We got up somewhat early this morning after not sleeping very well, and headed on the pilgrimage to the Vatican…along with about 8 million other people on the metro station. The weather was less than perfect this morning, but it turned out to be a really nice day.
When we got to the Vatican, there was a long line along the city wall, so we kept walking and found ourselves in St. Peter’s Square, where there was an even longer line. In all of these tourist spots people come up to you in English and ask if you’re interested in an English speaking tour, starting in 10 minutes, skip the lines! We’ve resisted them in the past and been fine, but thought today might be worth it. The tour cost 13 euro for the Vatican Museum entrance plus 25 euro for the tour guide and included the museum and St. Peter’s Basilica. But hey, we got to skip the line, right? Uhhh, no. After about 20 minutes of standing in the museum line with the guide, we decided we were bailing on the tour. Thankfully they didn’t make you pay up front!
We went to get in line for St. Peter’s Basilica, and somehow ended up jumping half the line! A security guard had held the other half of the line at a barricade, and we didn’t know. I mean, we kind of suspected, but others jumped in, so we did too! We ended up saving about an hour and a half, as well as the 50 euro we would have spent on the tour.
After checking out St. Peter’s, which is really quite an awesome church if you’re into that kind of thing, we went and ate some lunch. We figured we’d try the line for the museum again. We weren’t really interested in the museum, but that’s the only way to get into the Sistine Chapel. We practically walked right up to the front door and got straight in! And it only cost us 13 euro each. We thought that was great…until we got in to the museum.
I don’t know what it is about sightseeing and holding a camera that turns a person into a complete moron. People were walking and videoing the FLOOR, the walls, the ceilings. I don’t think they actually looked at anything except through their view finder. And they certainly didn’t pay attention to where they were going. By the time we actually got to the Sistine Chapel, I kind of felt like I was a cow being herded in for slaughter. It was hot, cramped, people were all over the place. There were TOURS all over the place, similar to the one we would have been on if we’d stuck it out…it was quite awful. And there’s only one way in, and one way out, so you’re all pushed in the same direction, through the entire museum, until you get to the chapel. By that point, I didn’t much care who painted it, how long ago, or what it symbolized, I just wanted out!
From there we walked over to Castel St. Angelo, which I wish we had done first, because I think that would have been more interesting, for me at least.
Tomorrow we’re going to get on a train and head down to Naples and Pompeii for the day. Not sure how that will go, but the weather is supposed to be great there tomorrow afternoon. Last night was a bit rainy, but that’s the worst its been all trip so we can’t complain too much!
We’re at day 17 of our trip, and I think I’m about to hit the wall. The whole Vatican Museum today kind of did me in. On the metro on the way back towards the hotel, I saw some kind of study abroad ad on the little TV in there, it said “In Australia”… that is where I am definitely ready to be. Not long now…