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An E-Mail Never Sent
| Well everyone, I wrote this thinking that I would send it out, but it is just too strange! So, to those closest to me who can handle my strangeness I offer you ...
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Hey everyone! I'm currently in Assisi. It's beautiful here! I just came back from getting some gelato and a nice walk. There was a little bit of sadness, though, as I was walking back and I saw the Palm Sunday procession about to start. They had torches and I just thought, "if only I wasn't eating this gelato" (which, btw, I think I've had at least one a day, although the best one was still on my first day here in Rome). Oh well, tomorrow morning ... I think the procession will be at the 10:30 am mass at the Basilica di Santa Chiara.
Slight change of plan: I'm not going to Lourdes (I missed the train to go to Manoppello; I asked someone on the train if I was going the right way and he said no ... I turned around ... realized I *was* going the right way a half an hour later ... turned around again ... missed the train that would lead me to Manoppello by 10 minutes ... I spent the rest of the day near the train station "recalculating" ... one day lost) So, I'm going to Loreto instead (see more below). This way I can go from Assisi ... to Loreto ... to Manoppello ... to Rome.
Okay, here's some quick information on the trip so far (in REVERSE order) ...
* I heard that the most peaceful place on earth is here in Assisi. Well, not today. It looks like there was a high profile wedding going on (people actually use rice here; I didn't see many birds around thankfully). There was also some rally thing going on next to it with loud music. As I prayed at one of the churches, it was a bit distracting. Hopefully tomorrow, peace :)
* I have long legs. I didn't know you had to walk this far, and up this hill, to go to Assisi from the train station!
* On the way here, I had to stop by a train station in Foligno. I couldn't understand because everyone kept pronouncing it like "Foliņo". Then it struck me ... my last name from my Sicilian ancestor ... Foligno/Tigno ... Foliņo/Tiņo ... All this time, some people have tried to tell me that this is how you say it. I guess that's happens when you're part "Filipigno" (I hope you get it; probably more clever in my head than anything else ...)
* Oh ... the Lottomatica was right here in the train terminal (see below ... )
* Of all the churches I've been to, and only now I get to go to Mass! (Saturday morning) I tried (see below) ...
* Alright, why did I think that one pair of dress sox would do? (see more below)
(beginning of Saturday ... end of Friday ...)
* When in Rome, don't buy pizza from the guy who also sells falafel!
* I love walking aimlessly around asking for "Lottomatica" and having people point me further away from anything that looks remotely familiar ... well, I'm in Rome so nothing looks familiar.
* Google search ... "Lottomatica" (I have to charge my phone, I ran out of minutes talking to my sister-in-law about travel stuff; it is where I can charge my phone with more minutes).
* Wow, I missed the train to Manoppello, and look at how God works: I found a church with a stained glass image of the Holy Face (the supposed real veil is in Manoppello)! Who would have know this wandering around Bologna!
* Why is this military man approaching me? ... Oh, Mr. Military man, I saw a flag flying out of the window and I thought it would cool to photograph ... Oh, you want me to erase it? Well, you should have just told me that it wasn't that cool. (Theo "Tiņo" Tigno ... involved with an international incident because he thought a random flag hanging out of a window was "cool")
* Hmm ... so, this pastry tastes okay. Not all that different than I've had so far. I thought Fr. John said that Bologna had the best food (FYI: I was a the train stop "Bologna" ... NOT the city ... )
* Well, so I missed the train by 10 minutes?!?! That stinking ...
* "Excuse me, am I going right way?" ... "No, no, other way" (30 minutes earlier ... mental note: I really have compassion for the Japanese tourists I used to often see in Hawaii ... )
(beginning of Friday ... end of Thursday ... )
* Man, I got a blister on my right foot? I should change from sandals to shoes when I can (way to go with one pair of sox ... I used the sandals because I wanted to avoid taking a lot of sox).
* Alright, St. Therese, I asked a lot of times before for some roses to fall. There better be a vacancy here (there was ... at the Hotel Villa Delle Rose ... 1 block away from the church)
* (Looking at the large statue of Mary) Mama, I need some help. Can you point me where to go? (It helped that her hand was outstretched)
* "Oh, Pescara? The best option is to leave tomorrow morning?" (if I would have known that Manoppello was next to there versus pleading with the bus ticket person a few hours earlier, "what do you mean you can't find Manoppello? I don''t even live here and I can find it!" ... okay that second part was in my head ... )
* My sister-in-law is awesome! She deserves a beer for having to put up with a bumbling brother-in-law early in the morning (evening for me).
* "Really? No Manoppello?"
( ... alright, I speed things up here ... I know ... )
* I had lunch with the Emmanuel School in Rome (Dr. Clint Leonard's wife, Kathryn, served there for a year). They were very hospitable even though they weren't expecting me (I called to schedule a time; a woman told me to come on by ... I'm still very sorry ... ) I decided to go on their retreat. I was afraid that I would miss the things going on at the Vatican, but they were going to be there for the Chrism mass and Easter Sunday.
* St. Peter's ... am I really here?
* I wanted to go to mass at Santa Maria de Loreto. Unfortunately, I faked my Italian so good that the guy started having a conversation with me in Italian. The only thing I could discern was that the Monsignor was not available but to come back Friday. Who knew ... Loreto?
(beginning of Thursday ... end of Wednesday ... )
Alright, enough with the weird style of writing. I flew into Rome, took the train but I had no clue what was going on. Thankfully, I got out of him what I was suppose to get from him. In hindsight, now that I know the train system, he wanted me to go to the terminal (Termini) and take the train to St. Peters. What I thought happened was I missed something that said "Rome T(insert random characters here)." So, I got off of the train at the next stop and started walking. And walking. Then, at some point, I reached another train station. She tells me to take the bus and so I do. I was about 10 minutes on the bus away from signs that started pointing to St. Peter's (yes, you can see where this is going). I got off the bus, started heading for the first dome I see, and ... huh? You mean this isn't it?
The first church I went to was Santa Maria de Loreto. I prayed there for a while and left.
The rest of the day was spent going from church to church and looking at the wonderful artwork and architecture. It is amazing and after you've seen many of them, a bit numbing! Yet finally, after wandering the city chasing domes, I stopped chasing and found St. Peter's Basilica (cue the music). Apparently, I had missed the Wednesday audience (which I would have heard had I not left the bus seeing the signs that started pointing to St. Peter's Basilica!)
Story of my life ... if only I can turn down the enthusiasm / impulsiveness. I could probably be the next OxyClean guy ;)
On the first day is when I had the best food: the best pizza and the best gelato. All the other days after were ... okay.
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So at this point, I realized that my thoughts are just too strange, but hopefully, you have followed along so far.
(sent from iPad)