Leadership, apparently, has its privileges. As “Group Leader,” I was told upon check in at the hotel that I would have an upper-floor room with a view of the Vatican. This is it! But, yes, that is the very top of the dome of St. Peter’s you can see between the drain pipe and the satellite dish. And this was taken with the zoom at its max.
Today we visited St. Paul Outside the Walls where Ignatius and his colleagues made their solemn vows (the ones they took earlier in Paris didn’t count in Church terms.) It is a magnificent church and restrained enough to be balm to my Presbyterian DNA. The Gesu tomorrow will be a different matter…
We then went to the Catacombs. Last year, it was as quiet as a grave (forgive me, I couldn’t resist…), but today there was one group of 275 German teenagers in front of us (with another 500 to follow) and many, many Chinese tourists, among others. Incidentally, our guide and the people at the hotel tell us that, since the election of Pope Francis, more people than ever have been flocking to Rome.
The rest of the group are out taking in the sights and I, guiltily, am taking a quiet afternoon in my room. I believe I should be out drinking in everything Rome has to offer, but what I really desire is peace, quiet and time alone.