Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Endurance and Patience

Today is a two word day – Endurance and Patience; endurance to make it up and down all the hills and stairs in Asissi and patience with ourselves and others when things happen that are frustrating or distressing, like forgetting a wallet at the hotel or thinking you have lost it somewhere…both were found and retrieved.
 Leaving the hotel

Our hotel in Asissi was beautiful and the town is very picturesque, perched on the side of the hill…that should have been a clue that walking might be difficult.  For the superstitious among us, just after we left, a black cat crossed our path.

We were only a short drive from the parking for the Basilica of San Francesco, the mother church of the Franciscan order, named after St Francis in the town where he was born and died.  He was born the son of a very wealthy family and after experiencing a personal call from God he gave up everything taking vows of poverty, obedience and chastity.  

The church is built into the side of the hill and is actually two churches, the Upper and Lower as well as a crypt where the remains of the Saint are interred.  Both churches are decorated with frescos by numerous late medieval painters from the Roman and Tuscan schools.  Our guide was a font of knowledge about the church. We were not allowed to take any pictures inside the churches.
To get in required walking up a steep hill followed by multiple sets of stairs, up and down.

 Following the visit to the church we had to walk to the town square – it was a long, slow, uphill climb.  It was a testament to the endurance of our group, especially the ones over the age of 80 that we all made it. Those who walked faster and wanted to see more went with the local guide to the other side of the town to see the other important church in the town, while the rest made their way to the square. 

Lunch in the square, sitting at tables was a well-deserved and needed rest – but it required a bit of patience as the single waiter was not very speedy; a drink was spilled, orders forgotten, but in the end, we enjoyed the ambiance of the place and marveled at our endurance and the beauty and history of the place.  When you travel in Italy and walk the streets of Asissi as people have done for thousands of years, Canada’s 150 years of history pales in comparison.

It was a shorter walk to the bus and Silvia, our guide assured us there was an escalator so we wouldn’t have to walk all the way down – there was an escalator, but only one and it was coming up!  Oh well, endurance and patience – to the bus we went.

Leaving town we stopped at a ceramic factory and store where we sampled wine, olive oils, truffles and chocolates. Then it was time to rest on the bus as we made our way to Pistoia, outside of Florence in Tuscany.  Today is the half way point of the trip – we left home last Wednesday and we will return home a week from tomorrow.  May our endurance and our patience, carry us through…along with a healthy dose of laughter and friendship.

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