(that is on Monday evening ... late and upon our return home ... finally sent on Wednesday)Hello everyone (would love to be saying "Buenos Dias, Buenos Tardes, etc.);Well, as you can guess, we are home. It was not easy leaving and the 3 weeks seemed to go by so fast.Our last morning in Madrid was relaxed since we had a 2:30 pm flight. After a great night's sleep we got up and went down for our Cafe con Leche'. Unfortunately after topping of the gas tank I was down to a few euro's. We each had a cup and were able to split another, leaving enough for the 1 toll but not enough for anything else.
While we were having our final cafe con leche' and as I had been doing a lot on the trip I would look at Sue and just say BIMBO. She would get mad, or just act mad, but today I finally had to spill the beans. I told her to turn around. The sign on the building in bright red said "BIMBO" A trucking company I saw everywhere. She laughed out loud and I think out of relief that I wasn't talking about her.We spent some time before leaving for the airport trying to finish trip reports and some final packing. Time to go we left, set princess for the last time and headed out. I sent Sue in to pay the bill since I didn't have my credit card. Fifteen minutes later we were unpacking at the car return. I spent a few moments with the car (did I tell you I love this car), the attendant thought we were nuts.Checked in and through security we headed to the VIP lounge, grabbed a couple comfortable chairs and settled in, again working the reports, yet in great comfort with all kinds of food and beverages, Just about anything you desired.A group of Japanese sat near us and they had a party. They were funny with the food and wine flowing freely. I ended up taking a picture of them when 2 attendants had to come to their table and clean up some of the dishes and glassware. They laughed and we entered into a long conversation.( I lived in Okinawa for 2 years and had been to Japan) When I told them about it and the fact that I worked for a general one of the men got up and bowed and we all went hysterical. The were funny and we all talked for quite awhile.The boarding call came for them and we all bid good bye and soon after we were heading for our flight. 10 hours from now we would be in Miami, God willing. The flight was very smooth and traveling business (I love those miles) makes it tolerable. They served a 6 course lunch, the main dish was a little scary, a good thing we ate something earlier. We had 4 meals today! Things are looking up.We landed ahead of schedule but were late , we had to wait for a parking spot, at the very farthest part of the airport. A 3 mile walk to immigration where 3 other planes had unloaded we had a long wait. It's quicker getting on a ride at Disney during spring break than getting thru immigration. finally through and another mile of walking we got our rental and headed home. The thing I knew I would miss most, as I drove, was the mountains in Europe. Military Trail just doesn't do it.
Home at last we unloaded, Immediately turned on the TV (checked the refrigerator to make sure it was still empty) and began to unpack. 9 pm , 3 AM in Spain, let the jet lag begin!!!This trip as all the others brought us home so much more enriched in our faith and closer to God. It is impossible not to feel that way after the experiences we have had and the testimony of so many wonderful people we have met, true witnesses of the power of God, through Our Blessed Mother. We hope, even if you are not sure or have fallen away from your beliefs, that these past 22 days traveling with us you will at least question and search out for answers.We have found ours before but we needed to get away from all the daily distractions and immerse ourselves in prayer to renew our beliefs and revitalize our convictions. It's not easy in the world we live in. We prayed very hard for conversion for so many souls that may be lost and we will continue to do so.We hope you all enjoyed the back seat of the car and if you have any questions or would like any information on the places we have been to please ask we would love to hear from you.We continue to Pray for each and every one of you and we hope that your Intentions/Prayers will be heard and answered. To those of you who have already emailed us with "success stories" with your intentions, we are thankful to Our Blessed Mother for having heard "Your Prayers". For those of you who have not ... please continue to Pray ... it is in God's Time ... not ours. Never, ever give up!Our last thoughts for this journey:The thing I missed most at home.A shower I can turn around in and bend down so I don't have to drop soap suds on my feet.My bed, of course.The time to have 3 meals a day.Susan missed nothing!
The things I'll miss most about Europe.Did I tell you I loved that Car?Fresh octopus and cafe con leche.The mountains.The ability to walk in the footsteps of Our Blessed Mother.Susan misses everything!
A RECAP OF OUR
22 DAY "PERSONAL PILGRIMAGE"40 Sacred Shrines/Basilicas/Churches Visited or Attempted To Visit:28 - Open; 9 - Closed; 2 - Had to cancel our plans to visit1 - Got there but couldn't get inTotal Miles Driven - 2,970 Miles(Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles to Las Vegas ... are you kidding?)Gas - $ 640.00 U.S. DollarsGallons of Gas - 80 (37 MPG - Did I tell you I love this car???)Tunnels - 34 (Much to Susan's dismay)Mountain Ranges Driven - 9Toll Booths - $ 179.00
(don't know yet about a possible fine from Portugal)"Just In Case" Bag Used Items out of 37 - ONE!(Tape for Susan's foot ... if she didn't fall at the Church, we would have been 37 for 37 ... anyone want to buy a heating pad from us (unused)????????)Items Lost or Forgotten - 4 -- Susan's Brown Scapular (now replaced);My Credit Card & 2 Sandwiches ... did you ever hear of Betteneuser (the loser????? )!Cow & Horse Bells Heard - ThousandsDashboard Photo Shots from Susan - HundredsMeals Missed .... Too Many To Count(Longest stretch without food - 29 hours)Bread Consumed - Way Too Much(Almost as many as the miracle of the loaves & fishes)Memento's for our Religious Table - I need another day or week to count them!Susan's Bracelet33 Medals in total from all of the Apparition Siteswe have visited over the years that arededicated to Our Blessed MotherA MULTIDUDE OF "ANGELS" WE MET ALONG THE WAYAND ONE "FLORA" !!!MY CLOSING THOUGHT & PRAYERFather, thank you for all we have because it is only thru you that we live and survive.Hear our prayers that, through Mary to Jesus, we offer to you.Be patient with us and in your great mercy, save us from damnation.Help us to accept our trials of this life knowing that they are your design and for a greater purpose.May we learn to accept our sufferings and offer them up for the conversion and sins of the world.May we always remember the great sacrifice offered by your Son, Jesus, and shared with His Blessed Mother for our salvation.Give us the strength to live this life in thanksgiving no matter what we may face and as unfair as it may seem.And when our time comes to depart this world may we be greeted by the Holy Family and finally see your face. Amen. ( Tom Melillo)May God Bless each and every one of you,Love,Tom and Susan