I made it my personal goal to not wait in any lines at the Vatican. Which I basically succeeded at apart from the cafeteria at lunch. Which doesn’t count. Any life moment that includes tuna and pasta in one dish should not count.
The regular tickets were sold out by the time I was looking on Friday. I weaseled around that by booking a 45 minute bus tour of the gardens which then leads right into the a tour of the museums. But not by bus since that would weird. But kind of nice too — if there’s one thing the Vatican is missing, it’s more seating. Apparently the only chair here belongs to Saint Peter (#CatholicHumor). The Vatican also seemed like the perfect finale to this trip. And if I’m being honest, I was kind of hoping Pope Francis would be back from South America by this point so I could say that at least I was in the same general area as him. It didn’t work out. So I got the Pope Francis postcard pack (say that 3x fast) and called it a day.
So anyway. We skipped the line and onto out bus tour. The gardens are pretty fab. They’re only open to the public through tours which is kind of nice because you get an unspoiled view. I guess it’s also easier that way to kick everyone out when the Pope wants to go for a stroll.
After our comfortable bus tour, we were thrown back into the hoi polloi to tour the Vatican Museum. Which was nice, apart from the crowds. And the children. Loud, poorly-behaved children. But I figured if there was anywhere in the world where it’s considered rude to trip 10 year-olds, it’s probably the Sistine Chapel.
And they totally know the only reason you’re there is to see the Sistine Chapel. They put up these signs that say SISTINE CHAPEL in big letters with an arrow so you miss the other rooms listed in smaller print on the sign that are between you and the main attraction. The chapel (once we got there) did not disappoint at all. I wish I had photos but they don’t allow pictures in there. Probably for the best. The view of the ceiling is more beautiful without selfie sticks in the way.
We left the museum and went to (where else?) the gift shop. I collect postcards of major works of art that I see when I travel, and then make a mini gallery out of my bulletin board at my apartment. This trip I’ve really outdone myself so I think the entire wall will be covered. And we had to buy rosaries. They sell so many rosaries. But no bishop mitres or nun costumes like they sell tiaras at Versailles. I mean, they keep complaining about how the vocations are low…
We found out from the guards that to go the Basilica from the museum entrance, we either had to go outside and around to the main entrance to wait in line OR go back through the entire museum and exit a different way from the Sistine Chapel.
I’ll just say that the museum is just as good the second time through.
Once we made it to the Basilica (and all but swore a blood oath to get an audio guide. Are stolen audio guides a big problem here? We couldn’t just do a second collection to replace them from time to time?), we basically just wandered and took pictures since the crowds were less sardine-like. I wrote a paper on some of the memorials for my Baroque art class two years so it was nice seeing some of things in person. It’s like meeting a pen pal in person. But where you get really excited and your pen pal is just there. Because it’s a stone sculpture. Ever happened to anyone else?
No? Just me? Okay, that’s cool.
So in addition to skipping lines today, I also think the Vatican should take my country count up to 5 since it’s technically it’s own city-state. Even though we didn’t stay overnight. Because it’s “inappropriate” to try to nap on a funerary monument. Whatever, Mr. Swiss Guard. I tithe which is basically just Catholic taxes.