Day Six was January 2nd. New Year's Day was beautiful except for that horrid dinner we could not stop talking about. Today was the day to travel North, and oddly enough, looking through our pictures we discover that only one picture was taken that day. The Day was to begin with some comedic frustration. Before starting this trip I had secured an International Driving Permit because the Car Rental agency told me I needed one. The Embassy told me that if I went to the Auto Club near Termini they would provide me one. So after Mass and breakfast we got on the Metro and headed for Termini. Quickly we found the Auto Club, but they would not provide that Permit because there was no stamp in my passport that indicated I was in the country legally. I tried to explain that it was a new passport, but the fact was that none of us had our passports stamped at the airport when we arrived. It was extremely frustrating, They tried explaining but their English was limited. So we caught a taxi to the Embassy. Surprise, surprise, the Embassy is closed. That little first day robbery was going to upset our plans after all. We decided just to try the Rental agency, and we were relieved to find out they only asked for my passport and my California Drivers License. With all that done, we drove to our Villa, gathered our luggage and got on the road.
Diving in Rome is an adventure. Driving out of Rome is a puzzle, but we made it on to the Autostrada and headed north. When we got on the highway, my friends dug out of my knapsack some of the CDs I had purchased in Rome and proceeded to provide some music for the journey. One of the CDs was the music in Latin of the Roman Rite and caused a great deal of discussion and reflection on the trip. So much so, that we missed our turn. We turned around and headed in the right direction but soon enough we missed our turn again and found that we were taking the long way to Assisi via Perugia.
We kept going but soon I saw a road sign that indicated an exit for the little town Bastardo. This was a place familiar to me from previous trips and my reaction to the sign would provide my traveling companions a great deal of comic relief over the next few days. We took the exit and soon found our way over the hills and valleys of Umbria. We came up the back side of Castagnola and the little shrine of Madonna del Fosco and came to the Abbey of San Felice. From there we traveled up the hill through very narrow roads to Rifugio San Gaspare at the top of the Mountain. We discovered the Ristorante there was closed, so we made our way back down the hill to a little hotel that was open in Giano. It was a late lunch for us, but no less satisfying as we experienced a traditional Umbrian pranzo. After lunch we went back to San Felice and roused Fr. Luciano. He was surprised to see us as he was not expecting us for another two days. We assured him we would be back, but I got permission to show my friends around this birthplace of the Congregation.
After San Felice we were back on the Road following Fr. Luciano’s directions through Bastardo, Foligno and on to Assisi. We took another wrong turn here that had us heading into the narrow streets of Assisi from the back instead of the front. After a few stops to ask directions we found ourselves at the guest house run by the Sisters of St. Brigit. My notes tell me we got registered, took a nap, had dinner at the Guesthouse, took a walk, and then on to bed. I do not remember much about that night except the fact that I was very tired.