Today I took the Metro for the first time in Rome. It was crazy! I don’t know if it was because it was in the morning so people were going to work or if it’s always that busy at the termini, but it was really crazy. I just got squashed in the crowd that was waiting to get on the metro, and then on the metro when I finally got on. I didn’t actually have to get on, the crowd behind me just kind of pushed me in.
When I got out of the metro I could just follow the crowd. I was not the only one going to the Vatican City today. When I got there I had to put my bag on a conveyor belt and go through a metal detector just like at airports. Which makes sense I guess, since you’re going to a different country; the smallest one in the world, both in size and population.
When I got into the Vatican City I could see that there was a heap of chairs put out on the piazza that was slowly filling up. I realized the Pope must be speaking to people today so I went and sat down as well. I’m glad I went there early so that I got a fairly good seat.
I thought the Pope would just be going straight up on the “stage”, but when he came he was standing in this golf cart type thing and drover around between the seats that had been put out, it was quite cool because that way I actually got to see him up close. When he went around people were screaming, crying, dancing… It was amazing to experience. Some people had gone a long way to come here and I bet some of them had probably saved up their whole lives just so they could come and see their spiritual leader in the flesh.
Of course people couldn’t go into the Basilica until a little while after the Pope had left again, and the line to get in was really long, but once they started letting people in it moved fast. It’s free to go into the Basilica, and it’s so big in there that even though there is a lot of people it’s not too crowded, just a little more than comfortable.
I thought that you could go into the rest of the Vatican City from the Basilica and from there to the Sistine Chapel. No. You have to go out of the Vatican State again, walk around to the other side of the wall surrounding it and there you can go into the Vatican Museum, which houses the Sistine Chapel. If I had known that I would have left to go there earlier to try and beat the crowds.
It is €15 to get into the museum. There is a lot to see and it’s really pretty so it’s worth it… In a way…
All I wanted to see was the Sistine Chapel, to see one of the most famous paintings in the world. But it was full of groups doing tours and I kind of just got shepherded along, squashed in between them all. I hated it. It was too claustrophobic. I headed straight towards the Sistine Chapel, but to get there I had to walk through about 100 rooms, squashed between the other tourists heading the same way. It’s not really good conditions for enjoying what you’re seeing. I just took a few quick pictures as I was walking because I didn’t want to stop, I wanted to see what I came to see so that I could leave as soon as possible.
I finally got to the room with the painting of the hand of God giving life to Adam is. It was nice. I’m glad I’ve seen it, I know I would have regretted it if I hadn’t. The room was completely full of tourists and although I managed to find a place to sit for a bit it was just too claustrophobic so I left after a short time. It’s not allowed to take pictures in that room.
The Sistine Chapel is beautiful and just the work that went into it, especially by Michelangelo is absolutely amazing, in a way I wish I could have gone through it with less other tourist around so that I could actually look at the art and enjoy it, but you couldn’t pay me enough to go in again when it’s that busy! Never again!
I was supposed to walk a few other places today as well, but after the “ordeal” in the Vatican Museum I just had to go back to the hostel to “cool down” and breathe again. I do have claustrophobia and the way it was in the museum was a total nightmare and I just got too stressed and I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything else today. At least the other things I was going to see was just “extras”; it wasn’t something that I had really wanted to see while I was in Rome, it was just stuff that had been suggested to me and wasn’t really that important.