From where we parked the bus in Philadelphia, it was about a 20-minute walk to the subway. The ride on the subway was fast. Then we walked for about 45 minutes and joined a crowd of people walking to Benjamin Franklin Parkway. We understood that it would take us to security points that we had to get thru to get to see the pope's Mass.
It took us about four hours!
We inched our way along, baby step by baby step--for four hours! It was excruciatingly slow and maddening. Even so, it could have been worse. Everyone was nice and happily excited. We were kind to each other. Every once in awhile someone would start singing and we'd join in. We'd make a wave. Someone tossed a balloon around. We prayed a rosary. People who spoke other languages joined in, in their language. It was wonderful. We lucked out weather-wise also. It was about 60 degrees and cloudy. IOW, cool and comfortable.
Finally, we got through the security checks to see everyone give each other the "kiss of peace." Distribution of communion was next and we received. Then it was over. I really didn't get to see the pope, except on a jumbotron. But I received communion at a papal mass; I'm happy.
Some people on my bus never got through. They were turned away because the Mass was over. All that trouble waiting, and they never got through.
Then we backtracked--hour walk to subway--subway ride--20-minute walk to the bus. The subway was mobbed with people. But everyone was singing in their language, mostly Spanish. All were happy.
We waited about an hour at the bus for everyone to come back. There was an eclipse going on so we were blessed to view it.
We left the parking lot at 8:30 PM. (Remember this time; it'll be important, later.)
In Connecticut, the bus driver announced, "I have bad news. The check engine light is on and we're losing power." The bus pulled over to the breakdown lane and slowly died.
Every bus was busy. Every bus driver was working. We waited 2-3 hours for a rescue bus. A tow truck came in a couple of hours to take the broken bus away. Then when the rescue bus arrived one of our passengers refused to get on the bus because the driver wasn't a fresh driver. Eventually, however, she got on the bus and we were off.
While waiting to be rescued, we played cards. I learned how to play rummy with two decks. Some people slept. Some high schoolers did homework. Others just talked quietly.
The rest of the ride was uneventful. We arrived back home at 7:30 AM.
Around 6:00 AM we heard that the pope arrived in Rome. Imagine that! The pope flew back to Rome and was sleeping in his own bed before us!
Was it worth it?
Would I do it again? Not for all the whiskey in Ireland!