The Vatican

I don’t even no where to begin so I’m just going to go for it. The day started out much like yesterday but with blue skies. We got off the bus outside the Vatican and marched ourselves to the ticket office associated with the bus tour company we purchased our tickets from on day one. There are thousands of people milling about the street leading to St. Peter’s Basilica. The crowds are a little overwhelming. I’ve seen this courtyard in front of St. Peter’s dozens of times on television. It’s eerily familiar. I took a long look at the Basilica. Dad said he’d like to go in after the Vatican Museum but I knew better. I wondered just how much walking lay before us.
We fended off the up sell at the ticket office and began the walk to the Vatican. We walked down a long street enclosed with the enormous exterior brick wall of the Vatican on our left and to our right a long line of vendors selling knickknacks from a goo that made a farting noise to pictures of the Pope. At the end of the lane we came across the line to get in. I had been a little annoyed with the price of our “skip the line” tickets until I saw the line. Dad would have been done by the time we made it to the front of that torture chamber. 
The Vatican museum essentially consists of stairs and rooms in a never ending labyrinth of art. Lilli and I once visited the Vancouver Art Gallery together. If she is reading this post she might think I just described my own personal hell. I generally don’t get “art.” The Vancouver Art Gallery features things like a pile of broken couches as a central attraction. I don’t get it. At the Vatican we found what you might call real art. If that makes me sound like a snob so be it.

It was all a little much though. We probably walked through less than a third of what the Vatican has to offer in about 4 hours. It was overwhelming. By the end every painting looked the same. The lead up to the Sistine Chapel was so extraordinary that the chapel itself was nearly something of a let down. Of course, we shared the entire experience with 30,000 of our closest friends. Standing room only folks. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Vatican do it and I suggest bringing along a small pair of binoculars. A neck brace might help too.

The long walk with all the stairs was pretty hard on dad. I wondered a couple times if we’d have to get the Swiss Guard to carry him out. He powered through and I made sure to find him a bench to occupy every now and then. We put in about 15,000 steps today (according to my iPhone) I suspect that translates to somewhere between 12-14 kilometres.

We arrived back at the hotel a quarter past 3. Dad took a nap and like yesterday I set off on my own. I found a laundromat with the help of my good friend Google and took our clothes for a cleaning. In the hour they took to clean I walked a 6k loop through the streets of Rome. Turns out that suicide in Rome is only 28 euro. That’s the cost of renting a scooter for the day. I estimate it would take me less than half the day to kill myself on one of those things. If I had a different travelling companion yesterday’s post might be my obituary.

Tomorrow we board the train for Venice. I am extremely interested in experiencing a city without automobiles.


Michelangelo’s Pieta (Replica in the Vatican Museum)
St. Bernard trampling on the demon by Marcello Ventusi (1563-64)
Selfie with St. Peter’s in the background. Taken from a courtyard in the Vatican Museum.

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