Okay, it’s not Jerusalem. But it’s the Vatican! And as a Catholic, it’s my Holy Land. And it was absolutely beautiful. And much different than I expected it to be.
I took the subway, and walked around a bit before I got there. I was in a new area of Rome, and wanted to see what goodies it has to offer. But when I got to the main enterance of Vatican City, I walked past a moat and a castle. At that area there were many pop up shops and musicians playing. It was very enjoyable. I sat and listened for quite sometime before venturing further in to the City.
As I stood there in front of San Pietro’s Basilica I just stared at everything. In my head, the first thing I thought of was how there were little shops around it. And that was a big no no to Jesus. And that’s what I just sat there and thought about for a while. Eventually I decided to do a tour–again, I’m not a fan of tours, but my tour in Germany was pretty spectacular. Somehow, I got conned into it. I just wanted to buy the tickets inside. Now, I should have just waited in the very long line, provided by the Vatican, instead of a tour on the sidelines. One of the reasons I was so reluctant of taking the tour, is because this was a Religious Experience to me, and by taking the tour, that was being taken away from me. And I can honestly say, that it was.
There were many different religions going on this tour from several different places. There were several jokes from the sidelines about the Pope and Catholics. Which, I was definitely not okay with. Also, we had access to some of the museums. Which would have been really cool… if that’s what I wanted to see. We spent about 3 hours (the tour was only supposed to be a max of 2 hours with the guide.) in the museums. Now, I understand that there are beautiful sculptures, and art work in these museums. This tour guide was fantastic, he was excited about what he was doing, and he was very knowledgeable about everything. Which is super awesome! Don’t get me wrong, he taught me a few things.
However, he spent more time talking about the Sistene Chapel than we actually got to see it. And by the time we got there, I was more preoccupied trying to find a place to sit, than the beautiful art work itself.
As I sat down, I was able to enjoy it much more. And it really was absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately, you cant take pictures in there. Here is where we spoke of The Popes, and the Chimney for the red and white smoke of the procedure of choosing a Pope. After we left, he then spoke of Pope Francis the first American Pope–as in South American, form Argentina. He was not there unfortunately, not that I probably would have accidentally run into him, but I bet one can feel his Holy Presence. I don’t know. Just would have been cool.
After the Sistene Chapel we were going to the Basilica, which has the only art piece that Michelangelo ever signed, as well as the sarcophagus of Pope John Paul II. We had about 15-30 minutes to enjoy this before it was closing. 😑 But you better believe I made the most of my time there, got some time to pray, reflect, and enjoy a brief moment of Mass that was going on.
The day before I had gotten horrible news that a friend from work at our Orlando Office had been in a car accident and died, while another was in critical condition in the hospital. Miguel was one of my favorites, and I’m still hurting. So being at the Vatican was something I needed.
I also got to see the Changing of the Guard (The Swiss Guard, in original uniform from the 1500s, I believe.) that was right as it closed, so it was a pretty cool moment.
All in all, some crazy highlights:
Got asked out for coffee again.
Couldn’t find the tour office and missed my 1330 tour. Luckily, they switched it out, because I wasn’t given instructions. Honestly, I think this other tour office felt sorry for me and just let me use my ticket for one of their tours.
My feet were in so much pain I was ready to saw them off. And i had to make it back to the subway (20 minute walk when you CAN feel your feet).
If you’re going for the Religious Reason… do not take a tour.