Saturday, April 5, 2008

Arrivederci, Roma!

We had an uneventful crossing via a modern and well equipped ferry to Bari, where we were met by a British fellow, Christopher, who has been a stellar guide for the last two days in Roma.  We had a delightful ride through the pastoral countryside, full of grapevines and olive trees.
How exciting to finally meet up with my good friend Karen and her two teens, Luke and Isabel, who have be roughing it throughout Italy for the last 5 weeks.  We ate all our meals with them, catching up on all our adventures. It was a short, but sweet reunion, and hard to say goodbye, since we will not see each other for another year!
Rome is a fast paced city, with thousands of shops, people, and years of history.  We toured just about every historical site as allowed in two days (see last blog).  The pizza, gelato, cappuccino, and granita (frozen expresso, strong enough to curl your hair...soo good), were a welcome treat.
Tomorrow morning, we head to the airport to begin our journey home, stopping in London (hopefully to meet up with Andrew and Katie), and then on to JFK, a taxi to Laguardia, and a flight out to Chicago...we arrive, Lord willing, late Sunday eve.
It has been a wonderful trip, but we are exhausted (just this afternoon, we ran for 6 blocks to catch a shuttle to our hotel).  It will be good to get home, and share all that we have experienced.  Thanks again for all your prayers...ciao!

Addendum: We did indeed have a whirlwind tour of Pompeii, and Rome. First, the Vatican, and all it's treasures (I loved the Hall of Maps...the ceiling paintings, some of which looked 3D were amazing), and then St. Peter's. Later in the day, we visited the Church of the "Three Fountains" where supposedly Paul was beheaded. As he was, "tradition" says that his head bounced three times, and at each bounce, a fountain sprang forth! What amazed me was the original Roman Road that led up to the Church. The next day, we visited the Forum (similar to the Agora in Greece), where business, politics and religion met. Paul would have stood here as he was being convicted and sentenced. The Mamertina Prison, where tradition says Paul would have been held, was just a sewer hole in the ground, and located just off the Forum. Earlier, we visited the Coliseum, where, interestingly, we are told that there is no record of Christians being martyred here (maybe in the Circus Maximus down the road, they say). It was awesome to see the lower level, under the platform, where the animals (and probably Christians) would have been kept. Even the catacombs, it seems, were just a burial ground for Christians, given to them by the Roman gov't. Authorities claim that it is too damp, and not conducive for living. And yet, I find it revealing that we are told of a hated brother of a Roman Emperor who ruled just for a short time, and was stricken off the records (and the capital of an arch in the forum), pretending he never existed..hmmmm.
The Treve Fountain was, we did not throw in a coin to assure our return (we had none), or make a wish, but, as we ate pizza across from the fountain, a couple was engaged, and a young man escaped from the Polizi up the street with stolen goods. Yes, it happens, even (and especially) in Roma!

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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel