Thursday, 11 October 2012

A great achievement

Louise Graduated from her University studies recently.
We are ever so proud of her achievements and truly wish her the best in her endeavours in her chosen field of Primary and Early Childhood teaching.
Well done sweetheart ........
After the Graduation Ceremony

So proud of her achievements



Couldn't resist putting up the items cherished from the day. Do you love the teddy

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Off to Venice .......

There was literally hundreds of these little statues over Europe..
This was a destination I never thought I would see again. I was there a very long time ago, on a Contiki tour..!!!! And we stayed outside of Venice. Brid and I had visited Venice in a read aloud book and on google maps.
So to my surprise and delight Dermot and Brid both had desires make this a destination...Yeah !!!is all I could think.
A little ghotto outside the main Basilica
It was a 3 hour drive from Assisi and we stopped into Paduva to the Basilica of San Antonio. The Gps went a bit crazy in this city. Although it directed exactly to the Basilica, it took us down every narrow street that Paduva had to offer, and they were nailbiting NARROW.
I kept saying please God let us get this hire car to the drop off spot without any  scratches on it.
we overrode the commands from the Gps and took a chance. It worked, we were heading toward Venice after a lunch stop.
This was going to be a little tricky as we had acquired a few extra pieces of hand luggage, in the way of food stables.
We found our way to the Vaporetto- water bus-  and stayed on it until our stop.
Just about to enter our apartment. The canal is on the right
After much confusion and a few tears of frustration, we found a lovely manager in a Very Grand hotel who sorted out where we our accomodation was. Our host would be there to meet us at the vaporetto stop, sign of relieve. Once at out apartment we were  in for a treat. it was lovely,right on a canal and beautifully appointed. How did we manage this???
Bridge of sights near San Marco
A view of San marco from the vaporetto coming from Murano
There were so many people in Venice, particularly around San Marco and the grand Canal. It was rather humid as well. It was explained to us, its the amount of water surrounding the city. It makes sense, but it sure was steamy.
Did I tell you that every bridge over every Canal is curved, so there are steps up over the bridge and down the bridge- quite annoying for carrying suitcases -even if they were not heavy.
Brid at Burano Island
We trapsed all over Venice, out to the Islands Murano and Burano where Glass making and Lace works are there main income.
We all loved Venice even though we got a little lost and got our way home to our apartment a new way each time we ventured out.
Dermot & I at the Rialto Bridge

Brid and her Dad at the Rialto Bridge

San Marco can be under water at times, but not when we were there.
The streets are very tiring on your feet and legs as there is no give at all.  I found myself rather tired most days of our trip as we constantly were on the go and on veryy hard cobblestones or paved paths. We found some grass in Murano while we waite for the vaporetto, and we could not resist the temptation to sit and lie on the grass. Pure Bliss. The simple pleasures we take for granted.

Monday, 8 October 2012

My favourite Italian city

A beautiful serene town  sat up on a mountain was our next stop. A 4 hour drive north from Sorrento.  So much too say so I will just leave you a photo or 2 or 3 or .....
Our first glance of Assisi- yeah hope dermot loves it as much as me...

Sunsets are so beautiful here

Brid at sunset in Santa Chiara piazza

the Portiuncola inside the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli

a view from the valley of Santa Francesco Basilica

Brid outside San Damiono - where St Chiara lived.

The inside Garden. This is where St Chiara- or as we call her St Clare until her death

Dermot and I just loving the view and the Spirituality of this city

St Chiara at the Basilica of St Chiara

Dermot was determined to get to this little church called San Stefano- it was a very long complicated treck up many many stairs and steep roads within the Assisi.

He had to have a photo outside. We got to the church 10 minutes before closing time. Just in time. Thank You Lord

Our last night looking down on the valley at sunset...again....beautiful view with
 lovely company and meal

Dermot and Brid both loved Assisi. We stayed in a monastery of San Collette. A companion of St Chiara. We drove through the street of Assisi to get to our accomodation. A bit scary. I couldn't believe the pathways !! that we needed to negotiate to get us there.

A little bit of paradise ...

Early on Thursday morning we had a knock at the door. It was our hire care to take us The airport to pick up our car. Why you ask?? I wouldn’t drive in Rome , and as the Apartment offered Hire car to and from the airport we thought why not.
Europcar was excellent. When we arrived at Ciampino airport our Renault Scenic and GPS were waiting to be checked out by us. Yeah....
Then the reality hit....Oh dear, we now have to navigate on the wrong side of the road for the next few weeks. I was quietly panicking....Then Dermot said..”Lets Pray”. We drove out of the dirt car park very cautiously.  It took me a while to work out that we needed to cross a round about going right and Left turns were with the traffic, and not against it..I think the passenger seat panel still has nail marks were I tried to shrink the car to fit the road..
We hit our first toll. There were about 20 or 30 more for us to use yet...
St Maria Gorretti

The Basilica of St Maria Gorretti
We headed south to stop eventually in Sorrento via Nettuno. Why There you ask? Well St Maria Goretti’s incorrupt body is there in a lovely Chapel area below the main church..Wow...She was so small, being only 12. Such deep Faith at her age. Such forgiveness. I  hadn’t discussed her death very much with Brid as I felt she was not ready.
On the way to Nettuno, which is on the coast, we discussed her life, her Death and the conversion of Allessandro. Quite a remarkable story.  We spent a few hours at Nettuno at the Crypt as well as by the shoreline, before heading to our destination for 2 nights.
Sorrento, Iyaly
We drove past Napoli- Naples. The country side was distinctly different. Many Roads through the mountains and buildings with flat roofs. I asked Dermot to view a You tube of the drive to Sorrento from Naples. He didn’t want to, so it was me who was quite nervous negotiating the very very narrow roads, the traffic and the motorbikes just doing there own thing. Not following and rules at all, but they did get out of the way when they needed to...
Sorrento is a town high the mountain tops overlooking the Mediterranean.  It is sprinkled with beautiful Churches and many hotels, restaurants and is known for its seafood. The beaches were roped off and they paid to use the beaches. This gave them the privilege of using their own beach lounge and at another cost an umbrella, on a stony beach- give me our beautiful beaches any day. But the history and the atmosphere was so very different to our own.
St Anne, Sorrento
St Anne is the Patron of Sorrento. She has a little church close to where we stayed, which we dropped into Pray, especialy for Friend.
We ate at a restaurant where the owner, a very sweet Italian Lady, had a deep devotion to Our Lady. She had been to Medjugorje and has miraculous medals in a bowl that she hands out and statues, oh so many of Our Lady. There was a beautiful on at the very end of her restaurant overlooking the sea....She called Brid Marys Angel- bringing the message to everyone who needs to hear it.

Mt Vesuvius
While we were in Sorrento our major interests where to go to Pompeii and just look around. After going through yet another toll on our way to Pompeii we arrived to a rather leafy area, with a dirt car park and not a lot of signs to say where the Scavi- excavations were, but around the corner was the entry. Its quite touristy but a must see for this part of the world. After a morning being  absorbed in the history in the heat with little shade, Dermot announced lets see Mt Vesuvius !! Off we went to in these huge army type massive 4wds buses to almost the summit, then a walk of only 500 metres, but the tail wound around the mountain making it a much longer walk than you would expect. The view from the top was amazing, and too see a volcano that is classed as quite dangerous because it hasn’t erupted for many many years was a little scary.
This was our last evening in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, next was the 4 to 5 hour drive to  Assisi...

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

4 days in Rome....

Ok 4 days in Rome...We celebrated our 25th anniversary while we were there.
A view of the Colosseum you don't normally see. It was ransacked to build other more important buildings over the early Roman years
We walked and bused it all over Rome, including the Colosseum, The Forum, The Trevi Fountain and The Spanish steps. We popped into so many beautiful Churches and saw so many reliquiae it was amazing. S Monica, John Paul II, Padre Pio to name a few
We deliberately did not venture near the Vatican, at first,  as we had Scavi tour tickets. There are only 350 pilgrims allowed access yearly, so when we got the email before we left to say we were granted tickets we were very excited. We met behind St Peters Basilica and Immediately we felt to dampness and the change in air. It is very secure and has many glassed screened doors to keep the area being too exposed to the light and outside and outside environment. We saw the tomb of St Peter and heard so much interesting facts. Brid was keen to carry on a conversation with the Tour guide. She was the youngest on the tour. Infact, she was 6 months too young., but that didn’t stop her asking many quite thought provoking questions. Yeah to Homeschooling and delving into Roman history and the Saints for all these years.
Our tour ended with a viewing of the Papal Catacombs. And then widing up a staircase to be at last inside St Peters. It was Beautiful and what a way to do it. We were so Blessed to have had this experience on this day.
We avoided the MASSIVE queue you can see behind, by doing the Scavi Tour

It was pouring when we finally got ourselves outside several hours later.
There were these street sellers selling, depending on the weather, rain covers, water, hats umbrellas- which they pronouced umbrelli. We had a laugh so often at what they would come out with next, and how much they would reduce there cost for a sale.
We hopped on our Roma bus and got ourselves to our apartment to dry out., via a Gelati shop of course and a look  for somewhere to eat that evening.
The next day was our big day. We had tickets for an audience with Our Holy Father and Vatican Museum tickets. We were all excited and had to be up early to be at the access point by a 9am. As we were still jetlagged and Dermot developed a horrid night cough, we were still quite tired.
Nothing was going to stop this experience from being special. Brid later said being in the same room as our Holy Father was amazing and to be able to understand the many Latin words on the museum exhibits was really wonderful.  To  see the Sistine Chapel with my Family and experience all that Rome had to offer us,  as a family was such a Blessing. God had his hand over us the entire time.
We made use of the waiting time for meals to write postacrds and write up our journal.
We leave Rome with many more places to see an excuse to come back and a sense of excitement but nervousness of our next part of our Journey.. God please take care of us.      

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A science day...or ...two

Today instead of being on holidays Brid began her school work...well only Science really. Everything else is on track...She worked very hard last term to be in that position.
She has not been looking forward to it as she thought it maybe very hard...Maths, numbers , science mixed together = hard to Brid.
It was all she needed to do. So she nuckled in today and began, and nearly completed a whole module. She not only enjoyed it but Dermot and her had a lot of fun discusing various questions.
It gave her enormous confidence, so much so that she sped through and has only a module test to do tomorrow.
It was just lovely seeing and hearing her face and her voice as she gained more and more confidence until finally, "Mum I have finished the study questions". Wow. Well done honey..

Why did I ask her to do this module in the holidays? We missed 3 and a bit weeks of school last term. That was OK, but she has 3 dance/ ballet concerts to rehearse for, so I thought the less subjects she has to do the better.
It also will be lovely to have December free so we can enjoy Advent the build up to Christmas.
Now to put on paper the things we will do throughout Advent. !!!!!