I was awake at 5:30 am and by 6:30 we were walking down to see what was happening outside; we didn’t have to go far…only to the overlook a block from our B&B.Pope Francis was scheduled to arrive at 7:45 am; but not scheduled to be at the Basilica until 10:20 am. Everyone had to have a ticket to enter the area; and they were very hard to get!
We headed back to the B&B for our 7:30 am breakfast and then with rain ponchos on we headed back to the area we knew we could get into without a ticket. It was sprinkling lightly off and on for several hours.
Since our B&B is within the walls we didn’t have to show one to get in but all day long the We jollied the police and would move a bit but soon were back in our spot. The Italians gave us a thumbs up for hanging in and not leaving. Finally, at 10:15 am the pope mobile arrived and Pope Francis was easy to see down in front of the entrance to the Basilica. By 10:30 we decided it was time to walk back to our B&B as the Mass was starting and there was no way we could see any of it; so back to the B&B to watch it on our television. The television televised the events all day long but all of the commentary was in Italian!
About 11:30 am we decided to walk back out to get some lunch. We purchased some sandwiches and continued walking down Via San Francesco towards the Basilica and found that we were able to get standing room very near to the far side of the grassy area. Suddenly Mary said, “they’re giving out communion…shall we” and we looked at each other and said “Yes”. There were at least thirty monks giving out communion to the crowds of people standing on the grass area; and we were fortunate enough to also receive communion during the Mass that Pope Francis said at the Basilica. You’ll see in the slideshow that people were leaving through a break in the hedge; the gardeners are going to have lots of work to repair the hedge and grassy area!
A great thing happened during; the owner arrived with a DSL cable and I finally had internet on my laptop! Mary has no way to connect her Ipad so she is limited but has mine to use when necessary.
About 5 pm we decided to head out for some dinner; but first we walked to the Cathedrale Di San Rufino. About a block away is the magic little spot in the road where the students from Chili had shown us how to get on the wifi. Soon Afterwards we found a pizza place and then walked back towards the Basilica with our pizza. When we finished we notice there were no trash cans anywhere. We’d noticed this yesterday also. When we stopped by our owner’s shop; he took our trash for us and said that the city had put away all of the normal trash containers while the Pope was in town! He laughed and said “we” meaning the shop keepers, “have to eat the trash”! He explained where the yearly market it tomorrow and also about the lights tonight. We’d also enjoyed a treat of gelato caramel and lemon…a great mix we’ve found.
We continued walking towards the Basilica and then continued down and around to the bus stop. There we found a curving road heading down that gave us great views of the Basilica with its lights on. Continuing down we found the street of names; people pay a fee and can put a name on a brick that lines this path that takes you down to the parking areas. We walked all the way down and enjoyed the views of the city lights.
Then we had to walk all the way back up; we played a game and challenged each other with frequent stops along the way. It was much longer going up than down but the views were worth the effort.
By 8 pm we were back in our rooms after a last stop to hear the bells of the Basilica and a final photo plus a wonderful video that I’ve pasted on Facebook. Sorry…it’s too long for the blog to handle. The last thing we saw was a woman newscaster that we’d seen early this morning. She and her crew were waiting for the bells to stop ringing so she could give her final report for the television. Just after we arrived in our room; we saw her on television and knew that it was taped minutes after we saw her.
Hope you enjoy the slideshow: