We arose bright and early (like, 5 am...but consider that we'd all crashed at 6 pm the night before) on day 2, because Fr. Jeremy had the privilege to celebrate Mass on the tomb of Pope Blessed John Paul II!
We got to see the Vatican and St. Peter's Square for the first time. For me, it was totally love at first sight. I have to say, St. Peter's is my absolute favorite place in all of Rome.
After that, we headed into Father's favorite place to eat...Tavola Calda, right around the corner from St. Peter's Square.
I have a lot of Coke-lovin' sisters (and a Coke-adorin' mom...), so I took a lot of pictures of Italian Coke adds and art. Coke is actually better in Italy, believe it or not!
The cobblestones outside of the Pope Paul VI Auditorium, where the Papal audience was held. I love cobblestones. I actually miss them a lot. Its so weird having the ground be perfectly level now that I'm back home!
POPE BENEDICT XVI! I literally started tearing up when he came out, because I got such a sense that he IS our spiritual father. I was pretty much the only one who didn't think the audience was boring...there is a lot of time where the Pope is speaking in Italian, French, Dutch, Spanish, and any number of languages we Americans just don't understand. But I thought it was incredible. They called on each of the groups there, at which point you got up and cheered/sang/pretty much did whatever you wanted to show your affection and support of the Holy Father. We were pretty boring/tame compared to the British school kids and the Italians...they got really into it!
After that, we went to lunch. There was this thing called the Johnny Depp. Pictures needed to be taken.
I had this huge mushroom pizza I ate like, 1/26th of. Ah, well.
That was also the restaurant where the waitress seemed to assess the fact that we were Americans, and proceeded to turn the TV to this station where they play nothing but American music videos 24/7.
I left the country to ESCAPE Moves Like Jagger.
Back to St. Peter's Square for our special tour of the Vatican (which we got to see before the tour for Mass, which was pretty cool. We already knew our way around a little bit.) Deacon Aaron, a deacon whose been studying in Rome for 6 years and is FULLY AWESOME, was kind enough to give us the sweetest tour EVER.
First of many incorrupt saints we saw: Pope Blessed Innocent XI.
Even the FLOOR is beautiful.
HAGIA SOPHIA! This was pretty fascinating: there are stars on the floor of St. Peter's Basilica that mark where certain churches would come if lined up against the back of the basilica. Hagia Sophia is an ancient Byzantine church in the Holy Land that is currently a mosque. I want to go see it so badly, and I thought it was amazing to see how much smaller it would be...and this is one of the ones CLOSER to the door!
Later that night...the Tiber. So much love.
I honestly cannot tell you which church this was. We went into several dozen before the trip was over, and this was day 2.
In the Gelato Shop of Awesomeness: MINI-NUTELLAS! So epic! I was seriously tempted to get some. But...you can get a jar 12 times that size in Walmart for less than that (keep in mind Euros are worth more than dollars!).
My first gelato from the Della Palma Gelato Shop: MANGO! So good.
Than we went to a restaurant on the street...that was pretty amazing.
The lovely heating lamps that kept us warm in the late-December Italian chill (which was actually cold compared to the Midwest, weirdly enough...).
Zupa di pollo: chicken soup! Mmm...
COOLEST THING EVER!! I don't remember what it's called, but we were just walking back away from the Parthenon towards the Metro, when Father pointed this out. I got so excited because I read about this (or something like this) in my Theology book and had hoped we'd see it. I also saw another thing that looked just like it....not sure which one was which. Its called Trajan's Column; Trajan was an emperor of Rome, and basically made himself an ego-fest on this column. Its covered with pictures of his achievements and battles, but the statue of him on top was replaced by one of St. Peter! Very cool.
And finally, the Italian flag in lights. Amen.