We awoke this morning to the couple in the room next to us having sex. Apparently, the walls of our B&B are EXTREMELY thin and we heard it all. I won’t go into much more detail, but we had quite the “alarm” go off when they decided to wake us up this morning.
The plan for today was to see the last few things we had wanted to see and then to say goodbye as we departed Rome. After getting up we ate what they call a breakfast- but in reality is total crap- and began our journey back to the Vatican city, which luckily for us is only a single subway stop away.
The Vatican is a popular destination. As we arrived at what we thought would be an hour that gave us an advantage, the line was already wrapped around the building and forming down the block! We double checked to make sure that was the line for the Vatican, and sure enough it was. However, when it turned the corners to go down the block, it mixed with a cross walk and the people wanting the street. So we somehow maneuvered it so that we mingled into both and found ourselves s palace in the line for the Vatican. From that point on, the wait was about an hour. But luckily, we were in front of a tour guide leading a group and we were able to listen to her telling her group all of the history. It made waiting in line bearable, and it wasn’t to hot. Actually, later on in the day it rained. You’ll hear about that, I don’t want to get ahead of the story.
The museum and Sistine Chapel were just gorgeous. I had this notion in my head that they were two separate things, but they are all in the same building. What was interesting was that the buildings all fed into one another because ever time as the museum collection expanded and the papal use of the buildings changed the private studies and such that were painted by famous painters (such as Raphael) to be included on the public route and moved the location of the Papal apartment.
Another interesting thing I learned today was that the Vatican city is its own “country” – its in Italy but its completely separate from it. That’s so cool.
The museum was really beautiful. Morgan really want to see the Raphael room, so that was where we started, but somehow during the Greek and Roman exhibits we got separated. I was with them one moment, and the next moment they were gone. But, hey, I knew where we were headed so I kept on going knowing that either I would see them along the way, meet them there, or just wait for them until they got there. I ended up having to wait, but I did enjoy strolling through the museum getting to see all of the truly beautiful things. It seems like the entire building is a piece of art, from mosaic floors to painted ceilings, it’s just a spectacle to behold. What I really missed while we were separated was hearing all of Morgans art stories. The history behind what we were looking at, the interpretation of art, and anything else that she found interesting.
Luckily we met back in the Raphael room and I was allowed to be readmitted into “art stories,” which was a total blessing because the room we were in had all of the walls and ceilings painted and I had no clue what was going on! But, professor Morgan Thomas got me back in line. The Raphael rooms led the way into the Sistine Chapel and that was interesting. The hallways leading to the chapel were filled with the Vatican’s collection of modern art. It’s so interesting to me that the subject matter of these great painters by Raphael and Michelangelo, can also be reflected in the mediums of modern painters. Same stories, completely different interpretation- that’s art!
The Sistine Chapel was gorgeous. I stood there just soaking in the paintings and being just all encompassing of what I was seeing. The creation to the flood, mixed with other biblical stories and figures leading up to the judgement. It was all just brilliant- and having Morgan there to explain it all made it so much better! The Vatican guards were in true form while in the Sistine Chapel, you can’t take pictures in there or talk loudly- possibly because it’s a holy place- and the guards were letting us know that. They were constantly yelling to put away cameras and keep quiet. To a point where it was extremely annoying. But, hey, it’s there job so I understand. I was just elated to be in the Sistine Chapel. Standing among the greats tends to inspire others to do great things.
The Chapel is the last great thing to see in he Vatican, so we strolled along the corridor and just enjoyed what was left of it, and then exited through this GIANT spiral staircase. I’m not necessarily sure how to explain it, but it was a large double helix staircase with steps that got smaller and more frequent as you went down. I’m not sure that’s an adequate description, but hey, that’s the best I got.
As we were walking away from the Vatican we discovered this store, which I cannot remember the name of, but it was basically a medieval festivals best friend. They sold swords, armor, quills, ink, Harry potter wands and regalia, costumes, pennants, I mean you want it- they had it. We walked around in awe, just absorbing it all. It was so weird/cool. One of those things you secretly love but don’t want to openly admit. Yeah, you know what I mean…
The last two things we really wanted to do was see the Pantheon and then go see more Bernini sculptures in a museum. We only had a small window to do both, this closing early thing kills me, and so we had a plan to get it done! We would run and see the Pantheon and then grab a bus or the museum. We had an hour to get there before they allowed the last sets of patrons in, we were ready. We booked it to the Pantheon, and when we got there they were holing Mass so no one was allowed in. Great, take a few quick pictures, and off to the busses. For the life of us we could not figure out which bus we needed. We finally found the one the map said we should take- and it ended up not going there. Rather than really being upset we just laughed and enjoyed riding this bus around getting to see more of Rome. It’s sad that we didn’t get to use our passes to see the second museum we wanted to see, but it is what it is, and we enjoyed our evening – that’s what matters.
We returned to the Pantheon and got to go in. The really cool part of this building, beyond it’s age and architecture, is that the painter Raphael is hurried there. The shrine isn’t as elaborate as i imagined, but it still fitting, the rest of the building was really cool. It’s empowering to see something that that has lasted so long. It’s a testament to good craftsmanship, if it’s quality it will endure. That’s a lesson that can be applied to lots of things.
When we left the Pantheon, it was raining. It had already become overcast and cloudy, but now it was just raining. I love how at this point all of the men who sell handbags and such have now switched to selling umbrellas – always out to make that dollar. In honor of our last night, and keeping with tradition, we returned to this pizza place that we have eaten at everyday (mostly because it’s cheap and they accept cards) and got our last bit of pizza in Italy. We walked thought he rain eating as we headed to the subway. We had hi the end, it was ok to be soaking wet, it’s a victory lap.
We go home tomorrow. The flight leaves at 11:45am, and you know what, I’m ready to return. I’m ready to go back to “my life” and take the steps necessary to move on. I’ve graduated from College, I have a real job, and now it’s time to go shopping for a new apartment and get on with my life. Everyone else has, it’s time to follow suit. Time to grow up. This trip marked the end of an age, and now I’m ready to move onward.