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Day 6: Audience with Pope Benedict XVI

November 17
This was day 6 of our trip. It was the last day before I turned 50, and a perfect day to be a part of the Audience with Pope Benedict XVI. This was a really big deal for me.
We arrived at the Vatican at 9:15am. It was a beautiful November morning. The weather was in the 50’s and just a bit nippy, but it warmed up as soon as the sun came out. We weren’t really close, but we did have a seat, which is more than I can say for several thousand other people. Pope Benedict made a grand entrance in the pope mobile at 10:30. I was shocked to see just how much security there was. I guess I’d just never thought about it. He was driven up and down the aisles for about 10 minutes while he greeted everyone. People were waving and snapping pictures…it was very exciting!

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The audience lasted about two hours. I couldn’t understand some of it because it was done in several languages, but that was part of what was so interesting. There were people from all over the world, many waving small flags of their countries. There was an amazing energy in the crowd. What a grand way to end the first 50 years of my life. I can’t think of a better way to start the second part of my life than with a blessing from the Pope. I’m a lucky girl…Life is so very good!
When we left the Vatican we roamed around that area and did a little shopping. I always notice that Italians wear great shoes, and since it was November they were wearing great boots. I’d been watching all the boots for several days and just couldn’t take it anymore, so I bought myself a cool pair of black boots. This was my birthday present to me.
We brought my boots back to the apartment and walked to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. WOW! What a beautiful church. After about 15 minutes a service began, which started with a procession that included about 10 priests. I’m not sure what kind of service it was because I couldn’t understand enough Italian to figure it out. It didn’t matter, it sounded wonderful.
Later we went to Termini Station and purchased our train tickets for Venice. The plan was to take the slow train, so we could get a glimpse of the 11 towns along the way where it made short stops. Most of the towns we haven’t visited…yet.
In the evening we returned to our neighborhood one last time and had dinner. After dinner we walked to the neighborhood pastisseria for some sweet treats for the morning train to Venice.

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