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9 January, 1999

Today was an absolutely fabulous day!  I woke and had my first breakfast in the hotel lobby.  It was great and on my way to the study center I felt energized and full of life, driven by the fact that I was here as much more than a tourist.  I was a student of these people's history and life.

We took a bus to the top of Fiesole, the mountain overlooking the magnificent valley.  We visited the Franciscan monastery from the 15th century.  We saw the small cells that the monks lived in and I prayed in the chapel.  The view was amazing as I saw the whole city in one panorama.  The spiritual feeling, however, was more powerful.

We then visited an Etruscan archaeological site.  This site would have been very underwhelming, however, Professor Megan Holmes, a Ph.D. on the subject, gave lectures regarding all of the exhibits.  I was overwhelmed at seeing all of the temples, baths, and, most of all, the theatre.  Overall, it made for a great tour.

Rina cooked dinner which was good, but a little salty due to the concentrated Italian salt which is more powerful than American salt.  Today was the day I really realized why I was here and it was great!  The chance to see all of these ruins and historical sites right in front of me is incomparable.  I hope to have many more days like today.

Move on to the next day, 10 January, 1999.

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