I had read on the itinerary and remember from others speaking in the past about visiting that it is pivotal to cover yourself up in the Vatican. However, with our changes in destinations, so have come changes in the itinerary. I was not for sure where we were going during the day. As soon as we got downstairs, our guide let us know that we would need to be covered for the Vatican Museums in order to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. So we picked out some scarves (Jenny got a surong) and were prepared to be covered for the tour. We would have worn clothes that covered us but it was HOT! I don’t think I’ve said that enough!
If you did not already know, Vatican is the smallest country in the world! The capital is Vatican City and it is where the Pope lives. This is one of the largest tourist spots in the world. We drove out of Italy and into the Vatican. I saw the wall that divided the city from Italy. I overflowing with anticipation. I mean like hard to keep it together, but I did ;). We hoped out of the van and suited up to be respectful upon entering the sacred buildings. Before I knew it, “right there where we stood....Was HOLY GROUND” (thank you Taylor Swift!!!)
First we saw many beautiful works of art, sculptures missing body parts (hehe), ancient paintings, etc.
Then, we got to enter a private stairwell! It overlooks the entire city of Rome. WOW! What a view. I just couldn’t believe it.
Next, we walked through the channels that connect to the Sistine Chapel. I am shocked at how talented the artists were in that time. The ceilings are full of 3D artwork that should have been impossible for people to design. And again, covered in gold like at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
We saw one more special room which showed Christian Martyrs and their stories where the previous Pope’s visited to pray. I saw past a tree and through the window where Pope Benedict still resides after retiring from being the Pope. All along, Still.anticipating.the.Sistine.Chapel. I must add, the kiddos were getting very cranky and tired at this time because there were a bagillion people around. We were INSANELY LUCKY to get to cut lines and see things quickly (too quickly for me, but enough time for everyone else to take it all in!) And then it was time to go to the Sistine Chapel.
A Stairway to the Sistine Chapel...
As we stepped into the building, the guards were very particular about making sure outfits were respectful. Most people were trying to be quiet, but many kept trying to shush people in the crowd. Photography is not allowed in this room in order to keep it’s ambiance. It is literally astonishing! Michelangelo’s depiction of leaving earth and entering heaven has to be the way so many have imagined, but never been able to document. It took him for years to paint the ceiling. I literally was so mesmerized by the sight of it all. I didn’t think that I would cry, but felt overcome with emotion. What a rich history this place holds. So many of the Popes have been chosen in this room. Hours upon days spent picking the best choice to be the head of the Catholic church! The guide asked us to look at the picture that we saw above us and to close our eyes and to try to remember the ceiling as we had seen it today. At that time, I started to cry and had to pull it together. I strongly felt God’s presence! When we left I promised myself that I will return. I just have to get back there again and take Keevibear!
Upon leaving, we got to stand in front of the deck where the Pope waves after being elected. The space, where black or white smoke emits from the top to show that no Pope has been chosen or that yes, a Pope has been chosen! I can remember the pictures of all of the people standing here when Pope Francis was elected in March of this year! Oh the madness that would have come with being here at that time! I did not want to leave and was super sad when we hoped over the road from the Vatican to Italy. We did not get to do our private tour of St. Peter’s Basilica because the kids were too tired...womp womp...but beggers can’t be choosers! I WILL be back (insert Terminator voice now!)
Chairs for a blessing that would be held the next day (Sunday!)
When someone stands in the center of the circle below, it creates and optical illusion of the building.
You can not see the 2nd row of columns!
The road that separates Vatican City from Italy!
Ms. S about to cross & Jenny is in two places at once!
Once we were “back in Italy” there was a little stand with Vatican memorabilia! I had to get Mr. Keev a Pope bobble head! Jenny said, “What in the heck are you going to do with that thing?” I said, “I can’t wait to put that sucker in our apartment!” We left and headed back to the hotel. The kids went for a swim in this awesome spa pool that is pretty much just for adults, but why not let the kids enjoy it too? We were there for over an hour, came back to play lots of DOTS (it’s a pretty sweet app if you haven’t played!) and then went to dinner. Mr. C’s a businessman and so we got to have dinner with the owner of a professional football teams' family. In the middle of the main street, right next to where we enjoyed dinner outside was a race sponsored by New Balance. They took off at 10:00 and when we had finished dinner, Little Ms. S and I went to wait for the runners. We knew the male winner would come in around the 30 minute marker (10 kilometers or 6.2 miles!) The winner finished at 33.23 those are 5.30 minute miles! What a rockstar! How much fun to run through the city of Rome at night!!! If I’d have known, I’d have arranged to do it myself. When the winner crossed the finish line, Ms. S was ready to hit the hotel room because she was exhausted! From the room, we could see the runners outside the back window headed downhill. It was awesome! The road back to the hotel was brick road and it was hilly! Not flat!!! Have I told you I’m clumsy? I about bit the dust but caught myself on a wall. Ms. S busted out laughing, but added that catching myself was very graceful!
As I laid with Ms. S, calming down for the night, she asked me all about my best friends and who would have what roles in my wedding one day. She reminded me we’d all be a few years older when I got married...I giggled and she said, “You know, so you’ll be ready then!” It was pretty special and the best way to end a remarkable day! Kids know the most there is about life, you know!
I have to add that I am sitting on the rooftop/deck again! Music is booming from the concert series “Rockin’ Roma” that must go on each night. This place really is a happening city!!! Even if I wanted to go to bed, the music is blaring so loudly that I couldn’t. Instead, I’ll continue to soak in the wonderfulness that is my life right now!Jenny is coming with us again tomorrow and we will see the Coliseum and more. I can’t believe it is already our last day here. I don’t think anything can top this part of the trip... but we shall see!