Italian Pilgrimage


Page 2 - Friday, November 3, 2000

The group arrived in Rome Friday morning.  Once we passed through immigration and customs, our Italian guide (mama Rita) joined us.  We then went to get our luggage and to change some dollars into lira.  After this, it was to the tour bus for the ride to the hotel.  The tour bus was across the street from the airport.  The driver packed the luggage under the bus and then we were off to the hotel.  The drive was interesting.  I could tell that we were in a different country/continent.  There were different kinds of trees, cars and buildings (not to mention that most of the signs were in Italian - a significant portion though were in English).  Our hotel was a first class hotel called the Hotel Pineta Palace.  Our tour guide (mama Rita) checked us into the hotel and gave us our keys.  We went to our room to await our luggage.  The room was on the fourth floor.  The room was furnished with a wardrobe, a dresser, 2 night stands and 2 twin beds.  The bathroom had a shower, toilet, sink, and a bidet.  I had never seen a bidet before.  The shower was at most 30 inches by 30 inches.  Turning around in the shower was tricky as the shower curtain tended to stick to your body and open.  I also had never seen a shower head that pointed straight down and would not change position.  A plus was that the room had a large balcony that looked upon downtown Rome.  The joys of an European first class hotel.  As I understand it, the definition of a first class hotel in Europe is that it has its own bathroom.  After two hours to get acclimated, it was off to tour Rome!  We got back on the bus and drove into Rome where we meat our local Rome tour guide. (Mama Rita coordinated all the local guides in each of the locals were we went.)  When we arrived at our destination (an illegal drop off point), we were encouraged to get off the bus quickly.  After our walking tour (see the pictures below), we got back on the bus and went back to the hotel for dinner and a nights rest.  For dinner we had pasta, salad, vegetable, unknown meat (chicken/turkey/veal/pork???) and dessert.  And lots of wine.  Pat mentioned that it was my birthday so I got serenaded.  The Japanese tour group having dinner at the same time as us also wished me well.  It was time for bed and I slept very well!!

And now for the days pictures.   Please click on any of the thumbnails below to view a larger version of the picture.

These 2 pictures below were taken at the Rome Airport.  Everyone from the group was in line to change dollars into lira.  The second picture shows some of the ladies waiting with Father Thomas as their husbands make "change".

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These 4 pictures immediately below were taken out of our first class hotel window.  The first 3 are of what appears to be a church.  I still do not know which one.  The fourth one is of rooftops outside our hotel room.  Close to the center of this picture you can see laundry drying on a line.  We saw a lot of laundry drying on a line in Italy.

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The 5 pictures below were taken at the beginning of our walking tour.  The first 2 are of the Roman Coliseum as we walked the streets of Rome.  The 3rd is of a small balcony with planters.  It seemed like most balconies I saw in Italy had plants and flowers growing.  The 4th picture is of a plaque that I thought was neat and the last 3 are of street scenes.

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The 6 pictures below were taken at the Roman Coliseum.  The first two are of the arch (Arch of Constantine) that victorious Roman generals and their army's walked through on their way into the Coliseum.  The third one is of a tree on a hill beside the Coliseum (no other significance that I know of).  The 4th picture shows 2 "gladiators" and a "Roman Senator".  For a fee you could get your picture taken with them.  And the last 2 show the Coliseum itself.   As I gazed on these monuments, I could not help but have a feeling of awe.  They are massive structures.  The engineering that went into building these structures must have been amazing.  The Romans did not have trucks, cranes, or any of the construction tools we take for granted.  They had horses, mules and people.  This is a feeling that I had many times during this week in Italy.

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The pictures below were taken at and in the Basilica of St. Cosmas and Damian.  Evidently, the Franciscans (of which Father Thomas is a member) care for this Basilica.  The 4th and 5th pictures are of the "Chains of Moses".  The inside pictures do not do the Basilica justice.  It is a beautiful old structure with sacred relics inside.  The paintings and statues are very nice.

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The eight pictures below are of a monument built by Mussolini (in honor of himself?).  Why we took so many pictures of this is unknown.

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And finally, Pat and Mike.  I am not sure where this picture was taken, but this was a good place to put it.

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