To Rome - Feb 4
We go to Lauds with the sisters in the morning. Petra is moved by the benediction that praises all of creation one thing at a time on this beautiful morning. "Praise all the mountains, praise all the rivers, praise all the fields, praise all the heavens, praise all trees, ...." Then we have a good breakfast before leaving the Centro de Spiritualita. Thanks, Sisters.
As we leave the convent we realize that we will be walking streets the entire 14 kilometers (8.5 miles) to the Vatican today. It is not the most pleasant outlook. But in retrospect at the end of the day, it is not so bad. Many of the streets have some kind of shoulder to walk on. And where they are not there, we are numb enough to the closeness of the cars by now that we walk, if not easily, at least with little trepidation.
A sheep field on the edge of Rome.
We follow Via Trionfale from just outside La Storta all the way to the Vatican. (Is this the way the triumphant Roman armies paraded into Rome after their great military victories?) In a few kilometers we pass the city sign "Roma." We have made it. But there is still a long way to walk and to our surprise there are still a lot of fields and animals inside the city limits.
We have arrived in Rome.
In time we arrive at Mellani Park, called Monte della Gioia in Italian by the VF people, copying the Monte de Gozo (Mount of joy) on the Camino de Santiago a few kilometers out of Santiago. It is the first place that the pilgrims can see their goal, the Cathedral of Santiago in Spain and St. Peter's here. We have really arrived now. The park gives us a beautiful panorama of the city. The sun shins brightly in an almost cloudless sky and we walk in shirtsleeves. Thanks for a wonderful day.
And here on the wall they write joy in Latin, Gaudio.
A joyful one on the Monte de Gioia.
We take a quick pass through St. Peter's Square after coming in along the huge north Vatican wall. But it is time to shed our backpacks. Last night Petra booked a room at the Teatine Sisters at their Casa Mater Ecclesiae. It is nice to have a place already picked out this time and not to have to go searching for a place to stay. We climb up Monte del Gallo west of the Vatican and get a delightful room complete with a balcony with a view of St. Peter's and beyond back to Monte della Gioia where we came in. It is a clean enjoyable hotel rather empty now but booked up for the late Lent and Easter seasons. We are still doing well with our timing.
With our goods stowed, we head back to St. Peter's for Sunday Mass. Things are different these since the advent of the world of terrorism. Now we have to go through a metal detector in order to enter the church. And I forgot to leave my wonderful, French pocketknife back in the room. I have to leave it under a column outside and it is not there when I return later to retrieve it.
What can I write about St. Peter's? It is huge. It is filled with wonderful gargantuan art and sculpture of the major players of the Renaissance. It is a feast for the eyes, for all the senses. Thousands of people wander mouths agape staring up, down, and, around. We go to the front, past a barrier and into the front wing of the church where five or six hundred are waiting. Soon a cardinal and three priests come out to the accompaniment of an Italian choir and Mass begins.
In the evening we go The Ostaria dei Pontifici, a good neighborhood restaurant recommend by the sisters. Wonderful food and prices much lower than what the usual Roman tourist pays.
The Ostaria dei Pontifici, a good restaurant.
La Storta 3 Feb Contents Rome 5 Feb
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