This is my first Ash Wednesday away from home, and I do miss my parish, especially on a day like this. My thoughts go back to many Ash Wednesdays, as I sit in a Roman trattoria, having a very paltry collatio of hot tea and a piece of bread. I wouldn't ordinarily even mention what I'm having, but I don't want you to think I'm living it up on a day of fasting. (Hint: liquid doesn't break the fast, so I ordered a pot of tea. But no sugar.)
I am thinking of the Ash Wednesday (or was it Good Friday?) as an intern, and the pastor and I had ordered some Chinese food delivered; I'd ordered something without meat, but it came with meat. The pastor dispensed me.
And I think of my first year at Saint Boniface as pastor, and I didn't know if we had enough ashes. So I ordered some by mail. (You can do that.) When Ash Wednesday came, however, I found an AMPLE supply of ashes hidden away.
Today I slept a little late, because I've got a bit of a cold, and I will be rising early and traveling tomorrow, so I thought it a good idea to take it easy. Plus, if you're going to fast all day...
After an even more simple Roman breakfast (plenty of coffee), I spent the morning organizing my itinerary for Germany, and reserving my first two nights' lodging. I had to go pick up my laundry and get some cash at the bank, and get tickets for the bus (I was going to use the Italian word for ticket, but auto-correct made a mess of that). I love Rome, but not it's payment system for the bus. You cannot pay on the bus. You must have a ticket, which you validate in a machine on the bus. And they do check.
The problem is this: if you don't have a ticket, you can hunt quite awhile for a store or an automated machine that sells them. Lesson: always have one or two.
So I got my tickets, and caught a bus down to Saint Peter's for a visit. Then I was going to do a little shopping for a purple travel stole, and wander about on what turned into a beautiful day.
Well, I'm happy to say the line for Saint Peter's was huge. So I skipped that, and have been prowling around the stores. I found a simple stole for €23 (about $33); I really wanted a fancy one, but they were in the hundreds, and is think I can do better if I keep looking.
Now I'm polishing off my pot of tea, and I'll go see if Saint Peters is less mobbed. Then I'll head back to pack for tomorrow, get some dinner, and make arrangements for my taxi for tomorrow.