After years of yearning to see the Grand Canyon, I recently caught my first glimpse. The Canyon is way beyond grand– it’s indescribably magnificent, beyond glorious. It’s overwhelming. My heart started racing, the sight literally took my breadth away and almost brought tears to my eyes.
Having built up a lifetime of dazzling expectations, I was afraid of being disappointed, but the reality was exactly the opposite –the view of twisted ravines, spectacular plateaus, and layers of terracotta, muted gold and brown rock were more stunning than I’d hoped; dramatic, scary and unfathomably deep.
I wanted to sit and just contemplate, however, my time was limited. Instead I quickly walked along trying to inhale every angle and vista possible. My photos do incredible injustice to the majestic two thousand million year-old gorge.
I touched a mere smattering of the 280 mile-long natural wonder. I peeked thousands of feet below from the South Rim near the Visitor’s Center to the Bright Angel Lodge. I also traveled by car to the 70-foot tall Watchtower at Desert View, which provided more astounding vistas. And then a friend confided that the North Rim view is even more spectacular.
Next time, and trust me, there will be a next time, I plan to hike all the way down to the bottom of Grand Canyon National Park, ride a donkey and savor a sunrise or sunset. But for now, I’m content with my tantalizingly short sojourn to this most sacred and humbling place.
For Visitor Information: http://www.arizonaguide.com/
We left Langdon and Vittoria racing along the pasetto (corridor) from Castle Sant’Angelo to St Peter’s Basilica. Our story now picks up speed, makes confusing turns and exposes a few devilish surprises, as it nears the climax.
I won’t try to summarize or give away the plot; you simply must read the book or go to the movie. But, let’s just say, both versions lead to our next site. We venture deep below the Vatican– to the Necropolis .
Most visitors to Rome, and many residents, have no knowledge of the hidden city lying two stories below the main altar. Ancient mausoleums were not uncovered until 1939 when Pope Pius XII ordered a secret archeological dig. He hoped to find St. Peter’s grave . The result of their discoveries was not publicly announced until decades later.
I learned of the Vatican Scavi (necropolis) tour while researching my 2008 trip to Italy, and applied for tickets. Only 150-200 people per day are permitted into the tombs. Tickets costs just ten euro, but must be requested months ahead.
The morning I arrived at St Peters, I stopped a priest to ask for directions to the meeting point. I showed him my confirmation letter and he looked at me, smiled; then said, “You are blessed.”
And I was. To stand in the most sacred space in Rome is incredibly powerful.
I wrote a descriptive article about the Scavi tour, recently published by Bootsnall.com. I hope you will use this link to read the details of the search for St. Peter’s tomb .