|"This is the photo we were taking while our backpack was being stolen."|
Every month we feature funny, cautionary, or inspiring anecdotes from travelers. If you have a true (short) travel tale to share, send it to email@example.com. If you have a photo that illustrates it, please attach it. And don't forget to tell us your first name and the city where you live. We'd love to hear from you!
Crying, Arguing, Praying...and Partying
A series of accidents marked the beginning of our trip to Rome. Funny when we look back on them...the airport shuttle driver desperately trying to find our hotel (which was mismarked)...a kind woman taping together my daughter's broken glasses...flooding our hotel room...repeatedly knocking the entire door frame off...our window pane we found in the hallway...it was one thing after another. But nothing compared to what we got ourselves into at the Borghese Gardens.
It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we rented a four-seat surrey to pedal ourselves around the park. Of course we had to stop to take a family photo by one of the fountains. No one thought to carry our backpack with us for the shoot. When we returned a minute later, it was gone! Passports, keys to our car parked in Canada, hotel room keys, cell phone...all gone in a flash. We scoured the park for two hours, crying, arguing, and praying to no avail. Devastated and desperate, we walked to the police station to file a report in order to get passports reissued. We did not have the full hotel address or phone number — all had been stolen — but we did the best we could.
Disheveled and beaten, we stumbled back into the tiny gift shop where a kind Italian woman worked, which served as our 'front desk'. She spoke no English yet somehow she understood our plight. She offered us water, hugs, use of her cell phone, and apologies. She located the manager, who produced more heavy skeleton keys for us to get into our room. We wallowed in our situation for a short time before deciding not to waste our final Roman night. We stepped out to enjoy the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. I threw some coins in, not sure at this point that I wanted to return to Rome...or that I'd ever see my passport in order to leave.
We returned to our room very late. On our bed was a note to my husband that read, "The police have found your bag. You are a very lucky man!" We couldn't believe what we were reading. Found our bag...that never happens! We exuberantly jumped on our beds and promptly went back out for a celebratory gelato. The workers there obviously had been partying without us and offered up some shots to go with our dessert.
The next morning we retrieved the backpack from the police. All was there except for the cell phone. The thief had even put its case back inside. Unbelievable!! We headed out of town for Tuscany, but not before stopping by the gift shop one more time to thank the kind, "Italian-only" lady for all her help.
Return to Rome? Definitely!
— Amy in Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Editor's note: This would be a good time to read up on theft prevention.
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