Just among friends
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 1:00 AM
Before meeting his team for his latest mission assignment in Albania, Dr. Bill Molpus goes by way of Italy for a Roman holiday.
A reunion of sort with the Eternal City. His story begins like this. "How long has it been since I was here? Wow!
That long? But it seems like yesterday.
I have driven my car along these streets. That won't happen again.
A nice clean 3-star hotel, close to the train station, with a beautiful and ancient open-grill-work elevator, like the one in the movie ""Charade."
Will visit the St. Peter's Basilica this morning and do the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel this afternoon.
A revealing bus ride through the hustle and bustle of Rome.
As I approach the square in front of the Basilica, I stop in my tracks in amazement.
There are 50,000 people standing in line for a free visit, and it will be closed tomorrow.
No way! OK, what is Plan B?
A nice shaded sidewalk cafe with as many cappuccinos as needed to relax and people watch.
I don't think any of these people are from Rome.
The guide says the museum is a five-mile walk, but today we will only do three miles. Thank you, Jesus!
There is an elderly lady from England (my age), and the guide asks me to assist her along, and we are directed to all the elevators.
Praise the Lord! There are no words to properly describe the magnificence and beauty of these rooms.
Hours later we arrive in the Sistine Chapel, where only a few weeks ago, a new Pope was elected.
Michelangelo painted the ceiling of this Chapel when he was 76 years old.
No talking. No pictures.
Just spend your twenty minutes feasting on these fabulous works of art.
As we were heading for the exit, I heard the guide say that the Basilica closed at 7 p.m.
It was now just after six. There may be time.
As I headed for the square, I saw that it was practically empty and only a few people in line.
A miracle for sure, and once inside, I was convinced.
What a sight!
Immediately to your right, as you enter, is a chapel with Michelangelo's famous Pieta, a white marble statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus, holding Him in her lap after the crucifixion.
Michelangelo was 25 years old when he carved this masterpiece.
Could have spent hours here, but the time, and my sore feet and legs, said otherwise.
Early the next morning on the subway to the Coliseum (butt to butt!).
Today is a Roman holiday. Have mercy, Lord!
No time here to tell the interesting story of how the long line was averted.
Quickly I am inside, marveling at the construction and history of this 2,000 year-old structure.
The afternoon was spent on the upper deck of those tour buses where you can get on and off as you please.
Needless to say, I didn't get off, but enjoyed the view and the ride.
A new fast train from Rome to Venice. 170 miles-per-hour and as smooth as silk.
Thru the terminal and into the square, and there it is! Venice in all her glory!
Was here last year, and it continues to be my favorite city in all the world.
Two days here is not enough, but time enough to see the highlights.
Then to the Marco Polo Airport, and fly back to Rome and connect to the flight for Tirana, Albania."
Next week, the mission begins! Join "Friends" as we tag along.
Cabo San Lucas, a peninsula off the coast of Mexico, felt the impact of 31 Tornadoes several weeks ago!
Not the F-5 kind, but a cumulative total of fourteen 2013 Philadelphia High School graduates, their parents and friends.
The seniors, who included Rebecca Prince, Cecil Kate Price, Ali Gray, Macy Martin, Melissa Miller, Peyton Clark, Caleb Crenshaw, Chase McNair, Zach Whittle, Tanner Salter, John Carr Bates, Tanner Rhodes, Drew Coats and Thomas McCool, were housed in the luxurious, all-inclusive Riu Sampa Fe Resort.
They were accompanied by parents, Eric and Ellen Prince, Cecil and Kim Price, Barry and Melissa Clark, Tanya Gray, Barry and Vicki McNair, Michelle Whittle, Tina and John Boyles, and Susan and Jimmy Bates, and friends, Austin McNair, Eric Peebles and Jason Long.
The swimming pool and beach were a favorite meeting places by day, and at night, everyone enjoyed the shows the resort afforded, plus hanging out at The Cabo Wabo.
The seniors and their friends enjoyed scuba diving and snorkeling excursions, while their parents basked in the tranquility and beauty of the sunset cruises.