Day 2 – walking pilgrimage of Rome

Rome never disappoints. This is our third visit to Rome but our first in late summer. The weather is superb. Nestled among fruit trees and suburbia our residence caters for school groups and pilgrims. The rooms are solid and cool. Breakfasts and dinners are served down stairs on long tables where we can all be together and chat. The food needs its own special post – stay tuned!

Catching two buses we arrived in the heart of Rome. We fast tracked the Colosseum, the Ruins and the infamous “white wedding cake” monument to fascism. Ascending via the Michelangelo designed steps we actually came across three brides, also resplendent in white making their way to a civil ceremony! Such a contrast with the old and the new. (Flavia)

The Vatican was our major focal point. Entering St Peter’s Square our group was amazed at the sheer size and artistic merit that virtually all of Rome possesses. One of the group commented on ‘ they enjoyed the surprise factor’ of a monument, fountain or statue that predates our country by several hundred if not a thousand years. Unfortunately, if we look to the future of the Eternal City, will the impact of the motor vehicle and the millenium have a direct bearing on the ancient place still very much locked into the golden age of civilization?

The group processed to Castel D’Sant Angelo and then onto the piazza Navona and it’s great Fountain. Our group really tried hard to do their own ordering of lunch in Italian. Gelati, pizza and soft drinks seemed popular. We made one vendors day, having him curl out names in silver wire for a respectable 7 euros a name. Over 15 finished pieces later he stopped probably content with the fact that we chose the piazza for lunch that day.

In the afternoon it was on to the Pantheon, St.Catherine’s Basillica and the Trevi fountain. The group really enjoyed the surprise factor and was amazed at the size and grandeur of these places. One shock of the day was a young beggar wearing nothing but a
torn black cape asking for money. His appearance in the church didn’t seem to worry the local patrons .

At St Peter’s before we attended Mass, one priest was concerned though about the fashion choice of some visitors, ushering a few out. Our group were spared this as we applied great decorum and appropriate dress sense in all church visits. It seems the church in Rome are protecting these sacred places of worship at a new level of reverence. Our group really demonstrated the values of a fine establishment especially at St. Peters where security and conformity paralleled the summer tans of the end of a beautiful summer. Skin is in, was it ever out! (Col)







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Day One – en route to Italy

Our group successfully managed to navigate the labyrinths of two mega airport hubs, endure the unflattering pastiness of jet lag and enjoy the new experiences and benefits associated with air travel in the 21st Century. They all bring their own individuality and their own apprehensions to such an undertaking. What has surprised me is how well travelled most of them are!

Dubai airport always fascinates. It hosts a cultural blend to which we, as Australians, are not often exposed. The rich flowing kaftans, the dark chocolate colourings, the endless duty free glitter and the faint exotic taunt of the mystical near Middle East, are hard to ignore.

It is only then that we start to feel that Rome, the official start of our adventure, is suddenly attainable at only six hours away.

Our tour leader Marisa is exceptionally calm, organized and a passionate aficionado of all that is travel. She effortlessly instructs us on the nuances of each place and placidly ferries us from gate to gate. Already she has met four ex colleagues who have cited her as their inspiration for travel to “la Bella Italia”!




As you can tell we have arrived!