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Published: August 6th 2015
Some 13 years ago, I did a boys day trip with Leslie to the Vatican. It was a beautiful and cold day in January, and Leslie was just 18 months old. So for the logistic, we kept ourselves to the Basilica as well as St Peter's Square. This time it's a little different, I'm on my own, and I truly want to see what is it about the Sistine Chapel!
You are going to ask me! Is this a game about blogging about every single country on earth? Well, why not, so let's start this little South European escapade with the Vatican! After all, I've got a huge amount of pictures of Rome already!
I should have booked my visit online to the Vatican Museum and the Chapel Sistine. But I wanted some flexibility not knowing how my body would react...you remember...Thursday in South Africa, home in Bangkok from Friday to Sunday with a lot of chores to deal with...and Monday morning early, it's Italy time. Flight was pleasant, I dropped my bags at my hotel, and made it to the Vatican by 9.30am...and a nice queue of 1 hours to go into the Vatican
It was a beautiful day, and by European standards, a pretty hot one...crazy to have to admit how Bangkok can prepare you to any temperature above 35 degrees...and because it is not humid, feeling this is actually pretty nice! Thanks Asia for this!
First impression...they have touts everywhere, and in every language you can imagine. Ok, let put it simply, if you book your ticket online, you pay something like 2 or 4 euros more. if you do book it online, you don't have to face a queue to get in....but once in...it's total chaos whatsoever! Some of those touts look like pretty decent people.....they must make some kind of living for just being here....but come on, this is simply insane! All this to try to sell you a ticket to go in front of the queue, or a guided tour, no way! And yes, after so many hours sitting on planes, I will queue my one hour...just listening to the lack of patience by some European tourists around me made my day!
So, I made it to the Vatican Museum. If you know Shanghai lately, think about the metro
system at 4pm...I admit, not 6.30pm, but 4pm is bad enough! And here you are....welcome to the Vatican Museum. The crowds come from everywhere....especially from Argentina! I felt home just by looking around....would this be the Papa Francisco effect...or the simple fact that now the Euro is affordable, the black market rate of USD to the Argentinian Pesos look way less hurting than two years ago! By the way, I bumped in many people, but not into Papa Francisco!
So yes the place is gorgeous! This not only by the artifacts on display, but walls and ceilings are simply amazing by themselves. I have to admit, the staff does a great deal of leading the crowds in the right direction at a smooth pace! I don't even want to think how much they collect in a single day in entry fees...must be more than the Shanghai global metro system!
The point was to see the Chapel Sistine. Well, no pictures taking allowed here, and I did follow the rules! Is it the crowd, or is it the expectation...well, I wasn't that impress, maybe next time!
After the Museum, I joined the
next queue to enter again St Peter, 13 years later. I know, I could have skipped this by just joining one of those tours...but no thanks! St Peter...well, I'm putting this in perspective now that I visited 9 months ago the Basilica in Yamoussoukro in Ivory Coast back in October 2014. I know it's a little out of context, but I couldn't stop comparing the two....weird, indeed!
This was finally it for my second visit to the Vatican, this time taking my time, with the touts, and the crowds. It was one hour queue to go into the Vatican Museum, and it as also a good 45 minutes to go into St Peter...for those who decide to queue properly! I still don't understand how people can feel it's ok to cut the queue in a sacred place....really!
So tomorrow, or rather in the next entry, I'll give you more about Rome...and yes, being alone allow me to walk like crazy! I did, the feet did hurt end of each day...big time! And for the coming four weeks, I'm going to do a broad view of some 2500 years of history...in places I have already
seen, and places I had wished to visit for years! One step at a time...discovering our small planet!
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