Sunday, September 29, 2013

Italy ~ Day 7 & 8

The first morning in Bellaria, I went for a run and I kept wishing I had my camera with me.  So this last day before leaving I went for a walk along the same route, this time with my camera.  As I went, I snapped photos of things that caught my eye...that is, until my battery died about a quarter of the way into it.  Oh well.

 We were meeting the rental truck drivers at 9AM.  They came with an empty truck, but we had a huge pile of stuff.  Amazed, we watched as the men put the puzzle together and made everything fit.

 Then we hit the road for the 4ish hour trip from Bellaria to Rome.  Such a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

 As we got off the highway and closer to the church, we went through some rough sections of Rome.  The usual poverty scene, but poorer than I see here in CT.  The hopelessness of it washed over me.  My go-to "why God?", "why me?" questions came rapid-fire.  I just cannot wrap my mind around all the suffering and pain in this world.

God, why do you allow all this pain and chaos in the world?  Why me?  Why do I get to be among those who can turn on the faucet at will and have clean drinking water anytime?  Or can count on a roof over my head every night?

I spend most of my time wrapped up carefully in my middle-class American life, so the reality of how things really are hits hard when I choose to be faced with it.

We turned the corner onto the street where the church is.  You can barely see a white sign hanging there on the left.  Wow...what a location!
 We met the pastor and the guys ironed out some logistics as we waited for the truck.

Yes, THIS is the stage.  It was a little shocking to walk in and see it.  But, Shaun and Brent had visited this church last year when they came to scope it out, so they already knew it would work...somehow.

 Once the truck was unloaded, we went to the hotel to get checked in, then we met out in the lobby to join our group, a medical team that had just arrived for the week and the pastor and his wife.

The medical team was from a church in Florida and they came to give medical attention to the church members and to the homeless who are regularly served at the church.

The pastor and his wife have lived in Italy pastoring International Christian Fellowship for the last 10 years.  They speak Italian and know the city well, so they were out tour guides for the evening.

We got bus passes and the pastor's wife put a healthy fear in us about the many thieves, mostly gypsies, who are master pick-pocketers and explained how to keep our valuables safe.

After a short, sandwiched! ride, we were in a hub of activity, full of beautiful buildings and cobbled streets.

 This street was so scary to cross that I could only laugh.  There are cars coming from different directions, no crosswalks with the accompanying "walk" signal.  Our guides taught us to just step out as a group and the cars WILL stop.  Yeah, three feet from my leg and not for very long!

 We all had a buddy and hung on tight!

 This was Mussolini's palace.  He and Hitler appeared on this balcony together.
 Pastor Michael

 We went to an Italian restaurant (duh!), our first non-conference food of the week.  No one ordered rabbit.  Hmmm....

 Trevi Fountain at Barberini Square....mobbed with people, much like Times Square.

 The next day, after a kickin' (free!) breakfast at the hotel, we met up with Justin, our tour guide.  He is a missionary in Italy and supports himself by giving tours.  Highly recommend him!

 After some walking, buses, and trains, we arrived at the Vatican!  See that line of people?  It was wrapped all around the building!  We already had tickets, so we walked right up.

 Thought to be the original Laocoon, from first century AD!  The muscles, veins, rib cage....amazing details that made it seem almost life-like.

 This is the map room.  What was incredible to me is that they were created in the 1500's and were/are 80% accurate.  What?  How??

 Then we went through Raphael's rooms, who designed all of it but actually painted little of it because he died at 27.

 Then we went through the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's life's work for more than four years.  Pictures are forbidden and that policy is strictly enforced, so I just snapped pictures in my head.  It was surprisingly small in size but completely breathtaking and moving.
 Then we went to St. Peter's Bisilica, the world's largest church and where Peter's remains were once buried.  The opulence of it would not even compute.
 (Brownie points for Avery at school. :)

 Shaun, ever a student.  His questions were so high-end, I think most got an "I don't know" response.  :)

 So much gelato!  Justin says this place right outside the Vatican is the best place in town.

 More trains.  :)
 These walls, still standing!  were around the old city of Rome.

These are the holy Sainted Steps, believed to be the stairs that Jesus climbed to see Pilate and still have blood stains.  So holy, in fact, that if you climb them, it has to be on your knees.  I opted for the stairs on the side that can be climbed in a more traditional manner.

Onto St. John Biscilica (the old Vatican)
 Jesus is in the middle, with the 12 disciples on either side of him.


As soon as we got back to the hotel, Shaun and Brent left to work at the church.
 I stayed with Avery so she could get some sleep, but first we picked up a snack at a nearby fruit stand.

 (Our room here was huge compared to the one in Bellaria.)


Meg A. said...

Your photos of Rome!!! Swoon-worthy! I loved St. Peter's, so grand, so beautiful. Looks like an amazing time!

Melody said...

Amazing! Love reading/seeing your experience there.

The Bug said...

WOW - these are amazing pictures! I think my favorite is the one of Avery in front of that huge door :)

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Amy said...

WEIRD to go through your pictures now! LOVED the shot of Avery in front of the green doors!

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