I was very glad to be able to do all of my pilgrimage stuff yesterday, when the weather was beautiful and the city still felt like it was “mine, all mine.” This morning I made my way to 9am mass as the little chapel of St. Philip Neri, which is becoming my morning habit while here, and afterwards I walked over to St. Andrea Apostole, which has been rather brilliantly freshened up in time for it’s feature as part of the vigil leading up to the beatification. Last September it was under scaffolding, today it is beautifully whitened, it’s statues at the entrance are sparkling, and the interior was being set up for the weekend.
As I awaited the opening of the Bulldog Inn, a little pub that is directly across from St. Andrea’s, I sat on the steps and did a little people watching, as bus after bus returned from Termini Station with pilgrims and tourists in tow. Tons of them — a remarkable amount of young people, young families, and as they walked past, I heard them speaking in English, German (a lot of German, which surprised me) and Spanish. French, not so much. And I noticed a few things:
1) Americans are no longer the only fatties. The world is becoming tubby, and I suspect the Internet has a lot to do with it. We spend so much time not moving, anymore, and I am the first to acknowledge it.
2) Teenage girls are the same no matter where they are from. They shriek and cling and galumph and roll their eyes and laugh at other people in a way that annoys everyone around them, except teenage boys, who still act like teenage boys in the face of all that.
3) it doesn’t matter if you went to Princeton, if you strut five paces ahead of your wife, who is pushing the kid in the stroller, if you are drinking a beer at 10am, and the kid is eating chips. Your Princeton cap doesn’t make that seem classier!
4) Italian taxi drivers are the greatest drivers in the world.
5) The number 46 bus is crowded but not bad. You could not pay me enough to get on the #64, though.
6) Poland has some the grooviest, most architect-designed, habited nun-headwear, ever, and I am too slow with the camera.
7) When the line to get into St. Peter’s Basilica is so long it encompasses both sides of the colonnades, that’s a lot of people. Can there possible be enough
8) arriving on Wednesday and not having gelato until Friday is stupid.
Today became cold and rainy, and my knees cried Uncle on me in the afternoon.