Monday, June 2, 2008

Snav Sicilia, the Fruise Ship

No, that's not a typo. We meant FRUISE ship... defined as a cross between a cruise ship and a ferry! We boarded the Snav Sicilia with our heavy bags and found our way to our cabins pretty easily. Space for four in a cabin was at a premium (we felt a bit like sailors in a submarine), but we made the most of it. Some tried their hand at karaoke--Italian style, while others enjoyed the view of the island and the sunrise over Mount Vesuvius. Little sleep was had, but Snav is now a household name for us!

To backtrack a little... Our afternoon took us to Monreale--a quaint and picturesque little village on top of the mountain with one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Italy. We took the buses as far as we could up the mountain and then hiked the rest of the way up what felt like miles of stairs... but it was all worth it once we got to the top. Not only was the view of Palermo, the sea, and the valley incredible, but to hear the Choir sing in the cathedral is something none of us will forget.

From the outside, the church is very modest--nothing special in fact. Once you go through the gates and the oversized doors, though, you realize why this place is such a treasure. The entire place is mosaic... tiny tiles of marble and gold wind around each arch and column telling the stories of the Bible. You see Noah and the animals as well as the garden of Eden, the birth of Jesus, and the crucifiction. At the center of it all is the mosaic of Christ, hands out spread. Needless to say it is quite an honor to be able to sing in such a place!

The Choir robed and prepared as groups continued to tour the sanctuary, but when they started to sing the people came from every corner to listen. Who are you? Where are you from? How did you get to sing here? ... they asked. Incredible place, appreciative crowd, and talented performers... things just don't get better than that!