Covering the Conclave: Bill's Blog

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KPRC Local 2 anchor Bill Balleza is covering the Conclave from the Vatican. Read about his experience covering the event with special projects producer Debbie Strauss and photojournalist Byron Nichols. Follow Bill on Facebook and Twitter to see pictures of his trip! All times listed below are Houston time.

March 15

Romans are the best parallel parkers in the world. They practically park on top of one another!

March 14, 12 p.m.

Look at this! Look who won the NBC Rome bureau office pool. I took a wild guess based upon the last conclave and got lucky! It was one euro to enter. I couldn't collect because everyone welched on the deal, including me!

March 14, 10:25 a.m.

We found the Italian version of Beaver Nuggets.  They're like spicy rice cakes.

March 13, 7 p.m.

Today was the day! We saw white smoke from the Sistine Chapel.

March 13, 6:45 a.m.

This morning I interviewed the Gerzina family from Richmond. They're on a Spring Break trip to Italy. We watched together as black smoke poured out of the Sistine Chapel chimney.

March 12, 8:55 a.m.

It's hailing outside, but we're ready to get down to business. This is Byron and me in the staging area getting ready to go live on KPRC Local 2! We're reporting live from a balcony just yards away from St. Peter's Basilica.

March 11, 11 a.m.

Preparations continue in St. Peter's Square for the new Pope. Today crews installed drapes in the window where the Pope will make his debut.

March 11, 4 a.m.

Beef ... it's what's for dinner.  We found a great steak restaurant in Rome. Pasta in Italy is wonderful, but a true Texan knows where to find a good T-bone steak in the heart of Roma!

March 10, 11:50 a.m.

It started off as a beautiful day in Rome, but tonight we're dodging downpours. For the first time since our trip, we're experiencing thunder and lightning.

March 10, 8:25 a.m.

It's been a busy morning in Italy. I interviewed Cardinal DiNardo this morning before Mass at his honorary church in Rome. Across town, Houston's St. Anne's Catholic Church choir performed at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.  You'll hear from the choir Monday night on KPRC Local 2.

March 9, 10:45 a.m.

Italians sure do know their lasagna.  This  pan is 2 feet by 1 feet!

March 9

This is a look at our food table at the KPRC work space. Amazingly, by the time we showed up, the food was already gone. But look what was left behind ... Nutella!

March 8, 12:55 p.m.

This is the closet where I record the voice tracks for my stories.

March 8

Here is a tour of the KPRC work space. It's in the basement of a building where priests live.  We share the work space with NBC News, the Today Show, Nightly News, Telemundo and other NBC affiliates.  NBC's Anne Thompson was kind enough to show me the closet where we can record our voice tracks for our pieces.

March 8, 10:15 a.m.

Even if you're far from home, you always take Texas with you.  We've run into dozens of Houstonians.  During the next week you'll hear from seminarians, young school children and large groups of friends all here in Vatican City watching history unfold.

March 7, 9:40 a.m.

In between interviews and news conferences, we try to find landmarks. We're also looking for the pizza place Ken Hoffman recommended!

March 7, 7:50 a.m.

After a good night's sleep and a full breakfast, we're ready for another busy day.  We started the morning off with a news conference attended by media from around the world.

March 6, 11:50 a.m.

You'll never know what you'll find when you travel to another country. Well, it turns out Italy loves "The Voice" just as much as America.  We've seen dozens of these billboards across Rome.  But, that's not Christina, Blake, Cee Lo or Adam.

March 6, 4:30 a.m.

After a long day and night of travel we made it to Rome!  We hit the ground running. I met a man from Houston who also traveled to Rome for the Conclave. You can watch my interview tonight on KPRC Local 2.

March 5, 12:15 p.m.

The team is at Bush Intercontinental Airport getting ready to board our flight to Philadelphia and then off to Rome.  We've already filed our first piece of our journey. You can watch it tonight on KPRC Local 2! 

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