This being my first "blog", I thought I would impart a few words on the Tour of the Shrines in Italy. Oct 6,2014 found my wife and I boarding a Lufthansa jet to Rome, Italy. The flight ,being in the afternoon, gave us time for supper, then a relaxed "movie", till it was lights out for sleep. We awoke to find our flight descending to the Frankfort Germany airport.
The two hours spent in Germany was too long, and too short. We could not leave the airport to sightsee, and of course, the airport wait was somewhat , too long. The second portion of the 2 1/2 hour flight was uneventful to Rome. All in all, a very smooth flight. This airline is tops. We arrived in Rome and after gathering our luggage, we boarded a bus to our hotel. On the way, I was told to look out the window, and to my amazement, I saw a free ranging pheasant in a small field surrounded by asphalt! This was the last thing I would have expected to see. Our first stop being the Mediaterranio Hotel, we got our rooms then on to supper.
The first "Shrine" was the Vatican. The museum was not what I was expecting. Mainly Egyptian artifacts, and so many. We also took in the "Sistine Chapel". The crowds were shoulder to shoulder and a real strain on one's neck. It was larger than I expected it to be, but, so much longer than one would expect a "chapel" to be. Preconceived notions often run amok. The next day found us at the Vatican again, for a "papal audience". One in 30,000 or so "audience. I did mange 8 well focused shots of the Pope from 45 feet or less, lucky me. The next 9 days was a whirlwind of activity. We toured the Abbey of Montecassino ,The Madonna del Rosario, in Campnia. At San Giovanni Rotundo, we saw "Abbey of Santissima Trinita". Down the road from there was "Monte Sant Angelo", and views of the Gargano Peninsula, the Grotto of Michael the Archangel, and then back San Giovanni Rotundo for Mass in sanctuary of Padre Pio .Along the Adriatic coast we travelled to the Marian Shrine of Loreto where the "Holy House of Nazareth" and the Madonna of Loreto is housed.Crossing the Apennine Moutains , we came to Assissi, the birthplace of Saint Francis. Upper Assissi was so enjoyable and the sights were arresting. We did the optional tour to Florence and visited some amazing sights. The street cafes, were the food was so good, and the people most enjoyable to watch. Back to Assissi, we toured the St.Mary of the Angels Basilica were St.Francis spent most of his life. included were the Chapel of the Poziuncola, the rose bush, and the cave were St.Francis prayed. Church of St.Clare is the site of the Order of Poor Clares, were poverty and humility on the order of St.Francis was observed and lived.
Mass was celebrated in many of the sites , and this gives a whole new meaning for many, a "Holy experience".