Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Looking back at Rome

The view over the Alps from 35,000 feet is spectacular. This image, taken on the flight to Rome last Monday, opens a series of posts giving highlights of the parish pilgrimage. Many regular blog readers were following the frequent updates during the trip; these also provided a good way for parishioners, families and friends back home to keep up with the travellers. However, the limits of the mobile technology (and the lack of zoom on the camera we were using!) restricted the quality of the posts. Now the plan is to share some of the best images and fill out the story of the pilgrimage in a series of posts; these will be interspersed with other posts over the coming week or two, so it won't be Rome every day!

Our pilgrim group stayed at the Hotel Lancelot (website here), a friendly family-run hotel close to the Colosseum. This famous landmark of Rome can be seen on this image, which was taken less than a minute's walk from the hotel's front door.

From the roof terrace of the hotel some of Rome's best sights could be seen. Here is a night shot; you can see the Colosseum clearly in the foreground, and beyond, in the top left of the picture, you can just make out the floodlight dome of St Peter's Basilica. Click on the image if you'd like to see a larger version.

Here's the daytime view, with the same landmarks clearly visible.

Our guide for the week was Anthony Coles, usually easy to spot with his yellow coat and hat. A knowledgable and entertaining guide, Anthony ensured an enjoyable week for all the pilgrims.

Alongside our visits to the famous sights of Rome we will also show some of the more quirky or unusual images. Take this, for instance: the church is that of Saints John and Paul, where the group had Mass on the first day of the pilgrimage. Look above, however: Rome's starlings are gathered in vast numbers. The image captures something of the scene, but only a fraction of the birds are actually caught on this picture.

From the roof of the Pontifical North American College there is a tremendous view of St Peter's Basilica. In the posts ahead there will be images of our tours of Rome's great churches, the day trip to Subiaco (which is truly spectacular) and other aspects of a great week.

Perhaps the highlight will be our coverage of the Papal Audience, which was for many pilgrims a once-in-a-lifetime event. Here the Pope waves to the crowds as he arrives in St Peter's Square. This image, and every picture posted on the blog's coverage of Rome, was taken by our own cameras or by a member of the group. Pilgrims who travelled and have any particularly special or unusual images are invited to share them! If you want to see your handiwork on the blog, please get in touch with us.