Tuesday, January 06, 2009


This will be the only other post I do on my Rome trip. For those of you who don't know, I spent 10 days after Christmas touring with the choir I sing with, Collegium Cantorum, as part a 15th anniversary celebration. Many of you also don't know that I have lived in Rome on two different occasions, so going back is always a bit like going home. It was a wonderful trip. I am an avid believer in world travel and I try to convince people to do it whenever I can. This poem captures a lot of the reason why I feel so strongly about that (as well as being one of my favorite poems) and I've been looking for an excuse to work it into a blog anyway, so here it is.

That the Science of Cartography Is Limited

—and not simply by the fact that this shading of
forest cannot show the fragrance of balsam,
the gloom of cypresses,
is what I wish to prove.

When you and I were first in love we drove
to the borders of Connacht
and entered a wood there.

Look down you said: this was once a famine road.

I looked down at ivy and the scutch grass
rough-cast stone had
disappeared into as you told me
in the second winter of their ordeal, in

1847, when the crop had failed twice,
Relief Committees gave
the starving Irish such roads to build.

Where they died, there the road ended

and ends still and when I take down
the map of this island, it is never so
I can say here is
the masterful, the apt rendering of
the spherical as flat, nor
an ingenious design which persuades a curve
into a plane,
but to tell myself again that

the line which says woodland and cries hunger
and gives out among sweet pine and cypress,
and finds no horizon

will not be there.

--Eavan Boland

Here is the first sunrise I saw over Europe.

We had a terrible time actually getting there. Most of our group missed our first connection and many of us were re-routed through Madrid or Prague, arriving much later than scheduled.....and with no luggage. Here we are the day after we arrived impatiently waiting for a change of clothes!!

The Santa Scala (Holy Stairs) were brought by St. Helen from Jerusalem. They are believed to be the stairs that Christ walked up to receive judgement from Pontius Pilot. Pilgrims climb the steps on their knees.

Judas, mercator pessimus!

Dolci di Roma...

San Giovanni in Laterno

Waiting for the bus.

St Paul Outside the Walls
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Florence. I have a lot of pictures of this bridge, the Ponte Vecchio. It is my favorite spot in Florence, and I spent a lot of time there that day.

Assisi. Possibly one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth.

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I love real Italian food!! I'm so sorry I didn't get a photo of any of our cafes. We drank them all the time.

Palestrina, home of the man who composed a lot of the music we sing. I really liked this wall for some reason.

Garth, working his magic...

San Prassede back in Roma.

"When we have left Rome, we are astonished by the discovery, by-and-by, that our heart-strings have mysteriously attached themselves to the Eternal City, and are drawing us thitherward again, as if it were more familiar, more intimately our home, than even the spot where we were born!"

-- Nathaniel Hawthorne

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