Italian Memories

Saturday, June 4, 2005 - written by Pat Pigee

We woke up at 6:00....6:30 official wakeup call got us up, then we got another message informing us that we were to wear our yellow shirts. This alters my wardrobe selection for the day. We had a nice breakfast in a room full of tourists--Greg finds bacon and eggs hidden on the very back wall which makes Howard happy...I buy water from the bar to fill my plastic bottle- then Domenico tells us that the driver has water available to buy and cheaper too, yeah! The day is sunny and warm, We get into the line for entering the Vatican.

Waiting in line at the Vatican.

We were fortunate to meet a lovely young couple from Canada to chat with while waiting. This really helped keep my mind off the two hour wait. Our new tour guide was excellent! Giovanni was knowledgeable, funny and quite clear with his instructions. I realized a lifelong dream today...I saw the Sistine Chapel and the Pieta. I was extremely grateful to have the chance to see it, also I was grateful that we wore our yellow shirts, it made it easy to follow and keep track of where our group was. Finally at 2:00 we sat in the shade, on a ledge of a building in St. Peter's Square and ate our cold sandwich, brought from the breakfast bar, and it tasted so good...we were so hungry! It was a very pleasant surprise that there were three escalators to ride on our way back to the bus.

St. Eustachio

After a short nap, shower, and a change of clothes we were off to the restaurant for dinner. We walked quite a long way from the side of the Victor Emmanuel monument where the bus left us off. The dinner was good, but all of us were disappointed by missing out on tiramisu for desert. This was offset by the surprise at finding free water bottles on each table. After dinner we were off on another long hike to the church where we were to sing. The inside was small and beautiful, the church caretaker was very friendly but adamant about protecting the large wooden ornate candlesticks on either side of the altar, which he said came from the 1500s. Once we finished the concert he was visibly relieved that they had survived our exposure. Everyone, especially the Priest and caretaker, seemed very impressed with our performance and they took the time to thank us all personally.

I thought that gesture was very touching and a nice finale to a long day and another long walk back to the bus at the Victor Emmanuel monument. (was this a 10,000 step day? YES, I do believe it was!)

the previous day

the next day

 

touching the spirit... enriching us all