Wednesday 10th September –

Gilbert’s not feeling well so we’ve had a pretty easy day. He blames the ships air con. I had a couple of days as well but his is lingering and last night with aches and pains and coughs he’s pretty miserable. Today we drugged him up and headed out for a few hours to get some fresh air visiting St Paolo’s Basilica. As we got close Gilbert was a bit, ‘seen all this sort of thing before’ and I must admit I was a bit numb as well, but walking inside blew me away. The cavernous size and detailed decoration is stunning.

There were about ten priests there and it looked like a church service might get underway. A few nuns were looking around and I’d say a couple of hundred visitors, though the place still seemed empty. I lost Gilbert at the first alter and when I caught him up again he said, “this is pretty amazing alright” and I had to agree. No service started so we carried on. The picture below is all indoors in case you wondered. Massive!

St Paul was supposed to have been so anti Christians he was on horse back rounding up a heap of them to take back to kill when Christ is said to have appeared to him and he ‘saw the light’, as it were. This church was built originally to honour him in the fourth century but it was rebuilt around 1820’s after a massive fire destroyed it. It wasn’t until 2002 that his marble sarcophagus was discovered under the high alter. I can’t help but question the wealth in a place like this. I guess I will see much much more in the next few days?

We have decided to stay in Rome a couple more days. We have booked a hotel by the Trevi fountain so we are central. It’s not cheap but the bnb we are in, tho central to the Vatican just has a not so nice feel to it. Shower doesn’t work well. Towel mat was sopping wet and grubby. Dishes on bench. We are sharing with a young couple. If Gilbert feels up to it we will explore Vatican and/or Sistine chapel tomorrow.

We have also taken Tim and Diane’s as well as Pat and Puea’s recommendation of stopping at the Cinque Terre so just booked there for three nights.

Talk soon!

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