London. Roma. Positano.
The past seven days have been magical.
It's not often that I get to see my family and I am savoring the few moments I have with them.
In London, we saw two West End musicals, Billy Elliot and Mary Poppins. We went on the bus tour of London to see all the sights. We took a boat ride to Greenwich and I existed the west and east hemisphere, AT THE SAME TIME!! It was amazing. The museum choreographs the history of naval advancement and the development of keeping time.
In Roma, we went to San Pietro, Trevi fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navrona, Il Gesu, the Forum among others. We had a marvelous guide that took us around San Pietro and the Vatican Museum. While in the Vatican, specifically the Sistine Chapel, she talked to her friend, the head curator (who answered the phone "Cappella di Sistina" (You know you're high up when you answer the phone "Cappella di Sistina") and arranged for us to tour the Crying Room (the Sistine Chapel is where they elect the pope, the Crying Room is right next to it). The Crying Room is where the newly elected pope is taken, fitted into vestment (there are three sizes, of course, for different body styles), allowed to briefly pray and collect himself, and then whisked off to the balcony of San Pietro to give his Urbi et Orbi blessing. It was truly remarkable to see where it all happened while the memories of Benedict's election were still very fresh in my mind. He also showed us some adjoining rooms where there were some vestments of previous popes, various instruments, the keys to the Jubilee Doors, and the desk Cardinal Ratzinger used to vote for a new Pope, including his Bible, note board, pen, ballot and directory. It was an amazing, grace-filled experience.
We're now in Positano. Positano is one of the small cities on the Amalfi coast. It is literally built into the size of the hill. Buildings are stacked atop buildings and the windy two lane roads are only suited for one vehicle at a time.
The Italians are wonderful. I spent one year studying Italian but unfortunately retained close to nothing. They are quick to recognize that you speak English, speak it back to you, and are very warm and welcoming.
I am very lucky to be here. Very few people have gotten the same opportunities I have. What will come next? As the Beach Boys say: "Only God Knows."