Man it is absolutely really surreal. Yes, I meant that in the most oxymoronic paradoxical sense that I possibly could. It is beautiful and breathtaking here, and I cannot really put into words all the things that I am feeling and taking in.
Today we got to visit St. Peter's Basilica (Catherine, Samone and I went for Mass.... in Italian), see Pope Benedict, go to St. Mary Major, St. Paul's outside the walls, St. John Lateran (dedicated to Ss. John the Evangelist and John the Baptist, which is ACTUALLY the Cathedral of Rome... cuz St. Peter's isn't!), and St. Clement's.
BTW... St. Clement's is SO AWESOME. I mean, all the churches are awesome, but I studied St. Clement's in my architectural history courses and this church is just SO. TOTALLY. AWESOME. It was built in the 12th century on the top of a 4th century Christian church (the original 1st Cathedral of Rome), which was built on top of a 1st century domus in Rome (which had a temple to the pagan god Mithras). It was so cool to see the excavations and all of the amazing stuff. Really, it is so cool and interesting to think that Rome is really this huge pile of dirt which has been built upon again and again. and again. and again.
The churches are absolutely beautiful and Liz Lev is an awesome tour guide, who definitely gives the tours with the perfect amount of Catholic history. It's super appreciated.
The prayer spaces are just beautiful and really lift my heart and spirit to God, I just wish that I had more time to spend in them!
To those back home praying for us, thank you so much for your intercession. No one's been hurt or gotten lost or anything of the sort. We're all doing quite well.
Oh. and I want a Vespa now. A little mint green one one which I can ride around and be chic. Vespas are EVERYWHERE here and its really cool to see all of the little cars. It's a different driving culture for sure. Less traffic as far as I've seen (the metro is a blessing in that case!), but many more cars parked on the side of the road.
OH. And the hostel is awesome and the hosts are amazing and give us coupons for free or really super discounted stuff quite a bit! It's clean and well taken care of and it's been a really great experience here. I'm glad that I chose the one I did -- I think it was a good decision and it's just been great.
Some people are out now at a Pittsburgh-themed bar here in the city, having a good time, but I will be going up to bed now so I send my love back to the States! God Bless and goodnight.