Day 40: Saturday, October 14, 2006
Today was our day to visit the Vatican. You
will notice Ken wearing pants in the photos. This was one of
only two days that he did not wear shorts on the entire 5y day trip
- the Vatican has a serious dress code. We got up at 6:00 am
and went to the McDonald's by the train station for a croissant and
cappuccino. We decided to take the Metro from the railways
station to the Vatican as the Vatican bus #64 is much advertised as
being full of thieves and dirty old men. We had signed up for
an 8:00 am Vatican Museums tour with Ryan, our Palatine tour
guide from the previous day but Ken misplaced the brochure he gave
us and we didn't know whether to get off at the Ottavio or Cipro
Metro stations - both were about 6 blocks from the Vatican. We
chose Cipro and started to worry when there was no one around that
we recognized by 7:45 am.
Finally, Ryan showed
up about 7:55 and our group of 15 set out for the Vatican Museum
at 8:10 am. By the time we got there it was 8:30 and the
lineup to get in was over three very long blocks.
top photo shows the beginning of the line. The line then
turned right at the end of the building in the distant
background. The second photo then shows the second block
of the line-up. The line-up then turned to the right at
the point where I am standing to take the second photo and goes
for a third equally long block. It then turned another
corner and we were part way down that fourth block when we
The Vatican Museum opened at 8:45 am and we did not get in until
10:30 am. Ken absolutely hates waiting in line but the
time seemed to go much faster because there were interesting
people from all over the world in our group.
|The long wait was worth it after
we finally got inside the Vatican Museums. The Vatican
Museums (Musei Vaticani) are the public art and sculpture
museums in the Vatican City, which display works from the
extensive collection of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Julius
II founded the museums in the 16th century. As of November
2006, it was visited by more than 4,000,000 people for the year.
We picked up our
headphones - so we could her Ryan without disturbing others -
and set out on tour. There are thousands and thousands of
paintings, statues and other pieces of art. Ken was blown
away by the artwork on the floors and ceilings alone. One
of the most impressive rooms was the 120 m long Gallery of
Maps containing 40 panels of topographical maps of Italy.
After seeing all the other art, the Sistine Chapel was
almost anticlimactic. It was much smaller than expected.
Ryan gave us another informative and humourous tour. Flash
photography is forbidden in most of the Museum and no photos at
all are permitted in the Sistine Chapel. A montage of my
photos can be seen below. For more information on the
Kathryn in the
Gallery of Maps
The Museum was
closing early that day so we left about 1:30. Ken's knees
were sore so we managed to talk our way into the Pope's elevator
to get down to ground level rather than use the spiral
staircase. After the tiny elevator at our hotel, this one
was huge. It was the size of a small room and had benches
and velvet covered walls. I am so sorry I didn't take a
picture. There was still a block-long lineup when the
closed the doors (who knows how long they had been waiting).
We stopped at the American Bar for a very good lunch and
continued on around the Vatican City walls to St. Peter's
Ken sitting on
the fountain in St. Peter's Square
If the Museum hadn't closed
early, our tour ticket would have got us a back door entrance to
St. Peter's Basilica. There was another long lineup
to go inside the Basilica, so we decided not to wait another two
hours and just wandered around the Square. It was neat to
stand where we had seen crowds gather on television when the
Pope was speaking.
We walked back to the
Ottavio Metro station through quaint neighbourhoods which
surround Vatican City. Of course we had to stop for
gelato. The Metro was packed on the ride home and we kept
our hands on our wallets. Ken's knees were aching from all
the standing so Kathryn found some ice for him and we had a nap.
We went out for dinner and dined outside in our shirtsleeves
from 8:30 to 10:00 pm in the warm Rome evening. The meal
was excellent although we were interrupted by several street
peddlers trying to sell us their wares - most restaurant have
tables set up on the far side of the sidewalk and pedestrians
walk done the aisle between your table and the restaurant
building. The restaurant staff was good at shooing them
Then it was back to the hotel and to bed for a much needed rest.
This is a montage of photos that I took in the
Vatican Museums. Click on a thumbnail for a larger view.
Click here for a slide show of
a few more Day 40 photos.