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Friday, November 30…

Day 6…

Appian bus station…

Journal entry

Up at 5:00 a.m..

Slept well enough, and we were in bed by 9:00 p.m.

All of us skipped the shower this morning. I’m sure we all had our own reasons.

My personal reason was that I had hardly been dry for the past two days, thanks to all the rain that we have been getting.

Left the hotel at about 5:45 a.m., and ordered a cab to take to the Appian bus station.

We were obviously a little early.

That was one of Frank’s habits.

Making us rush like hell, only to find that we would arrive an hour early.

But not all is lost:

He remembered seeing a coffee shop around the corner and suggested we head there.

It sounded like a good idea. A warm place to go and a good cup of coffee to boot.

Win-Win!

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The place was about half the size of your average North American coffee shop, with a long glass counter that pretty well cut any remaining space for the customers in half.

There were maybe six small tables squeezed in. Not much elbow room, but when in Rome, things do tend to get up close and personal

Frank had two expressos, I had one.

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Jen ordered fresh squeezes orange juice, and to our surprise, they squeezed it through an orange press right in front of us.

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Our host…

It was like being in a fairy tale.

She also ordered a croissant.

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(If only the coffee shops at home were like this…)

Every time someone enters the shop, a loud chorus of:

“BUONGIORNO” … “BUONGIORNO” … “BOUNGIORNO” …

… follows as each and every person is greeted like they are witnessing the beginning of a Verdi opera scene.

And you get the immediate sense that they really mean it.

Whether it be a local patron looking for their morning expresso or cappuccino or a vendor delivering fresh cream pastries it’s always the same.

This scene repeats itself every-time someone leaves the coffee shop as well.

As the departing individual holds out his arm to each of us in turn with a loud and meaningful:

“CIAO” … “CIAO” …”CIAO” …

Incredible.

After we finished our coffees we left the warmth of the coffee shop and headed out into the street while dawn was just beginning to break.

However, we would not be able to board our bus for another twenty minutes.

And so we wait inside the bus station where they have a small designated seating area would would be able to comfortably hold a dozen people tops.

Currently, I am sharing my space with a large rotating rack of postcards that look older than the ones I inherited from my Grandmother.

I would like to add that the postcard images of Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict are both beaming down at me and Jen as we wait.

I hope that is a good sign that the day will go well.

7:56 a.m.

On the bus at last and heading to Naples.
It is raining And the soft continual swishing from the bus’s windshield wipers is making me sleepy.

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Fatigue. I am suddenly overcome with fatigue…..

Doing my best to keep an eye on the Italian countryside. The sleepy little towns continue to drift by and if I listen hard enough I can hear them calling my name.

We finally have a patch of blue sky. I hope that it follows us all the way to Pompeii.

9:23 a.m.

After a neat little nap, we are about to land at the bus stop in Montecassino…

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