Wednesday, April 7:  5 Hours of Driving

Today was going to be a long driving day, so we got up early. Dad said we should pack up all of our junk, and so we did. I then got dressed to go to breakfast. After everyone was ready, we went to the place we only went once, the one with extra chocolately croissants. We got to sit down after we ordered, right next to the squeezer for the orange juice. It was fun to watch our orange juice being made, and was, of course, very fresh. After I stuffed myself silly, we went to the hotel to grab our bags. Saying goodbye to our room, Dad, with the help of the owner, placed our bags into the dumbwaiter type thingy. Robert, Mom, and I waited at the bottom of all of the flights of stairs until it got to the bottom. I grabbed my bag, and lugged it out of the Palazzo Starace and carried to where our car was parked. After a minute or two we got to the Peugeot was. After we dropped our bags, got in the car, and started the engine, we were off to Assisi!

It was a long drive, about 5 hours, three hours from what my mom guessed. It was a nice quiet hilltown, but we were only at the downtown and boring part. Mom took us to the Santa Maria degli Angeli Church, where St. Francis died of old age. But what was even cooler was the mini chapel that this humongous church was built around! The mini was very old and about the size of a teeny schoolhouse. Robert stopped into the gift shop and bought a rosary, and then we left. It was about 1:30, so I went to lunch. It was at a bakery in town, and I had some pizza. Mom had some sort of bread with wacky stuff on it, including anchovies! I tried an anchovy, and didn’t like it, but I’m glad I ate it. The bakery was closing, so we hurried out and walked back to the car. Now we drove to the top part of Assisi, where our hotel was. Mom just nearly found it when we almost drove away, but pulled in.

It was very pretty with all of the trees, and checked in to the hotel. The man gave us our keys, and then helped us with our bags up the stairs. When I got into the room, I instantly explored it. It had a balcony, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. One room only had one bed, and the other had a double and one single. I got the single, and my brother got his own mini room. Our bathroom was different because you just took a shower on the floor, without a curtain or glass. I dumped my stuff, and Mom took us on a walk around the town planned by Rick Steves, a travel writer who plans self guided tours in his books. Our first stop was the Roman arena, now a hotel. It had a round shape like the colloseum, but wasn’t as big. It was still really neat. Next was the Basilica of Saint Clare. It was very cool, especially because she was buried there. Afterwards, we tried another church, but they were doing some huge oil blessing and we didn’t go in. Our next stop was a little through a teeny door to reveal a huge nativity scene with lights and water and little moving people. It was completely free, but we payed a little contribution because it was so cool. Dad wanted to stop for some more gelato, and how could we say no? I had Nutella and lemon flavored this time. Mom wanted to take us to one last church, and what she said was going to be the coolest, which was....

The Basillica of Saint Francis! There was a huge hedge that had a maroon cross and the letters PAX. When we went inside the front door, were in the Uppper Basilica. It had the life of Saint Francis as a mural, and was pretty cool, including the stigmata. After we had seen enough there, I took the stairs to the Lower Basilica, which was huge! The main part was a huge altar in the center, with more paintings of Saint Francis. We headed down one more stairway to go to his tomb, which was very simple, how he would like it. It was very dark and musty, and I was a little eager to get out. Eventually we did, and took the stairs to get out of the entire church. It was getting late, around dinner, so we left to got to the restaurant with the long name I coudn’t remember. The entire menu was in Italian, so we translated some of it. I ended up getting bread with cooked sausage on it, which was much better than I expected. Afterwards, we all had to walk back to our room, and did so quickly because it was getting chilly. I eventually got back, did my homework, and fell asleep. I wonder what Tuscany will be like tomorrow!