By Len Friesen, Tour Leader
I missed a day of blogging and feel as if I am a month behind… so much happens on a trip like this. But yesterday we said good-bye to Rome, a city packed more than normal with its Annual Marathon race, all of which unfolded right in front of our hotel. We then made our way to Assisi, a medieval jewel set on a Umbrian hill.
24 hours later this is what Mary and I can say about Assisi: People in our group love this hill town, top to bottom. They love the pink hue of its stone-walled buildings and its narrow winding streets and walkways. They love the feel overlooking the green plains down below the city walls. They love the way that they feel when they are here.
People love the story of Francis, who goes from playboy to God’s pauper within the shortest of time periods, and in the process grabbed the attention of the entire church/world. The two basilicas dedicated to Francis, stacked one on top of the other, are both rich in recalling the life of this saint. Their walls contain the history of western art in miniature, yet tell the story of this humble monk and the faith he surrendered to completely (and joyfully, even to his death). And that’s before we get to his contemporary Clare, who founds the “Poor Clares” as a female counterpart to the Franciscans. Already we found ourselves returning several times to this setting as we pondered the meaning embedded in pigments and paintings.
We just returned from our evening meal a short walk away (that’s because everything in Assisi is a short walk away!). We’ll return one last time to the Basilicas tomorrow morning, then make our way to Florence by train in the early afternoon.