Thursday, November 25, 2021

11.25.2021 Happy Thanksgiving.

 Autumn has been busy with activities to compensate for the heat and rain of the summer. But now it is time to put away the kayak and bicycle and prepare for winter. It is cold outside!

The last kayak trip of the season - reasonably warm with sunshine and a cool breeze. No leaves, few birds and no turtles sunning on the logs. Which begs the question - where do the turtles go in the winter? Was able to store the kayak and remove the car roof rack without freezing my fingers this year - even though it was done very late in the season!

Football has been great - Patriots doing quite well with a rookie quarterback. But I do miss our Tom Brady. Still cheer for him even though he plays for Tamp Bay. Went to the Tampa Bay - Patriot game and cheered for everyone. It will be hard to cheer against TB12.

Now the attention turns towards the holidays. The "twins" Fionnegan and Gunnarr had their holiday grooming appointment at the doggie spa while Shorty and I ran through the woods. What fun it is with him - he stops less often to sniff and mark and spends more time running. He often looks back to see if I am keeping up with him and we run until those short legs of his are exhausted!


Shorty on his magic carpet. I was taking pictures of the twins before the haircut and Shorty came up to me and nudged me on my back - he wanted a picture, too!

Post haircut. They come home exhausted for their day at the spa. And they sleep very well at noght!

And yes, Shorty was brushed and loose hairs trimmed, whether he liked it or not! It is shedding season.

And today we prepare for a Thanksgiving feast! The boys are excited and so am I. The house smells so fresh from the lilies and the white orchids add a very special touch. 

May you and your families all enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving Day and weekend. Remember to give thanks for all of our blessings and for our friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving - from my family to yours.

Until next time.....................

Sunday, November 7, 2021

11.07.2021 Rome - At last

 It is hard for me to believe that I had not visited Rome in the past. My trip was scheduled in 2020 was cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic. But finally, the opportunity arose and I had a wonderful visit. I was able to visit 6 of the 7 pilgrimage churches of Rome, see the Pope twice, visit the Vatican Museum, the catacombs, and the colosseum and enjoy the street and river walk scenes and some good food. I always say, one needs to leave one thing to do so you can go back. I will need to return to see the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (don't let the name fool you, it is in Rome!). While I was at that seventh Church, they closed it for the afternoon just as I arrived and I just did not have time to return. Next time, for sure.

I arrived on a beautiful Autumn morning with clear blue skies and a very comfortable temperature. A really nice driver Maurizio picked me up at the airport and pointed out the important sites - both on my way to the hotel as well as on the way back to the airport at the end of the trip.

This is my first view of St Peter's Basilica, taken from the top of the driveway of the hotel where I was staying. The hotel was run by the Pallottine Missionary Sisters and is located at 7B Viale delle Mura Aurelie. They were wonderful, helpful and delightful. Take a look at the cupula - I climbed to the top. That was an adventure on its own!

Swiss Army Guards. People are people everywhere - cover your nose! We had to show our CDC vaccination cards at most sites (Green Pass is the European equivalent). masks were required and an N-95 mask was required to take the Scavi Vatican Tour to see St Peter's burial site.

Pope Francis from the balcony overlooking Vatican Square.

St. Peter's Basilica outside view and view of the interior and Michelangelo's Pieta. The church is absolutely beautiful and the paintings magnificent. I decided not to add photographs of every church or paintings that I viewed as you can find them online or in books. But I did want to add these as they are quite special. I visited the Basilica twice, was able to see a wedding and attend two Masses and go to confession by a Jesuit priest who served in South Boston. These experiences made for a very special trip. Look at that cupula again and imagine I am up at the top!

Rome is not a very big city, but it can involve a lot of walking. Buses and trains are readily available and I did use them regularly. I loved walking along these ancient streets and people watching. Well, shall we say dog and bird watching, too.

Beautiful bride at St Ignatius Church.

Was able to visit the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and see Largo Argentino and took two train trips out of town, one to Orvieto and the other to Assisi.

Mass at Saint Jerome's - a Croatian Church, on the Sunday afternoon of my arrival.

View of Vatican Square from the cupula.

Cannot go that way, even if you are a visiting nun! Swiss guard in a blue uniform.


The colosseum and a relative of Fionnegan and Gunnarr?

Typical cuties.

St Patrick's well in Orvieto - If I can climb up to the top of a cupula, I can climb down to the bottom of a well.

Cathedral of Orvieto. Beautiful.

Another animal photographer!
Funicular in Orvieto.

La Pergola, a very good restaurant. had wild boar - excellent.

Papal audience in the auditorium.



Assisi with the setting sun.

She was a character, singing and dancing at the Assisi train station.

Statue of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Chapel inside the church - location of his death.

Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi.

Just up the road from the hotel - a great parrot hangout! 

Birds and a puppy - what a great morning stroll.


Of all of the magnificent churches visited, my favorite is the relatively unadorned old church. It was beautiful in its simplicity, complete with organ music and a cloistered nun singing.


Fun signs in a cafe.

Vatican museum. 
No photographs allowed of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. So I have just one. Lucky shot before getting told no pictures.

Museum guard. Everyone is texting. Rodin's The Thinker.


Spiral staircase.

St Anthony. My Dad was named after this Saint. So it was important to visit this Church.

Protests against mandatory covid vaccinations. Just like home but more balloons!

Even included the statue of St Francis.

Walk along the Tiber River.  This was my last day, had to pick up my covid PCR tests to board the plane back home, so took the time to stroll along the river. It was a beautiful day, sunshine, birds, and boating on the river. If I go back, I will spend more time walking along the river, the river walk was safe and broad and it is good for the soul!

Another pink kayak - looks like mine!

My favorite view of the Bridge of Angels.

The end!

It was a great trip and I could have easily spent another week there wandering around the city and visiting the countryside.

Until next time, please say well.