Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Our last day in Rome started early; we were up, packed and at breakfast by 7:30 am. By 8:30 am we were on the bus #64 and headed for the Papal Audience at the Vatican. As I mentioned yesterday, we were fortunate and had very special tickets that put us up on the top level with the Pope. However, if you want to be in the front row…..you need to be there before 8 am so that you are first in line to run for the good seats! We’re too old for that and decided to be comfortable and not worry about where we were going to sit.
Arrived about 9; the tickets helped put us in a shorter security line and by 9:30 we were settled into seats that were in the back but along the fence that would allow us a good photo of the pope in the pope mobile as it ascended the ramp. There was a couple from Texas sitting behind us. They had gotten up at 2 am this morning to drive in from a mountain town in Tuscany; we enjoyed our visit with them and Elisa had a beautiful Nikon camera and promised to send me some of her photos. I took a photo of them catching a catnap as we waited….see the slideshow to meet them.
The program started at 10:30….and was expected to be over by 12:30 pm. We were seated right next to a large covered area that had chairs but was empty for a while but soon a youth orchestra arrived and a boy’s choir. We enjoyed the music…especially their rendition of “We Are the World”; while they were playing a large group of girls in our section sang with them and did a wave! Everyone was entertaining each other with spontaneous songs and cheers. I took some photos of the newlyweds across the way. If you’ve been married within six months you may wear your wedding dress and get special seating and recognition by the Pope. At 10:30 the pope mobile appeared for the journey down the aisles and then finally up the ramp to the podium.
We stayed for the first half of the program but had to leave early to return to the hotel and our ride to the airport hotel for our last evening. We’re at the Hilton Garden Hotel tonight and have repacked for our journey home tomorrow. We did a dry run this afternoon to terminal 5; our departure terminal, it was open but no one was there. All of the flights leave in the morning and they leave the terminal open and unstaffed in the afternoon….really strange.
For dinner we both had pizza in the restaurant here in the hotel. Struck up a conversation with people sitting next to us that are heading for the San Francisco Bay area tomorrow morning; we think our children may know each other….another small world experience.
Signing off until next June when we venture to Paris …. See you then…..