Well if the last one was a bit delayed in coming then this one is a bit ridiculous! This might be a two-part entry cause there is so much to cover! Perhaps I’ll insert an intermission so you can eat/sleep/work. Or if you want grab some coffee, or perhaps a plate of food, sit back and enjoy!
I’ll start where I left off, my flight to Roma. It was pretty easy and although I was about to leave my comfort zone of Spanish speaking España, I was excited. I think I mentioned my new(ish) friend Rebecca (from New Zealand) in a previous post. She plays some very big parts in my time here in Italy right from the get go. As soon I arrived in Rome I grabbed the first train to a small town on the northeastern Adriatic coast. Pesaro is not known necessarily as a tourist destination, in fact when I told most people I was going there they were quite curious why. Rebecca, as I mentioned awhile back, lives in Rome, spent a bit of time studying in Pesaro as an exchanged student from New Zealand. The weekend I arrived she was back visiting friends and (host) family, and she invited me out to spend a couple of days there. The train ride there was full of mountainous views as well as the occasional village seemingly untouched since its’ founding. Then I reached the coast, and the last half hour or so of the trip was at times a couple hundred feet from the water. I had found paradise and was excited to get to know it. Rebecca was waiting at the station when I arrived and we made our way through the cobblestone streets to her host family’s home. Not long after I arrived I was invited to go along with the family to a party, I gladly obliged and we walked down along the beach to a classic Italian family party. I immediately felt welcomed, and also immediately was wishing I knew how to speak Italian! After a pleasant there, time we went to dinner at a local restaurant and so began the amazing Italian food experience. This particular meal was marked by some amazing steak and sealed by delicious “Mascarpone” for desert.
The next day was Sunday and I was excited to visit Rebecca’s church. I had no idea what I was about to experience, and as when I walked in to some of the most loving people I’ve ever met. The service was a whole-nother level! (Note: Excuse the Christianese) The Holy Spirit dropped like a bomb in that place and worship continued for probably an hour and a half maybe more. I’m pretty sure I got lost in it. Then a wild/amazing ministry time took place and any ideas of boring church service went out the door I came in! I was even being used by the Lord to speak in ways I never knew I could! In the end I was encouraged/blown away/blessed/wrecked/any other positive thing you can think of. We then went home to a home-cooked lunch that made me want to marry an Italian woman (Yep!). It was the classic 3-course meal starting with the pasta, moving on to the meat, and finishing with desert and coffee. The Beccatti’s (Rebecca’s host family) were so sweet and made me feel right at home in their house, and I am extremely grateful for them!
|Giacomo and I|
Sunday evening Rebecca had to head back to Roma because of Monday morning classes, so she put me in contact with Giacomo who became my new fratello (brother). I went with him and a few others to a pizza party, which was my first experience around people who for the most part didn’t speak English or Spanish. I didn’t feel like an outsider, as we stuffed ourselves on homemade pizza, and I have no problem saying the people of Pesaro are some of the nicest you’ll meet! I was stretched that night, and it wasn’t all because of the language barrier. The Lord wasn’t finished speaking through me in Pesaro, because a young lady at the party named Faviana needed to hear from God. (HE is SOOO loving!) Bedtime came late, but it was in a comfy bed at Giacomo’s house and I rested quite well. In the morning I ran a few errands with Giacomo’s mom Nancy (who treated me like her son) before I took the train back to Roma.
I arrived in the evening and with an appetite. So before getting back in touch with Rebs I stopped in for some pizza. Let me just pause for a second and explain something. I’ve never really cared for thin crust pizza, but that is simply because I’ve never had real Italian pizza before. Real Italian pizza not only changes the lives of your taste bros, but it is affordable and too much for one person. I was beyond content as I began my quest to find wifi and Rebecca’s place. It was still early so once I found her we headed to the Coliseum, and I will say it is a magnificent sight on a brisk autumn night under a full moon. I stayed at a pleasant hostel the three nights I was in Roma, and explored the ancient city during the day. There is so much to see, and I didn’t take any of the tours. I was blown away by the architecture embedded in almost every nook and cranny of that city. It’s the only place that I think would have been worth paying for a guided tour, but still just walking around it is well worth the time, Although, you might get tired of picking up your jaw off the ground.
One of the more fun experiences in Roma happened a bit by chance. My plan Thursday morning was to get up early and go see the Sistine Chapel, this unfortunately was foiled by the fact that is was an Italian/Catholic holiday. So I stopped off for an early lunch before continuing my exploration. While on my way I strolled past St. Peters Square, which I had seen a bit the night before. Today however, it was filled with thousands of people murmuring to the sound of an elderly male voice coming from a loud speaker. I then connected the dots. It was All Saints Day (the Italian/Catholic holiday) and all these people were gathered to hear Pope Benedict XVI give mass. So I joined them. My overall experience of the city was great. From the ancient ruins to the newer yet quite old architecture it is a city to see. And though I didn’t see the Sistine Chapel I did get to see the Pope.
|From the top of Piazza Venezia looking over Roma|
|Fontana Di Trevi|
|St Peter's Basilica|
|Listening to the Pope|
|The Tiber River|
|Brother Daniel Lim|
After Rome the plan was to head south to Naples (Heretofore referred to as Napoli) with Rebecca and attend a Christian conference with a guest speaker from Kansas City’s International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC). She however had a few things come up and was not able to make the trip. I decided to still attend knowing it would be a blessing. So Thursday I booked the cheapest hotel room I could get in Caserta, and that evening I headed south. Caserta is a small town just north Napoli. It has a couple of points of interest but they are out of walking distance from where I was staying. The conference however was in my hotel, and that was all I needed. The sessions started Friday and I was given a public welcome because it was so odd for a random American to stop in for this event. Daniel Lim, the guest speaker from IHOP-KC, shared three great messages about “Passion For Jesus”. Each one was heavy, and impacting. I was also able to meet some incredible people who have become great friends. Vincent & Patricia, a couple that was visiting from Brussels, Belgium, actually invited me to their home, which I am planning on doing just before I return to London. It was no accident that I happened upon that conference. Worshiping/praying with the bride of Christ in Italia was such a wonderful experience; I know it wont be the last time. I have to say a quick thanks to Sara and Stefania for all their help, they made my life much easier.
|Piazza Del Plebiscito, Napoli|
Sunday evening the conference ended and I was offered a free ride to Napoli (Thanks Adriana, Clara, and Enza!). My plan was to take the train straight to Sicily that night, however it was full so I found another Hostel and crashed for the night. Morning came in Napoli and I explored my travel options to Sicily. Taking a night ferry looked like an adventure, and it would give me the day to see a few things around the city so I decided to go that route. Later that morning at the hostel I met a Kerri an Aussie, her and I decided to explore the town a bit, do some shopping and get some delicious gelato. Napoli is known for its delicious pizza so I couldn’t leave without giving it a whirl. It was everything people said and more; I even had a short conversation with the pizzeria owners in Spantalian! (I’m actually quite fluent)
|A look at Napoli from Castel Dell'Ovo|
The evening came and it was time for me to head toward the boat and an eleven and a half hour ride to my motherland, Sicily. Sleep didn’t come easy, but it came, and I awoke to the sun peeking brightly through the curtains and the chitter-chatter of people waking up about the cabin. The deck drew me out for a morning breath of fresh air and a wonderful view of the Sicilian coast. I made it. After all these years of talking about it, I’m here. Though I’ve been sitting here writing this blog most of the day, it doesn’t matter, I’m in Sicily and it is beautiful! So with that I leave you for now, because there is a new city to explore and new experiences waiting around each corner!
|The Sicilian Coast!|
|Pizza in Napoli!|