photographed for their wedding. If you look to the right of the photo, you will see their photographer and assistant. They were actually up on a high balcony and quite a distance away, but I had a nice, long lens on my camera.

And yes, the Trevi Fountain is just as beautiful as it appears in the movies.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Renae
    October 24, 2009

    I love this!! We figured that we would probably be in Paris, France for about 7 hours between flights to see our daughter, and have debated whether to go into town and do a "quick" sightseeing trip..we will probably never make it to Paris otherwise!!


  2. Chantelle
    October 24, 2009

    We have felt the same way about 'stops' in London and Egypt… wishing we could get out and enjoy! I'd love to see more pics of your stop in Rome sometime. 🙂

  3. Dianne
    October 24, 2009

    We've made a quick stop in Rome before too. It was incredible. I still find it amazing that I could just walk up and put my hand on a building or pillar that someone else put their hand on three thousand years ago.

  4. Robin
    October 24, 2009

    My dream is to go to Italy; my dear husband keeps trying to tell me the fuel stop in Rome twice now counts. I say unless I have a passport stamp, it isn't real! So glad you got to enjoy it!

  5. Paula
    October 24, 2009

    We went to Egypt before picking up our girls…my husband had the time (unusual!) and we figured we might never be "in the neighborhood" again, so to speak. Ethiopian Air was having a special so that our tickets for flying to Addis then on to Cairo were actually cheaper than flying only to Addis would have been. Again, Susan Parr Travel made the arrangements. And we too ended up picking the girls up at the same time we would have anyway. Anyone considering a "side trip" should look into it; it might be more doable than you would first think.

  6. Andrea H.
    October 24, 2009

    What an awesome idea to stop in Rome for only $50.00 more. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I agree with you, I have stopped there 2x already and each time actually 4 times if you count back and forth and each time I sit there thinking, Italy and I am stuck on the plane.


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