Got our first ever upgrade!
We started the morning leaving the beauty of Assisi behind and heading toward Rome. But first, espresso!
We arrived in Rome and immediately went to Vatican City to get the lay of the land and put together an attack plan for tomorrow morning. Apparently even sweet, little nuns get nasty when it comes to getting good seats to see the Pope. I may die laughing if I see a nun elbow someone to take their spot!
The square is set up with blocks that the Swiss Guard will open up one at a time. Apparently, you scramble to grab seats, hopefully on the perimeter, so that you are in place when the Pope rides by. You bring any religious articles with you that you want blessed by the Pope.
We have to get up at 5:30 in the morning just to get out there in time. The Pope arrives in his Pope-mobile at approximately 9:30. He will circle the crowd and then drive to the front where he will go to the podium and give his message for that week.
I am super excited because I thought we would only get to see him wave from a window of his apartment.
After our strategy session in Vatican City we headed to “St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.” The Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Paolo fuori le Mura), commonly known as St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, is one of Rome’s four ancient, Papal, major basilicas, along with the Basilicas of St. John in the Lateran, St. Peter’s, and St. Mary Major.
Constantine I erected the basilica on the site of Saint Paul’s tomb and it was significantly extended by Theodosius I from 386, into what is now known as Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls. During the 4th century, Saint Paul’s remains, excluding the head, were moved into a sarcophagus. Paul’s tomb is below a marble tombstone in the Basilica’s crypt, at 4.5 ft below the altar. The tombstone bears the Latin inscription PAULO APOSTOLO MART (“to Paul the apostle and martyr”).
Legend relates that, when St Paul was decapitated, his head bounced three times and fountains miraculously sprang up at each place where it touched the ground. The fountains were sealed in 1950 because pollution made it dangerous to drink the water.
After Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls” we went to our hotel to get checked in. The Italians control the power usage of hotel guests by requiring a room key be in the power box so that the electricity only runs when you are in the room. Our room however had no power no matter what we tried. We tried the A/C and instead of getting a breath of cool air, we got a burnt electric scent.
We called down to the front desk and they sent up a maintenance man who did not speak any english. He banged on the power box and the power came on and he went to the A/C unit, said “no workee,” proceeded to open the window and said “is ok.” He then walked out the door. We called back down to the desk and they sent him back, but this time it was to collect us and our belongings. He took us to the top floor of the building and put us in a king suite with an amazing view!