Monday, 21 April 2014

Rome Day 3 - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Today I was going to Vatican City, to visit the museum there as well as explore inside St Peter’s Basilica. The Pope was speaking in the square this morning so when I got there it was heaving with people, so they weren’t letting anyone into the Basilica. I decided to hit up the Vatican museum’s first, and I was glad I did because when I got there wasn’t a queue to get in, I had to leave my bag in a cloakroom which I did first before upstairs into the maze of corridors and rooms that make up the museum. I don’t want to complain throughout this blog, but I was in serious pain with my foot by this point so I did take the shorter tour through the museum, so that I could see the highlights, rather than wandering round for hours. The Vatican was pretty cool, there was lots of high ceilings all intricately decorated with paintings, very awe-inspiring. I went to the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) which is famous for being the place where the archbishops all gather to vote on a new Pope, which the two chimneys etc. The walls are all covered in paintings, I think mostly by the artist Michelangelo, who is the guy that is buried in the Pantheon. The most famous one is probably the Creation of Adam, which you would recognize. There was benches all round the room so I took a seat to try and take all of the paintings in, they were pretty incredible. After the Chapel, I hobbled along to the Borgia’s apartments which were room painted for Pope Alexander VI and belonged to the Borgia fam, at some point as well. There was also this massive Bronze statue of Hercules which I thought was particularly notable because of its history. Take a seat kids, and I’ll explain. At the time, this statue was created a lot of bronze statues were being stolen and melted down, so that their bronze could be sold on for a profit. This statue however, had been struck by lightening and was considered to be a bearer of bad luck, as a consequence of this it was buried and that is only reason that it still exists today, and I think that bronze statues from the Roman past are quite rare so it makes this one very special. 

To exit the building you had to use this staircase which confuses the life out of me and I still don’t really understand how it works despite having walked down it. The staircase is a replica of the Bramante staircase that exists in another part of the Vatican n order to preserve it. The staircase is a ‘double helix’ meaning that it is two staircases, built together to allow people to ascend and descend without meeting other people… 

I went back round to the Basilica, as I left the Vatican, I noticed the huuuge queue to get in and was glad I had stopped here in the morning. By know they were letting people inside St Peter’s Square in order to queue for the Basilica, so I joined another huuuge queue for the security which unfortunately was unavoidable. I stood in the queue for around three quarters of an hour in front of some French children who were so incredibly annoying, and kept walking into the back of me, and pushing and shoving each other. I wanted to shout at them but I didn’t, instead just shooting them evils but they didn’t get the message. THEN when I was nearly at the front of the queue, two Mexican girls casually strolled up, pushing in the queue and stood in front of me. If it had been a short queue I would have let it go, but considering I had stood there for nearly an hour I was not letting this slide, and when the queue started moving I stepped in front of them and gave them a very pointed look and they stayed behind me after that, which I didn’t actually mind at least the separated me from the French children. FINALLY I was through security, and heading inside the Basilica, This was probably my favorite part of the trip, and SO worth the hours wait. It was unlike anything I have ever seen and no words I use will come close to justify to absolute beauty of the interior of this building. My first thought was, and I know this sounds incredibly stupid, but there was so much space between the floor and the ceiling, I don’t think I have ever seen a ceiling that tall and everywhere you looked there was a statue of a painting. It was just gignormous and grand. I was seriously impressed and completely blown away by the scale and magnificence of it. I walked around a few times, just trying look at everything. 

It was around five o’clock now, and it was going to take me a good hour to hobble back to the centre of town so headed back past the street sellers, who were packing up for the day, along the river, back through the Piazza Navona, past the Pantheon towards Il Vittoriano before veering off to the north of the city back to my hotel. I made a plan in my head, to go home, get changed and come back out for dinner and walk round all the monuments once the sun had gone down because they were meant to look really splendid in the night with their lights on. Once I got back though, I was tired from my walk and my foot was too sore, and they thought of having to walk back into the city wasn’t that appealing, so I made Rome food mistake #2, which I think I deserved purely because of the absolute stupidity of this idea. There was a Chinese across the street from my hotel, yeah I know. And I decided that this would be a really great idea, Chinese, film, ice pack and bed - perfection. Urgh no. First the ice machine was broken - hi swollen foot. and secondly the Chinese was so disgusting that I couldn’t even eat it. I asked for crispy noodles and they gave me… well I don’t know what they gave me.  I’ve included some google images for some expectation vs. reality imagery.  I was so put off that I didn't even eat the vegetable in sauce creation I had been presented with. Needless to say I was pissed, so instead I ate some Mikado sticks and watched some TV before falling asleep with the light on and waking up at 3am, majorly confused as to where I was in the world. 

Tomorrow is packing, Spanish steps and trains… lots of trains. 
Fun facts about this blog: 
I’ve written Basilica nine times and spelt it wrong every time and I spelt Chinese wrong twice. What?