running into papa francesco

Italy is a place of wonders and a country of immeasurable beauty.  On one of my final trips I visited Pompeii, Naples, and Capri and ran into the pope along the way!  My trip began early on a Friday morning as me and various other students headed out to the train station for a Pepperdine sponsored trip to Pompeii.  We trained to Naples then took a bus to the ancient ruined city.  We visited both Pompeii and Herculaneum, two ancient cities that were destroyed by the deadly flow of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD.        Walking through these two ancient cities was strange, moving, and also humbling.  To see the thousands of empty homes and to imagine the fear the citizens felt during the eruption of the volcano was overwhelming.  How humbling it was to imaginr the thousands of nameless lives that were lost in these cities, the thousands of unknown faces that once walked through the city, the city that individuals visit out of mere fascination today.  One day we too will be dust, we too will be forgotten, just like the individuals in Pompeii, since all life is fleeting.  But, what we stand for and the good we represent, the love we share, that, even when all is long gone, will still remain.

After Pompeii, myself and four other friends stayed the night in Naples.  We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb that was in a wonderful area of the city.  While walking through the city, we quickly discovered the Pope would be doing a procession on the very next day!  However, we had already planned to ferry to the beautiful island of Capri for that day. So, I did not think I would get to see the Pope while in Naples, but I will address this later. While in Naples,we went to the world famous, family owned pizzeria called Sorbillo, which many locals had suggested to us.  If you are traveling to Pompeii, I would highly suggest a visit.      All day on Saturday we spent on the beautiful Island known for her crystal clear water and sweet lemon cello, Capri.  While there, we took a gorgeous boat tour around the island and visited the green grotto, white grotto, and the coral grotto.  The island was absolutely stunning, though the weather was cold, windy and unfavorable, this did not diminish Capri’s natural beauty.       



   After visiting Capri we headed back to Naples to catch our train back to Florence.  On the walk to the station, we ran into a large crowd and within minutes the pope came by on the pope mobile!     Seeing the pope was so great but,what was greater was seeing all of the individuals who came to see the pope, a man who stand for so much peace and so much love.  The fact that crowds were drawn to see a man who represents God’s light in this world of darkness, is a miracle. Moreover, it’s a sign that there is hope amongst the brokenness of the world. Stay true, live justly, and always travel on. Peace and love.  


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