Tips to make Italy train travel a breeze

Italy is one of the world’s most beautiful places. Since the time of the Romans and before, travelers have long sought out this part of Europe. From the snow capped mountains of the Italian Alps to the joys of the pretty beaches at the foot of Italy, Italy is a traveler’s delight. Despite offering culture, art and wonderful views at every turn, the nation of Italy is a relatively compact place. This makes it easy to get around. There are many ways for people to travel around Italy. People can flit from village to village by boat or head out one of the country’s famous highways. One of the most popular forms of all transport is by train. Italy’s trains are famously run on time and crisscross the entire country.

While travel by train is a great way to see both urban Italy and the Italian countryside, Italian trains can also be stressful. It helps to keep a few tips in mind when buying tickets, boarding, sitting on the train and heading out from the train platform. It also helps to keep a few tips in mind when navigating from one Italian line to the next.

 

Different Types of Trains

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that most Italian trains have two classes. There’s first class and second class. There are few differences between the two. Many local city trains, such as those found in Rome, do not have classes at all. Another important thing to keep in mind are the many different types of Italian train lines. There are both public train lines and privately run train lines.

In general, the Italian lines are divided into three types.

The Le Frecce trains provide high speed rail transit between major Italian cities.

Other important lines are the EuroCity, the InterCity, and the international train lines. These trains are part of a much larger network of trains typically spanning not only Italy but the surrounding nations as well. These are often covered by a rail pass.

There also regional trains. Regional trains are the local workhorse of the area, serving both travelers as well as commuters on their way to work.

 

Advance Reservations

It’s highly important to keep in mind that some lines require travelers to make advanced reservations. The Le Frecce lines require such reservations. It’s a good idea to make them as soon as your travel. Travelers can purchase specific passholder seat reservations that are reserved for their use. These are sold at both train stations and from many travel agencies in the United States and other places. If you have your agenda already, you’re in luck. You can easily reserve more than one of your planned trains during a single visit to the platform. You are not required to meet deadlines so this can be shortly before boarding. It’s a good idea to do this well in advance before you travel. Look up each route that you want to take before you go so. Make sure you know when the train departs and when it arrives.

 

Specific Trains

Many Italian trains travel a route that includes several major cities in a single city. For example, a train may go from Florence to Rome and then to Naples. However, some trains stick to specific route. Be aware of these routes before you leave. For example, the Circumvesuviana brings travelers from Naples and then to Pompei and to further south to Amalfi. This is the only train that covers these routes. Likewise, the Malpensa Express train is the train that will get you from the center of Milan to the airport. These train lines should be reserved in advance whenever possible. If you have not done so, you should make sure to allow enough time to get the station. During the busier and more popular tourist times, seats fill up fast. Getting there early will help you make sure you don’t miss your connections and you do get a seat.

 

Where to Buy Tickets

It is possible to buy a rail pass. However, the rail pass is not accepted on all lines. In that case, you may need to buy your tickets at the station. There are ticket machines found in all railways. At the same time, many people avoid these machines as they can be complicated and confusing. Buying ticket at the ticket window gives you more options and a person to speak with. Make sure you are standing in the right line or you’ll have to start all over again. Buying tickets at travel agencies may cost a little more but it can help avoid crowds and work with people who understand the local trains intimately. They frequently have discounts not available to the general public. Keep in mind there are discounts available for certain groups. For example, if you are sixty or over, you can save money on your train fare. The same is true for those under twenty-five and under. They can also be eligible for discount train tickets. Sensible measures will make your Italian train travel far easier and far less stressful.

Cause for Servant of God Rhoda Wise going to Rome

The Formal Diocesan Investigation for the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Rhoda Wise will close on July 6, 2018.   The Acts of the Case will be present and sealed for transport to Rome at a 10:00 am Mass to be held at St. Peter’s in Canton, Ohio on July 7, 2018, the 70th anniversary of her death.

The main celebrant will be Monsignor Robert Siffrin, Vicar General of the diocese.  The celebration will continue with a Eucharistic holy hour, recitation of the Rosary, and the opportunity for Confession after Mass.  Rhoda Wise House and Grotto will open to the public at 1:00pm that day.

See www.rhodawise.com or call 330-453-0322 for further details.

Pope Francis invited to visit the United Arab Emirates

On June 5, 2018 Pope Francis received Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the U.A.E., who was on an official visit to the State of Vatican City, during which he handed over a message from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, inviting Pope Francis to visit the UAE.and was invited to pay a visit to the United Arab Emirates

No date has been announced, but we assume that he will accept the invitation and visit in the not too far distant future.

The U.A.E., a federal union made up of seven states,  has about 10% Catholic population (mostly foreign workers), established full diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 2007.

There are several major Catholic churches in the U.A.E.

Source:  IPS News

Fr. Leo Patalinghug leads a Holy Land tour with a culinary twist

We want everyone to know about this unique opportunity to travel with Fr. Leo Patalinghug as he journeys to the Holy Land and Jordan.  Many of you may know or have seen Fr. Leo on EWTN where he hosts “Grace before meals“.

Learn more about this magnificent part of the world where Jesus walked, preached, was crucified and rose from the dead. You will visit all the holy places:  Bethlehem, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Mt. of Olives (just to name a few)…..and even cross over to Jordan (“the other Holy Land”), the place where Jesus was actually baptized, visit the world famous site of Petra, and the capital city of Amman.

Father Leo will celebrate Mass daily with your group and lead you on some great culinary adventures as well!  You will dine with the locals…and even be involved in the cooking!  You will truly immerse yourself in the Holy Land experience.

You will enjoy dining with locals
You will enjoy dining with locals

Picture dining in the highly regarded Magdalena Restaurant  along the Sea of Galilee; have lunch  at the famous Bedouin Tent Restaurant in Bethlehem with a food presentation by Fr. Leo and Tent’s chefs including local bread and za’atar (great for dunking bread);  dine in the homes of local Christian families of Bethlehem for “Sharing the Bread” home-cooked meals.

You will visit the local chapter of the ‘Slow Food’ network for a cooking class: Bait al Karama is the first female-run cooking school in Palestine, run and managed by disadvantaged women living in the Old City of Nablus. Observe a local chef prepare some classic Palestinian dishes. Enjoy your creations over lunch and discover what life is like for women in this small Palestinian town.

As an expression of our solidarity with the local Christian population, the group will shop in Bethlehem to help support the local Christian families and visit the Crimson Winery, operated by the Salesian Community, where you will enjoy a wine tasting.

In Jordan you will dine at the famous Tawaheen al-Hawa restaurant in Amman;  visit the Beit Sitti cooking school, known as one of the most innovative developments in Jordan’s dining scene. You will get to cook (and eat) an authentic meal under supervision.

Then, the question we get all the time:  is it safe to travel to the Holy Land?  Yes it is probably safer here than anywhere.  Last year saw a record number of visitors to Israel….and all of them returned safely.  Check this blog article about safety in the Holy Land.

We discovered this unique pilgrimage a bit late (it take place June 17-28), but there are few spaces left.  Don’t miss out…..see this exciting itinerary and sign up at Select International Tours.

Five Tips for Train Travel in Europe

5 tips for traveling by train in Europe

See and experience so much more by embarking on a European train adventure. Traveling by train in Europe is the quintessential method for touring Europe and it is no mystery why. The rail network is extremely developed so travelers can conquer multiple countries and cultures in one epic trip. As with any form of travel, it is good to prepare yourself to ensure that you have the easiest and most enjoyable journey possible. Here are our 5 tips for traveling by train in Europe.

Research the different rail passes available

If you are planning to see numerous countries it may be wise to consider investing in an Interrail Pass, or what non-EU citizens call the Eurail Pass. An Interrail Pass will make your train voyage easier. However, if you are on a tighter budget, individual tickets may work out cheaper (especially if you’re mainly traveling east of Germany). Consider your budget and do some research before you book your rail pass. The website saveatrain.com is the perfect place to start to help plan your trip across Europe.

Try to reserve your seats

Train tickets and seat reservations are two different things. A ticket allows you to board a train, and a reservation guarantees you a seat on a specific train. Before your trip make sure you understand whether your train requires, recommends, or doesn’t accept seat reservations.

If possible, try to reserve your seat, especially if you are traveling in uber-popular countries such as France, Italy or Spain. For most trains, you are not required to reserve your seat, however, boarding the train and hoping for the best is not a good idea. You could be told to get out of your seat mid-journey if someone else has booked it. By reserving your place, you can choose whether you would like an aisle or window seat. You can sit back and enjoy the ride knowing you won’t be interrupted to move.


Keep your belongings safe

European train travel is known as one of the safest ways to travel. However, it is important to keep an eye out for pickpocketers, particularly with trains that stop in major cities. Don’t leave your luggage unguarded on the train or in the station. On night trains, if you intend to sleep, make sure to secure baggage to the rack with a small bicycle lock. To have peace of mind, wear a waist pack under your clothes to keep your passport, phone and any important documents protected from any potential thieves.

Less is more –  tips for traveling by train in Europe

Going from country to country or city to city is a fun and exciting journey. However, the trip can become tiring if you are carrying a heavy load. Pack the essentials and leave any items or products that are not needed behind.

Depending on the train you are traveling on, there can be limited storage space in over-seat racks and shelves at the ends of carriages. Instead of carrying a big and heavy suitcase, a quality lightweight backpack is another way to lighten your load.

Pack the right supplies for the journey

Traveling through Europe provides sensational views; however, it is a good idea to bring a few key items to help you pass the time especially if you are embarking on a journey of more than 2 hours. Read a book, watch a movie on your tablet, write in your travel journal or strike up a conversation with another passenger and before you know it you will be at your next destination.

Most trains have either a restaurant, café carriages or snack carts that come by selling sandwiches, soft drinks and more. But if you are on a tight traveling budget or you have specific dietary requirements, it is wise to bring some snacks with you on your journey.

Thinking of traveling by train in Europe? Go online to check out all the exclusive fares at Save A Train and start planning your next adventure!

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Dedication of New Cathedral in Knoxville, TN

A new, magnificent Cathedral has been dedicated in Knoxville, Tenessee.  Among those present were five Cardinals, 21 Bishops, over 100 priests, 58 deacons, and 39 men and women religious.

 

Mass at the dedication of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville
Mass at the Dedication

Notable among them were Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, retired archbishop of Krakow, Poland, and longtime personal secretary to St. John Paul II (who also donated two relics of the saint to the diocese, including a stole frequently worn by St John Paul II); Cardinal William Levada, retired prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Cardinal Justin Rigali, retired Archbishop of Philadelphia and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States.

Find out more about the Cathedral here.

 

Book Review …. “Come and See: A Catholic Guide to the Holy Land”

Come and See A Catholic guide to the Holy LandA gem of a guide book written from the perspective of a Catholic priest’s own travels in the Holy Land. Originally for seminarians, it is really for everyone……layperson or religious.

Loaded with photos, diagrams, Biblical references and spiritual insights, it delves deeper than most guidebooks, incorporating many footnotes and references in addition to the author’s own reflections.

Each Biblical site is organized according to the scriptural background; archaeological history; issues, such as varying Biblical interpretations; and finally (we think this is where it really shines), points for reflection as to how these places might relate to your own spiritual life.

Whether you are an armchair traveler or planning a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, this book is a must. We suggest you read it before you leave for the Holy Land.   Grab a cup of coffee, your Bible and mentally take yourself to those places.

Carry it with you on your pilgrimage: the durable cover will stand up to heavy travel, and its compact size makes it convenient to carry around.   While you are in the Holy Land, it would be useful to read each days’ itinerary before hand: perhaps on the bus, between stops, or at night in your hotel room.

You will want to hang on to this book after your trip as well to relive the experience over and over again.

If it is lacking anything, from our point of view, we wish it had an index. That would make it a bit easier to use when looking for a particular site.

Overall, this is without a doubt the most spiritually rewarding Holy Land Guide book that we have found.

You can order this book here through St. Paul Center and Emmaus Road Publishing

About the author:

Fr. Charles K. Samson is a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a License in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, during which time he studied language, history, and archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A doctoral candidate in the Biblical Theology department of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Fr. Samson helps lead the Holy Land Retreat and Pilgrimage of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

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