Days 41 and 42 – Rome

The train from Fabriano gets increasingly crowded as we near Rome. We were lucky to board at Fabriano so we could sit down throughout the four-hour trip.

Once at Roma Termini,I stop at the second floor of the station to photograph the many tracks.

I find my monastery stay not far from the train station. Its stucco walls are embossed with religious scenes.

I must do a wash. There’s a place very nearby but Google directs me up and down stairs I don’t need to navigate.

The very busy washing place is run by a Chinese man. I’m grateful for his help. A Chinese laundry in Rome. No gettoni required.

My convent is right near the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four major basilicas in Rome.

I pop in although I have visited before. I forgot it holds scraps of wood from baby Jesus’ cradle. Lots of people draw near to photo the silver-covered relic.

Outside I’m somewhat surprised to see that the Vatican has succumbed to the lure of tourist dollars. Legend has it that in 358 AD the Madonna signified the place where the Basilica was to be built by causing snow to fall in summer. Now the miraculous event has sparked the creation of a gelato that tastes like fallen snow.

I never thought I would do it, but I am thrilled to be able to tour the Appian Way in a big golf cart. No long marches in the hot sun or e-bike falls for me.

On the way we pass the Coliseum.

The first mile marker on the Appian Way.

We visit the catacombs of San Sebastián. No photos allowed. As we descend deep into the earth, I have to ask myself “What was I thinking?”

We end up in a church where San Sebastian hangs from the ceiling. This church also holds his remains.

An altar of relics includes one of the arrows that punctured the saint.

Our guide Martin takes us to the Circus of Maxentius.

We also stop at the Tomb of Caecilia Metella.

On the way back we drive by the Aurelian Walls.

And the Pyramid of Cestius

All of the passengers except me get off near their hotel. The guide drives toward out initial starting point, but the roads are blocked for the annual Rome Gay Pride Festival.

Right in front of Santa Maria Maggiore and down the street from my convent/lodging, masses of LGBT celebrants have taken to the streets.

It is quite moving to see so many people taking pride in who they are. I love the dance music!

I’m glad the carousing does not last all night as I can hear it very clearly from my room.

I go up on the terrace to eat my salad for dinner. It is heavenly up here with a view to nearly all of Rome.

One of the nuns fusses over a table that has been reserved for a young man and his girlfriend. He’s going to ask for her hand and offer her a ring. All must be perfect for this romantic moment.

The light at sunset in Rome is magical.

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