Here I am standing on the restaurant patio overlooking the lake.
Here's a shot down the road in the Castel Gandolfo gardens. I tried to give an impression of the dimensions of the place in this and the following pictures. Enjoy.
Here's my friend Jason sitting under what must be a tree as ancient as the Roman ruins scattered around it.
Speaking of Roman ruins, here are the ruins of the tunnel the Roman Emperor would use to get around these gardens in the rain or in heavy sunlight.
This was a tranquil little Marian grotto in which Pope John Paul II would end his prayer walk through the gardens. Pope Benedict often uses this grotto for prayer, as well.
These are the Pope's fish, which live in the pool in the Marian grotto. According to Archbishop Harvey, they are so used to being fed by the Pope, they instinctively draw near to the edge of the pool whenever anyone wearing all white stands nearby. We tried to get the sisters traveling with us to test this statement, but they were rather reluctant. It was actually rather funny- the Pope keeps his fish bread in the ruins of a wall where a rock has fallen out- a rather humble storage place for the Pope's fish bread. I suppose you would have had to have seen it to fully appreciate it.
Here we are, gathered around the pool. Shortly thereafter we all prayed the Salve Regina in honor of Our Lady and the Holy Father. Note my Australian friend wearing a baseball cap with his dress clerics. [:)
Behold the Papal swimming pool! It's actually impossible to see in this picture, but that's where it is, anyway- that building past the fence and the foliage... as I said before, it used to be an outdoor pool, but it had to be covered to protect the Pope from the papparazzi.
Now for a few pictures of the Castel Gandolfo farmland. They had various produce, olive trees, greenhouses, and even some cows, as you'll see in one of the pictures. There is also a helipad in one of the shots, which is rather self-explanatory.
Finally, we took a nice group picture with the Archbishop. Afterwards, Francis and I got a shot with the Archbishop as the seminarians from Kalamazoo. He actually remembered Father Fleckenstein from his time at the NAC, which was highly impressive.
Well, that's it for now. More to come soon. Stay tuned for pictures of our Labor Day First Year vs Second Year Softball game, as well as my trip to the Swiss Guard Barracks and anything else that comes up between now and then. May God bless you all.