Saturday, February 05, 2005

Life at the convent (5/25/02)

I lost the message I wrote for you earlier today, and perhaps I will have better luck this time. As you probably have gathered by now, I had some doubts yesterday about whether staying in Bolsena was a good idea, but I need not have worried; Sheila absolutely loves the town and the convent, and it has proven to be well worth all the hassle we had to go through to get from Viterbo to here. Today has been the slowest day of a very slow-paced vacation, and we have done very little. I got up and read my scriptures this morning, after the best night's sleep I have had so far during this trip; but the view from the window kept distracting me from Isaiah, so I can't say how much I was edified spiritually. Sheila has taken dozens of pictures. Right now she is about 100 feet away from me, in a bench on the piazza, enjoying the breeze and the passersby while I compose this. We will probably eat at some trattoria afterward.

The convent has a webpage , if anyone is interested in looking at it. The convent itself offers a superb view of the town of Bolsena and the lake of the same name, and I think we both could have spent the whole weekend gazing out the windows and doing nothing else.

Last night I made a food run into town, and stopped at a pizzeria, where I was waited on by a lady who has to be the friendliest person I have thus far met in Italy. She went on and on about how good my Italian was, and I told her I really had to struggle with the language when I was tired. Although I did not have this trip in mind when I started studying Italian three years ago, I would have to say that it was unquestionably the single best thing I have done to prepare for it. Certainly it has been a big hit with the local people. At Gelato Heaven on our last night in Florence, the young lady who served us was quite amused when I thanked her for helping me "con la 'nostra' bellissima lingua italiana."

I regret that we will probably have to skip church tomorrow. I rarely do that, but I believe the circumstances justify it this week. The nearest branch is in Terni, which would be extremely difficult to reach, because we would have to take a bus to Viterbo or Bolsena, and then at least two trains to the day's final destination. Even then, I have no idea where the branch is located, or what time it meets. The convent lends itself to peaceful contemplation, however, so we will probably take advantage of that fact and observe the Sabbath as best we can.

I'm going to go ahead and send this off, in order to avoid the kind of luck I have had the last couple of times I have tried to write. I may not write again before Monday, which of course will be our last full day in Italy.




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