Monday, October 11, 2010

Leaving Rome

It's 7:40.  The Shuttle arrives at 8. Laura's just doing the last packing in her bag.  I've got my shirt to put on. Last thing so I don't spill something on it right off.  I've made coffee in the room. I was woken to bells. Laura says they sound every hour.  I slept well then.  British Airways to Heathrow then 4 hour wait till the 9 hour flight  back to Vancouver, Canada.
Asked what were the highlights, I'd have to say to begin with Westminster Abbey in London.  I also liked Parliament and Big Ben.  Returning to Picadilly Circus after so many years and remembering being 20 there was a bit of nostalgia considering my grey beard in a shop window.  The Scotch House Steaks were the best meal because it was so rainy and we were so tired and hungry. Laura loved Buckingham Palace and the boat ride on the Thames.
Milan was a great conference. International Doctors in Addiction Medicine put on a good show. I really enjoyed the lectures.  Laura and I loved the gala dinner and opera concert. What would Italy be without opera.  Then there was the most amazing Cathedral and Galleria at the downtown square Duoma.  We were simply blown away by it's grandeur, beauty and size.  The shopping, even just looking at the fashions, was a joy in Milan too. All the people were so friendly and it really seemed that everyone spoke English.
Rome was spectacular. Hotel Mondial, Best Western was a joy and a safe friendly retreat from days of walking and sight seeing. St. Peter's Basilica was surely the highlight.  Then the Vatican Museums Tour was a close second. Stumbling on the Colosseum at night was a find. Then there was Spanish Stairs. Laura was so happy to sit on them after first seeing them in her guidebook. I loved that Keats had a house there.  I loved best renting a Vespa and driving out to St. John Lateran with Laura. That Minerva, Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Paul's outside the wall were the churches that most caught our breath after St. Peters. Worshipping in Rome, sitting quietly in prayer, contemplating life and death in the midst of this fast paced city was something else. So many places for solitude and reflection. Imagine three grand churches along the length of Robson Street and it might capture something of what we experienced. 
I love Roma.  The Vatican is fabulous. The food was great.  It's hard to leave.  Family, friends, Gilbert the dog, Angel and Tiffany the cats, and of course work all wait. I'm looking forward to the new world beauty of Vancouver.  I'm so ever grateful though that we could make this journey and pilgramage.  Praise be to God. Thank you Jesus.,

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