Still feeling exceptionally jetlagged and exhausted, of course waiting for the boyfriend to come online at 2am in the morning is not helping.. I decided to give the Vatican another go. There was just too much to see and Kate and Svet insisted I bite the bullet and pay to see the museum and Michaelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel.
While checking my emails I went to the couchsurfing site to leave a positive reference for Alfonso. I discovered that he had 2 negative references from girls who “Upon arrival found that the sleeping arrangements were not what I expected and so was forced to sleep in the bed with him”. Seriously???? Unless there was a gun to your head, the floor is perfectly comfortable as an alternative or a hostel. Alfonso is very Italian in every way, so if you agree to sleep in his bed…. I wrote that certain misunderstandings could occur but to take culture into the equation and that Alfonso was a perfect gentleman (once I realised he was moving my hand because of his ribs) and a fantastic tour guide. But it was rather amusing to read that after the fact.
There Appears to be a Tour Group or 50
Kate and I had our morning cappuccino and pastry, seriously I would live here just for this morning tradition, and then I headed back to the Vatican and Kate to work.
As I walked up to the Vatican I was gobsmacked at the number of people. I thought yesterday had hundreds, I think today had thousands. The lines waiting to go through the metal detectors were all the way out of St. Peter’s Piazzo.
Half the Line
I walked around the other side thinking to go to the bookstore and gift center and possibly slip in the back way. I picked up a postcard of the Sistine Chapel, as there was no photography, and mailed it to my folks.
I glanced around, as if looking for someone, and headed towards the bottom of the steps. At precisely the same time one of the security guards, just as casually decided to side step in my line of direction, barely making any eye contact, so continuing the aim of being casual I casually turned around and headed out the exit. Ah well it was worth a try.
Gelato and Music
I decided to take a break from the milling of tourists and looked for a place to get gelato icecream. I had been in Italy for 3 days and still had not savored the deliciousness of this delicacy. Popping into curio shops as I went I finally found a place with a nice outdoor area. I was allowed to get the child’s size with 2 flavors, choosing classic chocolate and vanilla, figuring you can’t go wrong with a classic. Except for the occasional ice chunk, it was divine and the perfect break.
Once I had prevented myself from licking out the gelato bowl and paid, I headed towards the Vatican Museum, I figured even if it cost 20 euros at least I could say I had seen the Sistine Chapel by Michaelangelo.
It turned out to only cost 15 euro, so that made my pocket book feel better. As I passed through, thinking to myself that at least most of the tourists are at the Vatican and not come to the museum yet, I was amazed at the beautiful artwork.
Entry Had Great Display on Boats from World Cultures
Then I turned the corner and discovered that while half the tourists in the world were indeed at the Vatican, the other half were at the Vatican Museum. Being 5ft/1.5m tall meant I was at armpit height and not able to see over anyone. We were literally shuffled and herded like cattle and there was no time to stop and take pics or to double back for another look. About the only good aspect of this shuffle and glance was that occasionally you would find yourself amongst an English Tour and could pick up on things the guide was saying. It was funny watching them when they realised you were most likely using their knowledge without paying and suddenly they would pull their group over to explain something in more detail. Not wanting to prove them right, I would continue aimlessly following the crowd, slowing when I came side by side with another tour group.
Am NOT Tall Enough For This Many People
The Sistine Chapel
The museum was huge and was set in a way that led you from one style of art to another and all the while showing signs that promised the Sistine Chapel was just round the next corner. Eventually, about 20 corners later, we entered a smallish hushed room with a low, all be it pretty roof. The guards were very sternly shushing everyone and glaring at folks who even dared to raise their camera with the notion of taking a picture. There was a bench running around the edge, of course chock a block full, but I managed to squeeze into a corner just off it. After being herded through 2 hrs of art I needed to sit. I sat for about 30 seconds before I was promptly and very sternly told to stand. Wonder if they have special training for this….
I must admit, it was a very pretty ceiling with some lovely pictures, but I was rather underwhelmed. Could it be all the years of seeing pictures of the one main panel of God’s finger reaching out and imaging this huge painting on a grandiose ceiling??? Or perhaps spending over 2 hrs shuffled from room to room at armpit height with no idea of where or what was going on, as awe inspiring as the art was of course. I don’t know, but either way I was too exhausted to stand and stair up at a rather pretty roof and decided to find a place to nap. At least I can say “been there , seen that!”
Making my way through the masses I found a spot in a courtyard and promptly passed out for almost an hour. Who ever thought visiting an art museum could be so taxing. After recovering I explored, a far less populated, ethnological exhibit about world cultures, filled my water bottle and left. Heading out you go down a phenomenal spiral staircase or stair slope maybe.
Glad I went to see the pretty roof, but never going again unless there is a private tour of 1, namely me! Well ok I would go again even with other tourists but with enough room to breathe…
Lovely View To Wake Up To
I wandered around looking for something to eat and finally spotted a little cafe deli like place down an alley. I think it was the old smiley guy ushering me inside that sold me. I chose a brocoli and sausage pizza and a dough stuffed with spinach. It was a little greasy, isn’t everything in Italy 😉 , but delicious.
An American family came in and looked very confused at how to order, and since there was a SEVERE language barrier I gave them a run down. It is actually quite cool when you go into these little places as you can buy pizza by weight, you decide on how big or small and then they weigh it. Very clever if I must say so myself. To the family I said “just point and reference size, they will get it”.
Since it was too early to go home I went looking for stamps and wandered round a bit. Sometime near 4pm the wall of exhaustion was fast approaching. Luckily Svet had texted me to say that his roommate was home so I could just head back.
His roommate had just got back from visiting his mom on the coast and was very happy to share some home made lemon cake she had sent back with him. It was divine and I enjoyed my piece just in time before passing out for a nap.
I had managed to get hold of Nicola and set up plans for dinner as I was not sure if I would see him again before leaving. We met around 9.30pm and headed downtown. I am still not used to this idea of only going out at that time, when I am at home that’s when I am in my jammies with a cup of tea.
It was a glorious night and we walked along the river as Nicola told Kate and I some of the history. Then we found a piazzo and ordered 2 pizzas and beer. If there was pizza heaven I think I was in it. They were divine. My favorite being the simple baby tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. In fact I think I can safely say that pizza was damn near orgasmic!
Heaven on a Pizza Crust
Heading back to the car we met some people who took a couple of pics, then there was a bemusing interaction with the photographer, who spoke no English, indicating he needed a pic with me too. I love meeting people!
Our Mystery Photographer
Simply a superb day!