To My Amazement, a Trip to Rome May Really Materialize

To My Amazement, a Trip to Rome May Really Materialize June 12, 2013

So awhile back, I noted that one of my ambitions is to get to Rome (and truth to tell, across France to Dunkirk and then on to England (particularly Oxford and Glastonbury) because I am working on a novel and am operating at the distinct disadvantage of knowing almost nothing of the locales in which it occurs.  Now, of course, the great thing about fiction is that you can just make stuff up.  But still and all, there’s something to be said for versimilitude and not telegraphing to readers, “I have no idea what I’m talking about”.

So since I have an operating budget of approximately zero dollars I conceived the crazy idea of going on some sort of pilgrimage/tour thingie to Rome and/or wherever else I can get to in Europe, and acting as tagalong teacher about Catholic stuff. Result: I get my research and my fellow pilgrims get freebie teaching about the faith from Yr. Obdt. Svt. It was more or less a pipe dream, but I mentioned it on the blog in the hope that some reader out there who knows about such things might say, “It’s crazy enough that it just might work!”

Sure enough, one of my readers, the intrepid Barbara Wood, turns out to have expertise and knowledge in arranging such things.  Before I could say, “Rick Steves” she set about working with a travel company to start cooking up a pilgimage to Rome and Assisi roughly slated November 15-23!  It’s not totally finalized or anything, but the basic idea is pretty much what I described.  Readers who want to take a reasonably-priced trip to the Eternal City and visit St. Francis’ old stomping grounds can join me.  In addition to me gassing on about stuff I know about the faith for the benefit of youse guys, you also get lots of cool visits to St. Peter’s and the catacombs and gobs of beautiful art and ancient history and awesome Italian food (no swimming in the Tiber: yeccch!). I think the idea is also to round up a priest to come along to celebrate the sacraments for us, which would be extra super awesome. Meanwhile, in my downtime, I take lots of notes for my novel and am available during my waking hours for gabbing, Q and A, and general hanging out.  Bear with me, because I’ve never tried anything like this before, so I may not have all the details right.  But at any rate it sounds super cool.  And where would you rather be in November?: watching it rain out your front window or praying in the greatest Cathedral in the world and digging the Sistine Chapel while the smell of linguini wafts in off the street?

To make it work, we need at least 40 people if I understand correctly.  When I have all the details, I’ll let you know.  But I just wanted to throw it out if you are looking for a seriously cool way to spend two-ish weeks this November.

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  • Brad Harvey

    Yes, please keep us posted! I`ve been fortunate enough to visit Rome, but not on pilgrimage. I pray everything works out.

  • Terri

    This sounds like a true adventure. I hope you get to go, I think you would be great fun to pilgrimage with! I am such a homebody, but I have a desire to see our new Pope, he speaks to my heart. May it all work out and those of us at home can enjoy your travels through your blog.

  • BetsyRheaume

    I hope it works out for you. I would love to go to Rome, except six months ago, I flew for the first time in my life and I’ve determined I don’t want to do it again.

  • Pecos2

    I will pray that this works out for you and all those who go with you. It sounds like the trip of a lifetime.

    God Bless

  • B.E. Ward

    This trip is *begging* for a videographer to capture some of the sights, sounds, ‘gassing on’, and conversations.

  • Kate Cousino

    Lucky dog! I wish I could go, that sounds like a great experience.

  • Mark, it sounds wonderful! Sort of like those apologetics cruises, only on dry land.

    I sure would love to tag along. (Of course, you are going to need a Catholic historian who is pretty competent in Italian, right?)

    Alas, right now, bad finances, a pressing deadline, an aching back and sciatica pain in my leg mean that I am flat on my back and will have to miss my brother’s wedding in California on Saturday.

    But I can still dream of getting better by November . . .

    (I could use a few prayers if you’ve got ’em)

  • Bobby

    Any idea (ballpark) about what the cost will be?

    • chezami

      The brochure sez $3999.

  • Squiboda

    You know Mark. I would have loved nothing more than to bring you along with us to Rome. 35 single people with an average age around 40 who met up on The wheels go up on our fabulous get together in 11 days. We are doing Rome and Tuscany (including Assisi, Padua, and Florence). If you had come up with your idea in December, we might have been able to make it work.

  • Clare

    It sounds great Im going to try and talk my husband into doing this! I think the timing is great for travel there plus its before the holidays. Keep us posted

  • LeeAnn Hittle Balbirona

    Um, yeah! Count me in. I’m penciling it into my calendar. I suppose I should apply for passport now.