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Published: June 17th 2018
First and foremost, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the dads who are and to those who will be wherever you are.
Today was a long bus day, but we did get to sleep in a little late for once. We rose at 6:45; bags out by 7:00; then to the bus by 8:30. Today we had a 500 km drive to Assisi.
The day was bright and clear with a little lower temperature around 78 with a lovely breeze. A perfect day for travel. The plan was to travel a bit, have a rest stop, travel some more and then stop for lunch. After lunch we were scheduled to visit the graves at Monte Cassini where in WW2 thousands died fighting the Fascists and Nazi armies. After this stop we were heading to Assisi where we would tour the famous St. Francis Basilica and walk around the town.
So not a busy day. I was thankful because I was a little low on sleep. Last night, for some unknown reason, I could not breath. I mean NADA got through my nose. I tried Sinex, and a ton of vapo rub. No result. I tried going outside in the
humidity, I even sat straight up in bed all to no avail. I took some additional vapo rub and, literally, jammed it up my nose. It took about 3 hours for the medication to kick in, but once it did, I was able to breath and safely sleep. I was actually worried for a moment there.
My plan was to have another buffet breakfast and hit the bus and sleep. Since I am really good at sleeping on a bus or a plane, I was able to sleep most of the travel time waking for the scheduled stops and by the time we got to Assisi I was well rested and raring to go.
The Italian government has shown great respect and appreciation for the dead buried at Monte Cassini. There were over 4500 graves, each neatly marked with name, rank, age, and home town for each soldier. The ground was well manicured, flowers placed to add beauty to an otherwise somber location. We paid our respects and moved on.
We stopped at an auto grill for lunch. The auto grill is an amazing place. It is part gas station, restaurant, shopping mart and, of course, potty
stop. The food options are plentiful. You can dine sitting at the table with pasta and salads and a selection of fine meat meals, or you can grab a panino and a drink and stand at tables strategically placed around the room. After dining, you can shop for clothes, snacks, records and cd’s, beverages and, of course, ice cream.
Back to the bus we headed to Assisi. Now we had been there several times and each time you see something new. Assisi was build by Pope Gregory too honor St. Francis who started an order of Capuchin Monks.
His order was a monastic preaching order, devoted to poverty and helping the sick and the poor. The order he started is still active today after nearly 500 years.
Our first stop was the lower chapel where the body of the saint is buried in a lead coffin directly below the main church altar. The frescos were amazing, although many were damaged in an earth quake several years ago. Those that remained are still beautiful and were the first artwork that showed perspective, meaning they look almost 3D.
After the lower chapel we went to the main Basilica
to see the more impressive frescos. We slowly circumvented the Basilica admiring all the art work in silence as this is a sacred place and so they demanded silence. No matter how many times you come here the art is amazing and well worth the trip.
After the included tour, we were on our own for a little over an hour. Now we explored the 14th
century village. This village is a UNESCO site, so it must be preserved exactly as it was in the 14th
century. So, walking the ancient narrow hilly streets allowed you to fall back in time to a simpler place and enjoy a quiet stroll among the fine shops and food vendors.
We got a gelato, of course, and walked in and out of the shops, churches and alley ways enjoying the sights and sounds of the old city. All too soon it was once again time to go to the bus and back to our hotel for another fine dinner, flowing red and white wines and the company of new friends from many parts of the globe.
Many of you who have followed my blogs in the past have been wondering,
where are the crazy people or odd happenings that so often befall my journeys. I too am wondering the same thing. Our flight over was without incident, the tour people are all well experienced travelers, so there is not the usual confusion borne by the novice traveler. The crowds are well behaved and no far no gypsies, muggers or thieves to spoil the fun. It’s a bit unusual but so far that is what it is, but there are still 7 days to go. Anything can still happen and it just might!
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