Day one in Rome at the Pantheon--2 hours sleep in almost 2 days, but still smiling.
Day 2 over looking the Roman Forum. The Mamertine Prison is nearby. Smith is feeling it.
Finally near the Coliseum! I thought he said it was only 10 miles!
Why did Michelangelo design so many steps up the Capitoline Hill? That horse starting to look real good. Do you think Castor would mind?
We made it to Rome with a little help from above. When we arrived in Denver we were informed that the plane from Brussels would be late. Our connection in DC was already to tight for comfort. We were bracing ourselves for an overnighter in the airport and missing a whole day in Rome--devastating prospect. We did not want to sleep on the floor in the Denver airport but even more we did not want Stephanie to suffer.
But somehow, someway...thank you Lord...we miraculously made the impossible. That enormous tailwind helped. We arrived in Rome about 20 some hours after getting out of bed in Medford, but it was only 8 AM in Rome. Tired but excited we roamed Rome on foot at full acceleration. 10 hours and who knows how many miles later (Piazza Navona, Four Rivers Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, etc.) we were whipped. Off to bed.
Up at 6 AM unless you were one of the joggers who went running at 5 AM. At 7 we're off to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel; next stop a tour of St Peters including 500 and some steps up the St Peter's cupola (dome). Next we walked along the Tiber river, had lunch in Campo de Fiori fruit, vegetable, and fish market, and off to Victor Emmanuel monument, Capitoline Hill, Roman ruins, Mamertine Prison where both Peter and Paul were incarcerated before their martyrdom. Erica read Philippians to us as we tried to imagine how Paul could write such words of joy in such a horrific place. Only God's presence could make this possible! Next we head to the Coliseum and then to the Scala Santa--these were the steps from Pilate's palace which Jesus walked up on his way to his trial. We ascended the steps on our knees, praying the Lord's Prayer on each step. What an experience!! These are the steps which a young Martin Luther climbed on his knees in order to get an indulgence for his family, but at the top he said, "I wonder if it is so."
Kayla, one of my advisors, prayed here way to the top of the staircase not expecting an indulgence, but expecting something special and deeply spiritual. She was not disappointed. She said, "Nothing that I experience in Europe will ever top this! To be on the same steps that Jesus walked on is way to the cross is truly amazing!
Later, in the evening, some of us hiked across the famous Tiber to have diner in the ancient quarter where the Roman slaves lived. This pizza and pasta were scrumptous (I think that's a word).
Tonight, I'm feeling sleep deprived, foot sore, sunburnt, chapped, red eyed, bone weary, and blessed beyond measure. The sheer joy of sharing this sacred pilgrimage with these amazing young men and women is absolutely priceless. What an amazing group of Christ followers. With all of the travel demands and jet lag, etc. I never heard a single negative word. I see the light and love of Jesus shining in them so beautifully.
Pictures coming the next time the internet is accessible and the connection adequate to download pictures in a time commensurate with our schedule and my patience..