Paris Disneyland

Okay.  It really feels like we’ve been on three different trips here.

First, the two week France leg with Sister.  Then, the twelve day pilgrimage leg in Italy with Father and Friends.

Then, yesterday, back in Paris and a full full day in Paris Disneyland.

The short version of Paris Disney.  For true Disney-aficionados, I think there may be two aspects to Disney.  Firstly, the “checked that off my list, went to Paris Disney” which may be a life goal.  This was not the case for us, we just thought it would be a good wind up of a hard-core historical, cultural, spiritual four weeks away - “because it was there.”  Secondly, Disney fans may simply be disappointed in the lacking features - Tiki Room, entertainment, Jungle Cruise. Some rides were better.  There’s more space.  A couple of spots to lay down and sleep.

And it was fun!  We just did the Magic Kingdom portion of the parks, checked out our favourite rides/areas.  Some were better, some things were lacking.  We definitely felt …

next leg

Thursday night we had a farewell dinner with our pilgrims.  Italian music, Italian food, Italian wine.  Tears.  Hugs.  Toasts.  It was good.

And sad.

Most of the pilgrims were off for home.  Like us, sore muscles, full brain, spiritually shored up and a mitt full of new friendships.

We “slept in” (this is a new relative term, as so many days of our pilgrimage started with a “5”), and our flight from Rome back to Paris was around 2 pm.  We strapped ourselves in (FYI, we flew Vueling Air, leg room, spacious, lovely staff, nicest local airline we’ve ever experienced) I was asleep before take off and didn’t wake up until two hours later, descending into Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris.

We are staying the next two nights in France’s version of a cheap, big chain style hotel:  Ibis.

There are three single beds in each room, put side by side with no room between them.  Butted up on one wall, and inches to spare on the other.  Beds are comfy, water is hot.  We are tired and it really d…

thoughts on Rome from the gate D5, airport

Four days in Rome is not enough.  And more than enough.  Rome is big, busy, noisy, crazy and fabulous.  It would take weeks and weeks to explore all its history, food and cultural treasures.  And wine.  And, newly discover, tortufo.  Woah.

We explored churches yesterday, Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Pudenzia, St. John Laterani, the Holy Stairs and the Pantheon.

The Holy Stairs.  These are the stairs lead to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate.  The stairs were where Christ walked to his trial during his passion.  Brought to Rome from the Holy Land in the first centuries of Christendom, the stairs were installed near the seat of Peter, the Cathedral of St. John at the Lateran.  Pilgrims have traveled there for hundreds of years.  The 27 marble stairs, due to wear, were covered with wooden planks in the 1700’s.  Pilgrims visit the stairs daily.

A restoration project began recently and the stairs are exposed for the first time since 1750.  There are stains on some of the steps from the bl…

The last time I blogged, three days ago, we were spending our last night in Assisi.

From Assisi we headed toward Rome and on the way...well, not very on the way...but headed in that general direction - we spent time in both Orvieto, fondly nicknamed Cutesville by me... (UNBELIEVABLE), and town clung to a cliff that created a natural fortress since the time of the Etruscans and a beautiful little lakeside town called Balsena not too far from Orvieto.

These two town are connected by the Eucharist Miracle housed in Orvieto, but that actually occurred in Balsena.

We arrived in Rome in the evening, our hotel rooftop patio overlooks the dome of St. Peter’s basilica.  The next morning we had Mass at the side chapel at St. Peter’s devoted to Pope St. John Paul II  -  his tomb is there, just.  Wow.

And, sadly, blogger is not letting me post photos, so I’ll put them on my FB page after I post this.

St. Peter’s was quiet after Mass as it was quite early, and so we had an hour or so to appre…

Siena and parties in the piazza

We made a day trip from Assisi today to Siena.  It was pretty epic, because Siena is epic - but historic and even more epic as well because we were at the very spot where we met Fr. D and his tour group six years ago.  We made a celebratory picture and were grateful for that moment because it’s why we’re here now.

After we got back to Assisi in the late afternoon, had some strolling time and aperitivi, we had a lovely dinner at our hotel.  It’s a small, upscale little hotel, the staff is remarkable.  Unfortunately, here in the 32 degree weather, their AC systems are not working well.

To make compensation, they gave us free wine.


After dinner, party in the piazza.

down time

Today was a really special day.  I was kinda sick with a head cold, and Lydia needed a rest day, so we stayed in Assisi for today while most of the group went off to Cascia and points holy.

So Lydia and I meandered from church to church, prayed, napped, did quiet stuff in our room.  Ate gelato.  Had a chance to ponder some of what we are doing and what we’ve seen and experienced.

Italian country side here in this area is remarkable.  Cheese, beef, pork, and more cheese is very “local” - they take great pride in their local production and and cuisine.  I’ve seen a couple of farmers sheering a sheep in their yard, women collecting eggs, families working in their fields, or little shops or vineyards.  It’s very beautiful.

It’s cherry season here, and apricot season - and they are fabulous.

With our pilgrimage group, we have stayed in boutique hotels with lots of character, breakfast and lunch is provided.  One of the goals of our pilgrimage guide is to have the hotels provide us with…

catch up time

Okay.  So much has happened that I think I just need to do point form.

Miracle at Offida (Offida is about 2.5 hours East of Assisi, near the Adriatic, such a beautiful medieval town.
Arrival at Assisi and Santa Maria dell’Angeli
Mary of the Angels
Portiuncula of Saint Francis, a little hut where he lived
Statue of Saint Francis in the Rose Garden

Our arrival in Assisi was spectacular. It is as beautiful as I remember.   35 degrees Celsius...
We are staying in a hotel that is a 500 year old building, looking onto a small square and backing onto a little church.

Today we take a walking tour of Assisi, starting at 7:45 am to beat the heat.

Francis, we prayed and lit a candle for you today at the spot where Francis prayed and where he knelt and died.

Tonight I’ll try to get down some thoughts down while wifi is good and perhaps I’m not too tired...?