From the Pope's Window and Ostia Beach

Trip Start Jun 03, 2012
Trip End Jun 14, 2012

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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Monday, June 11, 2012

Since today was the free day, a group of us decided to visit the Pope at the Vatican (video attached). We took a taxi to St. Peter's Square and waited for the Pope to speak from the Pope's Window. While we stared up from the square, the crowd continued to grow and ushers let down a red, gold-crested tapestry. At noon, the Pope ascended the second window from the right and greeted the crowd. Because he spoke in Italian, we were not able to completely understand his message; however, we were able to gather most of his speech through the crowds reactions and gestures. The Pope spoke one sentence in English regarding Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for us. He stated that Jesus' immense sacrifice would reinforce the unity and peace of the world. In the square, several church organizations gathered and hung a banner in pursuit of the Pope's attention. After his blessing over us, he thanked the organizations by name for their service; each went wild (it was evident that his speech was pre-written, similar to a politician, at some points). After he left the window, the bells rang and several organizations played guitar and sung worship music. It was a very cool experience.

Later in the day, we traveled by train to Ostia Beach. After the 40-minute commute, we walked to the coast and were stopped by an Italian cook on the side of the road. We purchased his specialty, grilled hot dogs. Surprisingly, we all agreed that they were better than the American hot dog because he uniquely sliced the dog in half and placed it in between a crunchy, yet soft baguette. He topped it with ht sauce, ketchup, and Dijon mustard. It was outrageously good.

After reaching the beach, we rented an umbrella and chairs. The beach was surrounded by several people. The Italian beaches are very unique since guests fly kites; beach tennis courts and beach soccer fields are also built on site. Vendors walk around selling coconut slices, jewelry, and clothes because it is a tourist area. The Mediterranean water (Tirreno Sea) was very cold and was blue in color. As I entered the water, my feet hit a layer of sand then a layer of rocks or pebbles. The rock and sand layers varied the deeper that I traveled. Before leaving Ostia Beach, we walked the shore, climbed black rocks into the sea, and watched the sun set.
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