The churches of Rome.

This is not a travelogue per se, but the unedited emails I sent home using a Blackberry to friends and family while I was away.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Today started out on time. No sleeping in. I didn’t go to St. Peter’s for Mass as I had planned. Instead I decided to take a walk. For the first time on this trip I used my iPod for music rather than Frasier. I put it on shuffle and headed out. When the first song was Snoop Dog, I knew it was going to be a fun day. I did feel a little guilty drowning out the sounds of Rome with music. But I took the headphones off anytime I heard church bells. I can do without all the car horns and motorini.

I walked through Piazza Navona then visited San Luigi, Pantheon, Sant’Ignazio, Santa Maria Minerva, and the Gesu.

I spent a long time in each church which was nice. And Christina you’ll be happy to know I even pulled out the guide book and read it while I was looking like everyone else.

In San Luigi I had the Caravaggio chapel all to myself. Not that it’s usually packed. But it was nice to have time to look at the paintings.

At Santa Maria I was able to touch one of Michelangelo’s statues. Not his best work. But I doubt I’ll ever get to touch David or the Pieta. I also got to go right up to the altar where the rest of St. Catherine is.

Fr. Augustine wanted to have Mass at the tomb of Sant’Ignazio in the Gesu, but it’s not allowed. He had his first diaconate Mass there and thought it would be nice to be the priest this time. So I was disappointed about that.

Then I went to St. Mary Major. It was more crowded here but not too bad. I went into the adoration chapel for a little while. I had hoped to reserve the altar of the Holy Manger but found out it can only be reserved for 9 AM Masses. That doesn’t work for us this time. But, now I know.

Next I walked to Santa Maria della Vittoria. It was closed. I knew the hours. And thought it would be closed. But I tried anyway. On my way the song Two Losers came on and it took me over a minute of listening before I realized who it was. -Dad. Really good song.

Since today marked the halfway point of my trip I decided to have some good ole American food. Not McDonald’s but Hard Rock Cafe. A big cheeseburger, fries, and a Pepsi -well two out of three isn’t bad.

Then I came back to the convent. It took me a while to get in because the nun guarding the door (you have to be buzzed in) kept telling me they were full and to go somewhere else. I explained to her that I already had a room and it even had my stuff in it. She told me to try the convent next door. This went on for about 5 minutes. Did I mention that she speaks perfect English? Maybe I don’t. When I got in, I took a short nap.

Next I went to St. Peter’s. The place was empty. I had the Pieta to myself. It was also dark. I don’t think I’ve been inside there at night. I noticed a few different things. Art stuff I’d never seen before.

They kicked me out at 630. I sat in the piazza for another half hour. Then decided I was hungry. I needed to practice the walk to the Pantheon so I headed that way. When I got to Piazza Navona it was empty too. Just a few artisans selling their wares. It was actually kind of boring. The Bernini fountain is being cleaned so it’s all boarded up.

I walked back to a restaurant I had passed earlier. They sell salads. They had about 20 options. I had the Ricco Due. Rich version 2. The place is called Ricco Insalada. So all the salads are Ricco (rich) or Expensive. The names, that is. The prices are just normal. But the salad was great. Lettuce, tomato, carrots, corn, cucumber and ham. Odd thing for Rome. You don’t see many salads. And it was huge too.

Then I picked a phone card and called home.

Now I’m back in my room. Ready for bed. I have a really busy day tomorrow. I’m readjusting the Christmas itinerary. Only I don’t know how yet.

Until tomorrow…

Love you,

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