We are 3 days in and this is my first real update. Even it will be abbreviated.
We’ve been so busy, and the internet so slow, that it’s been hard to get anything done.
So, here’s a summary of the trip…
At 11:00 PM, I get a call from the bus company saying there is a problem with the bus. And by bus, they mean the bus that is picking up the group from the airport in 9 hours. They can get another, but it will be later because tomorrow (Tuesday) is a national holiday, the Festa della Repubblica.
Wouldn’t be a big deal except that we are going to straight to Assisi!
After spending a few minutes looking for other bus options, and realizing that it was nearly midnight the day before a holiday, I decided to look at the train. So, I checked the train schedules and found a train that perfectly fit our schedule. Then I went to bed.
I went straight to Termini (train station) and booked the tickets. Then I took the Leo Express to the airport.
The flight was delayed by 30 minutes. Only 3 people checked luggage! Even still it took a while to get it. Once everyone was out, I explained the bus situation – and they were excited! I mean who wouldn’t want a train ride through Umbria?
Timing was perfect and we got to the Leo Express just minutes before it was leaving. One of the girls lost a shoe getting on the train, and I, the humble guide, jumped down onto the tracks and retrieved it. When I gave it to her, she said, she would have left it. The things I do! – Don’t get me wrong, she was grateful.
Then to Termini. A quick snack and it was off to Assisi.
Most slept. They were lucky we were on a train. I NEVER would have let them nap on the first day otherwise!
As we arrived in Assisi, I called ahead and arranged for pick up from one of my usual drivers. He zipped us to Hotel Umbra in just a few short minutes.
After freshening up, we headed out to San Rufino, the Cathedral of Assisi. We saw the font where both Francis and Clare were baptized. The footprints left by the ‘mysterious pilgrim’ and the replica of the San Damiano cross.
From here it was down the hill to Santa Chiara. I quick view of the valley below and then into the basilica. We prayed in front of the real San Damiano cross and at the tomb of Saint Clare.
Then back up to Piazza del Comune and a visit to Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Having a Latin teacher with me is awesome. She pointed out something I had never noticed. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, and the inscription about Mary in the church says Mary is the seat of wisdom. I never put it together. And, of course sopra, means over. – I already knew that one.
Some free time before dinner.
During the break, I went up to the roof of the hotel and shot a packing video with my new Zuca. Will try to post soon.
Then dinner. Cheese and spinach ravioli. Pork and potatoes. Eggplant. Chocolate mousse. Then, off to gelato! And ‘combo’ was born. We had an unofficial gelato stop earlier and everyone got just one flavor. So, I told them that they should get at least two at once. So, one of the guys told the lady at the gelateria he wanted a combo. There were hand signals and all. Very funny. Video soon. I’m sure we are the only ones who will get it, but it still needs to be preserved.
End of day one.