Friday, April 10, 2009

Cinque Terre and Turin

Greetings from Rome! I hope you are having a very special Holy Week and I pray that God blessed you and yours during the Easter season!!! I'm very thankful that I wasn't harmed by the earthquakes here in Italy. I'm also very thankful for all the blessings I have been given for this journey of my lifetime because it has been truly life changing. This past Monday, I went to Cinque Terre with my good friend Adam Trufant. We arrived at the station in Riomaggiore and as soon as you get off the train, all you see is ocean and cliffs. It was breathtaking. We hiked the "way of love" trail from each of the five towns and walked through each town experiencing the different characters of each. There were more Americans there than anywhere else I've been in Europe but it was still beautiful!! I don't know where to begin explaining this wonderful trip. The flowers along the trails we hiked were so beautiful and God blessed us with a sunny trip! Adam and I sampled the local foccacia, pesto, and pizza. The hike was along a trail made up of unending stairs of stone. By the end, my legs were like rubber. Most of the trail went along the coastline, sprinkled with surprise views of the towns from peaks above. I could never explain the glory of that place, you just have to go check it out yourself!! I have 3 facebook albums dedicated to the trip so make sure to check those out too. When we arrived in the fourth town, Vernazza, we got a hotel room with an ocean view terrace and just relaxed a bit before hitting the "town". All the towns were very small, Italian towns with wonderful shops. Vernazza is supposed to have the liveliest town so we decided to sleep there. Just after arriving, we took full advantage of the sunset and headed down to the shore where I read a little, had a delicious beer, and prayed a rosary among the rocky shoreline. It was a very peaceful experience. The next day, we explored Monterosso and had a little free lunch with a great tourist family that Adam met the night before. We bought some bread, cheese, salami, pesto (CT is where Pesto comes from) and Chianti, and had a picnic on a stone bench on top of one of the mountains. After a little nap and a visit to the Convent just above where we ate, we headed down to the beach. Of course we took advantage of the warm, sunny, Mediterranean day and immediately jumped in the ocean. The wet shorts made for a slightly uncomfortable 4 hour train ride to Turin, but it was worth it. When we started looking for a hostel in Turin, we got lost. It was divine providence though, since Don Bosco is Adam's patron saint. Don Bosco lead us to a Salesian school where we met a few Salesian priests. They took us in and fed us all sorts of delightful foods and showed us where the original grave of Don Bosco had been for 40 years, along with a beautiful church designed by Don Bosco. Keep in mind that they were Italian and were practicing their english, which made for fun conversation. Br. Pier loved to sing James Taylor and John Denver. They acted just like regular brothers do, trying to talk over each other and prove that they knew english. It was awesome!! They gave us a ride to the hostel where we got in trouble since it was already after check in time and the brothers were playing John Denver too loud :) What a night. On Wednesday, Adam and I explored the great town of Turin, which was clean, full of flowers, and home to Adam's favorite, Don Bosco. We spend around 2 hours in the "Mary, Help of Christians" church where Don Bosco is buried. It was a beautifully painted church! Very well kept by the Salesians. For lunch, we enjoyed some grilled swordfish and chilled white wine at a local restaurant and headed to a nearby square for some delightful pastries. Now I'm back in Rome, enjoying a wonderful Holy Week. Yesterday, I celebrated Holy Thursday with the Legionaries. It was a very moving service where Fr. Alvoro, the head of the Regnum Christi and Legionaries movement, celebrated the Mass. Tonight I'm heading back over to the Legionaries center to celebrate the Passion of Christ, followed by the Via Crucis with the Pope at the Coliseum. Tomorrow night, I'm going to the Easter Vigil with the Pope and hopefully we can get enough tickets for Sunday's celebration at the Vatican!!! God is awesome!! Happy Easter everybody!! I love you so much. God bless you and I'm praying for you. Peace be with you

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