Many times the best travel memories are the smaller, unexpected moments. After visiting the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, my wife and I opted to walk up to the dome of St. Peter’s for a gorgeous view overlooking Rome. On our way back down from the dome, I caught a glimpse of something interesting out of the corner of my eye. There was a group of six women sitting along a wall on the roof of the Basilica and they were passing around a small glass. I noticed a bottle with a reddish/purple liquid, and catching the eye of one of the women, I gave an approving nod and a thumbs up. I’ve enjoyed a tipple or two in public in Europe and loved that the group was imbibing on top of a church on a beautiful afternoon.
With a smile, the woman with the bottle motioned for me to come over toward the group. Hearing that the women were speaking German, I kept it simple and pointed at the bottle and asked, “Strong?”
“No.” she said with a hearty laugh, then added, “Lady liquor” as she poured a shot and offered me a taste.
Never one to refuse a drink offered in a spirit of hospitality, I downed the shot. Kind of syrupy, fruity and sweet – it tasted like something that was made in a bathtub and reminded me vaguely of cough syrup. That I took the shot got everyone to laughing. They continued passing the bottle around and as I wandered past again a few minutes later, it was time for a second shot, a photo and a couple more laughs. A simple moment perhaps, but one that will bring a smile to my face whenever I think back on my visit to the Vatican.