The insanely long line for the Vatican Museum-- the pictures doesn't EVEN do it justice
The second day in Rome
we got up really early so that we could go stand
in line for the Vatican Museum, as had been advised by many people.
Free chocolate croissants and orange juice via a cafe connected to the
hostel. MMM. I don’t know why it was so good! It was though. Did I
mention that our hostel was called the “Popp Inn” Hostel? What the
hell. TERRIBLE pun.
ANYWAY-- Vatican. We took the subway/metro to the Vatican, and when we
got there at about 8:30 (it was supposed to open at 9:00), the line was
already insane. We didn’t realize how long it actually was. I was glad
we got there when we did, though, because in the half an hour that
followed, before the building was even opened, the line at least
doubled in size.
The Gallery of Maps
We later learned that a whopping 6,000 people enter
the Vatican DAILY, and I am not surprised by how the lines looked. At
least most people were patient about it. Everyone knew they would get
inside eventually and see what they wanted to see. I think we were in
that line for about two hours. OY. Mary and I got in and realized how
HUGE the museum was, and knew that we couldn’t spend the time it would
take to appreciate the whole thing. So, we tried to move through
swiftly. There were some rooms that were really incredible though, like
the Gallery of Maps... one of the rooms I liked the best...
magnificent art... what a collection... ancient maps in this very long
hallway that was covered from ceiling to floor (including the ceiling,
of course), with beautiful art.
My illegal picture of The Creation of Adam
Very, very overwhelming. We saw The
Transfiguration, too. We stayed in a few rooms for a while, admiring
the art, but didn’t stay more than an hour or so in the rest of the
museum until we reached the Sistine Chapel. We stayed in the Sistine
Chapel for a very long time. There is a LOT to look at in there. It
hurts your neck, though, since most of the exciting stuff is on the
ceiling, including, of course, The Creation of Adam. MAN... Botticelli,
Raphael, Michelangelo... You hear about all this stuff growing up, but
to see the real thing right in front of your face... very surreal. It
was great knowing a thing or do about Christianity, also, because I
could peg down what a lot of the frescoes were about. I tried to take a
picture of The Creation of Adam, because everyone else was, but I got
Mary and I, quite overwhelmed, in the gardens of the Vatican Museum (St. Peter's in the background)
I have a blurry one, though. I liked The Last Judgment
better, though. There is so much detail, and so many strange things
going on in this one picture. After we thought we couldn’t take in any
more, we went to get a breath of fresh air in the gardens. And some
pizza from the cafeteria. We had pizza a lot. It was usually really
cheap. Even sort of cheap in the museum.
On we walked to St. Peter’s Basilica. A very Catholic day for us. There
were bajillions of people in the area outside the church. It looked
like there might have been some kind of festival going on, because
people had flags and signs and there were groups of boys chanting...
But no, it was just a regular day in Vatican City. We got in what
appeared to be the line for the Basilica.
All the crazies gatering by St. Peter's Basilica
Some English people (from the
North, I deciphered with my trained ear), were in front of us, and
found sanctuary in talking in English with us. We made guesses about
what might have been going on there and why everyone was being so
crazy, as there were a lot of chairs set out before a kind of stage.
After a while of standing in a line that we realized was not moving, we
saw the crowds part and heard the screaming, and right there, in the
Pope-mobile, is the POPE. Just hanging out. It was SUCH a surprise, as
we hadn’t planned to be here at this time. We waved to him, even though
we were far away. I hope Grandma is proud. We later found out that if
Mary and I had checked with the church before we left, we would have
been able to use some “Hey, I’m Catholic” card to see the Pope give a
Something possibly interesting going on?
Oh well. Everyone cleared out after the Pope left, though, which
means they were all there just to see him pass by after mass. I guess I
didn’t realize that a religious figure could be such a big celebrity,
but it was as if these people had just seen a big movie star.
Anyway, after the Pope sighting, my assumptions about Italians and
waiting in lines was enforced, as people started climbing over the
fences once the church opened. Definitely frustrating, but what can you
do? I just don’t know why people had to cut in line at St. Peter’s
Basilica. It’s a CHURCH for crying out loud. Aren’t you supposed to be
on your best behavior? Different cultures, I suppose. Anyway, St.
Peter’s was, as most things had been in Rome, too big, too beautiful,
and too full of amazing stuff to really be able to describe it.
Loooooots of people
the first things we saw was La Pieta. Mary and I like this because it’s
a piece of old religious art that depicts a strong female, which is a
bit out of the ordinary. It was behind glass, though, because
apparently people vandalize it... WHY... people are lame sometimes.
Everything else in there was super extravagant. It reminded me a bit of
Versailles, but obviously wasn’t as gross because it was created to
honor Catholicism instead of how awesome Louis XIV thought he was.
After all this madness in the morning, we walked around the city
just to chill out. We bought gifts for people at home. We bought
postcards we never intended to send. We had lunch (pizza and pasta and
tiramisu, all of which were not that impressive.
Oh, wait... what... is that... THE POPE?!?!?!?
.. as a lover of food,
I was not all that impressed with most of the Italian food we ate on
this trip). Actually, this during this eating experience, Mary and I
made a really big mess (what with splitting food and everything, and my
apparent loss of motor skills) and we got made fun of by our waiter. I
think he said we were babies or something. Actually the pizza here was
pretty awesome. It had sausage on it.
At night Mary and I ate at a different restaurant by our hostel. Again,
food was not that great. The verdict is that the pizza everywhere is
awesome, and the proscuitto and melon at the one place was fabulous,
but everything else, especially the pasta, was not all that great. I’ve
had better at the stupid place I worked at on Balboa Island.
IT IS THE POPE!!!!!!!
we went to get dessert at the place we’d been to the night before. Some
guy at the restaurant gave Mary and I yellow roses.
When we went back to the hostel to settle in, our roommates were there,
and we talked to all of them for a really long time. We talked about
Rome, and traveling, and I found it necessary to repeat my usual “Just
because I live in the U.S. doesn’t mean that I like Bush” speech.
Usually when I stay in a hostel, I don’t get a chance to meet
people because I’m out all day, but it was cool to chill out and talk
to these people. Part of traveling is meeting new people, and learning
about different cultures. And it certainly aids the “I need to shower
in the morning first” sympathy... which was good, because we had to get
up ridiculously early in the morning AGAIN!