Just got back last night from 11 days in Italy and was totally drained of energy. Went straight to bed and didn't even take time for something to eat. Its now about midnight, and I just woke up again thinking I was someplace else. As I wait for the food to heat up, I am updating this blog with quick post.
|St. Peter's Square|
The trip was not a typical 'tourist' type of program, but something they call a 'pilgrimage'. It differs in destinations and focus. Here is Wikipedia's definition:
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone's own beliefs
This trip was for my Godmother who turned 95 this year and with her family and friends of her church. It involved visiting the tombs of the Saints, a stop at St. Peter's square to attend the the weekly mass presided over by the Pope at the Vatican, and the viewing of the rarely shown Shroud of Turin. We also got to celebrate mass inside each of the churches where these Saints practiced their ministry. For example, we had a chance to visit the tomb and church where St Francis of Assissi did his work. St. Francis = San Francisco (in Spanish) = San Francisco, California. Didn't get pictures from many locations due to the ban on cameras and videos. In reflection of the sign of the times, many sites banned large bags and backpacks and going through a metal detector was common.
|viewing of the Shroud of Turin from a private back chapel|
Italy is very historically significant from both a social and religious aspect. Once the seat of Roman power for the entire known western world to today's location of the Vatican, its a very beautiful country that I would like visit again with more time. With only 11 days, it was impossible to see anything in depth, but it was certainly a good overview of important sites for future return visits.
The trip was very educational. Aside from knowing the Saints better, and actually viewing their preserved bodies or tombs, there was a bit of time to see other things like the Colosseum, the leaning tower of Pisa, Pompeii, Venice, Florence, and take my first ride on an Airbus A380. We were on the go from dawn to dark every day, and didn't get to spend much time at the great hotels we were booked in,
We visited the upper 2/3 rd of the country, covering the entire trip with our own bus. Typically, we would arrive late, stay only one night a each destination, and left early in the morning after an early breakfast. On some days, we only got a box breakfast. It was physically hard for the elderly, but most did the pilgrimage with renewed energy obtained by seeing the sites that form the foundation of their faith.
|The preserved bodies in Pompeii|
|Yes, it actually does lean|
|Recognize this building - the inspiration for the Venetian in Vegas|
I will be posting more in the next few days as I get caught up with this blog.