Our final day in Rome was beautiful! Some of the group started with the Wednesday morning audience with the Pope, and others of us saw the Pope midday when he went on an impromptu cruise around the Piazza St. Pietro in his Popemobile. Tours of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, the Museo Borghese, and people watching in places like the Piazza Navona and at the Pantheon took up the rest of the day. See today's post by Dwight Stanford on his blog at www.ddstanford.blogspot.com for additional pictures. Dwight, a surgeon who practiced in Kansas City for more than 20 years and is now living in Italy and is a friend of ours, joined us for the concert and Mass in Rome.
On Wednesday morning, the Visitation Choir sang its last performance at a Mass in the Chiesa Santa Maria de Popolo in the Piazza di Popolo in Rome. The ambiance of this smaller but ancient church is enhanced by paintings by Carrivaggio and sculptures by Bernini. After the long day, we brought closure to our adventure with a group dinner at a near-by restaurant at which the group members shared their thoughts on our tour experience, not totally without out a few tears. Rumor has it that some of the group then headed out on the town and that one of the females in the group may have even considered recreating Anita Ekberg's fountain scene from the 1950's movie La Dolce Vita! No bail money was required, however.
Thursday morning again dawned clear and warm as we departed Rome. John and Brent headed to Munich to see friends, Richard and Victoria were going to extend their stay in Rome and spend some more time in Florence, and the rest of the group headed back to Kansas City (the flight from Rome to Chicago was over 10 hours) and various other home cities. I suspect that after a 24+ hour travel day all had a good night sleep last night in their "soft American beds" (a particular wish expressed by Scott Martens).
Thanks to all for following us on our tour and leaving us the many comments. We had over 850 "hits" on this blog during the time we were gone, which made us all feel more connected with our friends and family back home.
The Choir is planning a concert for the parish in the near future, and we will continue to post pictures, videos, and other post-tour information for a while on this blog, so stay tuned.