Page 8 - Wednesday, November 8, 2000
Today is our last day in Italy. Tomorrow we return home. We are up at 6 AM. We leave at 7:30 for morning mass at St. Paul's Outside the Walls. We had an emergency this morning. Pat's hair rollers quick working. Apparently, the power converter did not work well enough for her rollers. So they died. For the next 2 days, Pat had to live without her rollers heating up. She threw them away when we checked out. For breakfast we had hard rolls, pastry, ham, cheese, cereal, milk, coffee, tea, juice, hot chocolate and cappuccino. We left the hotel for 8 AM morning mass. Pat and I are to be Eucharistic ministers at mass this morning. We arrived at St. Paul's Outside the Walls and I was immediately impressed. The murals on the front facade are beautiful. St. Paul's Outside the Walls is not in the Vatican. But, it is part of the territory of the Vatican. Inside the church, there is an mosaic of every pope from St. Peter forward. We had morning mass in a side chapel. We toured the church, but bypassed the gift shop. After St. Paul's, we boarded the bus and traveled on the Ancient Appian Way to the Catacombs. If a person is claustrophobic, the Catacombs are not the place to be. The tunnels and rooms are excavated out of compressed volcanic ash. When the barbarians ravaged Rome, the Catacombs were also ransacked. According to tour guide in the Catacombs, the early Christians used the Catacombs primarily as a burial place. At that time, Romans burned their dead while Christians buried their dead. The walls of the tunnels are one grave site after another. The tour guide said that the early Christians were tolerated by most Romans (maybe because most of them had relatives who were Christians?), if not entirely embraced. There are several levels to the Catacombs. According to the tour guide, the total length of the Catacombs if laid out end to end would be several thousand miles. He also indicated that hundreds of thousands (if not over a million) Christians were buried in the Catacombs. Some of the rooms in the Catacombs were relatively ornate. These were burial places for more wealthy families. After the tour, we also visited the gift shop. After the Catacombs, we boarded the bus and went to St. John Lateran. The Bishop of Rome (who is also the Pope) presides over the Rome Diocese from St. John Lateran. St. John Lateran is outside the Vatican grounds but also belongs to the territory of the Vatican and is governed by the Vatican as is St. Paul's Outside the Walls. St. John Lateran is another gorgeous Basilica. Relics/remains of the original wooden alter used by the early popes are within this church. Statues of the 12 apostles are displayed in niches along the main hall. After St. John Lateran, we viewed Pilot's Stairs in a building across the street from the Basilica. By tradition, these are the very stairs from the holy land that Christ climbed to be judged by Pilot. Also by tradition, Christians can only climb these stairs on their knees, saying a prayer on each step. As I recall, there are 28 steps on this stairway. We then walked to the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore. Another wonderful structure containing more artwork. We had lunch in a little cafe across the street form St. Maria Maggiore. Pat and I each had a sandwich. It was ok. After lunch, we visiited a department store. After looking around, we decided to use the restroom. This restroom, along with a couple of others that we used, was a unisex bathroom. There are individual closed in stalls off of a common area with a common sink area. No privacy in the powder room to powder the nose. Mama Rita then led us to a public bus stop. We boarded a public bus and headed to Trevi Fountain. This famous fountain has some more impressive sculptures. After Trevi Fountain, we were on our own to shop, sightsee and make our own way back to the hotel. We got some ice cream. It was good. We got directions to Spanish Steps, but never found them. So we shopped. Pat was looking for a sweater for me. She wanted something with some color in it. What we were shown was very gaudy. We gave up looking for a sweater. We did look in several other shops at glassware, furs, coats, etc. We did not buy anything. It was now beginning to get dark at around 5:00 or 5:30. So we caught a cab to take us back to the hotel. The cab driver was a treat. He knew how to get to the general location of the hotel, but after that he was clueless. He kept looking at his map, at the map on the card we gave him, all the while dodging in and out of traffic, forcing his way through clogged intersections, going down streets where parked cars left no more than a few inches clearance. What an experience. And then it began to rain. Once he got to within a mile or two of the hotel, he pulled over at a gas station to ask for directions. It seemed like he was going in circles. After a little while, he asked some else for directions. He finally got us to the hotel, and the price was about what we were led to expect that it would be a cab. We were lucky. Other folks had a cab bill more than twice what ours was. Someone else had their cab breakdown. The cabbie let the meter run while he tried to fix it. They finally got another cab. The Rome experience. We then freshened up for dinner. For dinner we had pasta, salad, a breaded chicken cutlet with a slice of breakfast cheese and breakfast ham on top, and dessert. And tonight some beer. We then went to our room and our bed.
Now for the days pictures. Please click on any of the thumbnails below to view a larger version of the picture.
The 3 pictures below are of the front facade to St. Paul's Outside the Walls.
The 3 pictures below are inside St. Paul's. The third picture is of Pat and I in front of the alter where we served as Eucharistic ministers.
The 6 pictures below are of the grounds of St. Paul's. Pat is visible in the 2nd picture.
The 4 pictures below were taken at the Catacombs. The 1st one is outside while the other 3 are inside the tunnels of the Catacombs. In the second picture, our Catacomb's tour guide is visible on the right wearing a baseball type cap.
Some street scenes after being dropped off by the bus (another illegal drop off) on our way to St. John Lateran.
The first 2 pictures below are of St. Francis. The 3rd picture is a building on a street corner.
The first 2 pictures below are of the exterior of Basilica of St. John Lateran. Directly behind me is the statue of St. Francis (see pictures above). To the right is the building pictured directly above. The second 2 pictures are close ups of different aspects of the Basilica.
The five pictures below were taken from the outside of the Basilica. The 2nd picture depicts the Baptistery of St. John Lateran. The 3rd and 4th pictures show the leaders of the group in a rare moment of togetherness.
The 12 pictures below were taken inside St. John Lateran. There is a lot to admire in this Basilica. Again, the pictures do not do justice. It is very impressive.
Some street scenes on our way to Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore.
Picture number one was taken inside Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore. The second and third picture is of the facade of Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore. The 4th and 5th pictures are of structures across the street form the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore.
The 6 pictures below were taken at Trevi Fountain. Very nice.
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