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Rome and the Holy Land Study Trip - Welcome to Rome!

12/4/2012

Welcome to Rome!  We departed last night from JFK around 5 pm, and flew through the night to land in Rome at 9 the next morning.  We were just getting close to Italy as the sun rose and were able to get a few beautiful pictures of the small islands just off of the coast.  It took another two hours to successfully navigate the bus system (avoiding scamming taxi's) and get on the "tube" (while avoiding the pickpocketing kids).  Along the way we saw several old ruins, including several sections of the old Aqueduct that roads now simply go right through. 

For those who have never been in Rome, there are only two lines for the subway so it was not too complex to get pointed toward our rented apartment.  The stops along the way read like a page out of a world history book....the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus, St. Paul's and the list goes on.  It's amazing how this city has evolved around these pieces of history and that the people think nothing of walking by a building that is thousands of years older than our country.  We were all relieved to finally arrive at our flat and though we felt like it was time for a siesta we instead decided to push through the jet lag and visit St. Paul's Basilica, a 10 minute walk down the street.

Catholic tradition says that a memorial was erected after Paul's death, and that St. Peters sits on top of his very sarcophagus.  The site is now marked by one of the largest churches in Rome.  Murals and statues adorn every wall of the church, and under the alter lies an open vault displaying what is rumored to be the sarcophagus of Paul.  Whether or not this really is where Paul was laid to rest, this church was absolutely stunning in its grandeur, detail and beauty.

Tonight the plan is to enjoy some good pasta (we found an inexpensive local supermarket with amazing looking food) and then get some much needed rest.  On tap tomorrow: the Coliseum, the Forum and many other sites from the golden era of Rome.

-Stay tuned.