I’m beginning this post, and for the first time in a long time, my curtains are slightly open. Outside I see forest, powerlines and snow. That’s right, today October 28th, 2017 there is snow in Finland. We got about 5cm of snow the other day, I went from wearing shorts on Monday to fishing out my winter jacket on Tuesday. I like snow, I love the cold weather, just wasn’t ready for winter just quite yet. Oh, and I didn’t bring winter boots so I might end up falling and dying.
My view this morning, sorry this afternoon makes me miss Rome and the weather. I woke up a little groggy, late nights plus early mornings don’t make me very happy. The thought of going to the Vatican, however, was more than enough for me to get my ass out of bed. I’m not a Catholic, and I’m not religious but how cool is it that I get to visit one of the holiest places in the world. I’ve always had this dream of standing in St. Peter’s Square and just looking around. Going into the Sistine Chaple, visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and just observing all the art.
It isn’t a matter of debate that the early Catholic church was far from perfect. The sale of indulgences paid for the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica and for a number of the paints and artwork that can be found in the Vatican itself. Indulgences were a way for a person who’d sinned to reduce the amount of punishment they received in the afterlife. It was pushed by the church and priests, amassing a handsome amount of money. It’s kinda cool to read about, and this is the behaviour that helped spark the Protestant Reformation. Alright before I have a history attack let me begin!
I met my friend from the night before for breakfast. She introduced me to a few other people that she’d been sitting with and we all decided that we’d go together to the Vatican. I had a tour at 2pm, and they didn’t but just being in the square was good enough for them. I’ve said to not do the tours, I stand by that, but I’ll talk about that a little later. The walk to the Vatican took about a million hours or at least that’s what it felt like. Make sure to do a lot of walking in Rome because you’ll pass an obscene amount of gelato shops, my recommendation is to stop at as many as possible. Chocolate, hazelnut, coffee, kinder, Nutella and tiramisu are all delicious. They’ve even got vegan options! Please ignore my ugly hands.
Getting to the Vatican is simple, and when we got there, my friends decided to take a tour. This meant we had to split up. Inside I had the most unorganized tour guide and actually ended up with my friends …. until I got lost. Getting lost in the Vatican isn’t the worst thing in the world. It gives you the freedom to roam around and see everything. I liked it because I got to avoid some of the crowds. Feeling a little cramped in there is a pretty standard feeling.
The Sistine Chapel is one of the biggest draws as it should be. If I’m not mistaken, this is the sight of the papal conclave, where the new pope is chosen. Its also home to the Last Judgment fresco painted by Michaelangelo. It’s that painting where God’s finger touches Adam’s. The Last Judgement is actually more than that, it tells the story of Jesus’ second coming and the final judgement of humanity. It truely is an amazing piece of artwork with a powerful message. When you’re in there you’re supposed to keep quiet and keep walking to the exit. You’re also not allowed to take photo’s, that didn’t stop some people, and it didn’t stop me. However with that being said, I don’t think I want to share that on the blog because it’s not the best photo. Google it, and you’ll get an incredible photo. Exiting is tricky especially if you don’t have a group or aren’t on a tour. To get to the basilica, you take the right-hand exit. You could make a left and view the Jesus Christ Museum, I took a left and then backtracked.
Once I got to the square, I ran into my friends that I thought I’d lost. We all went into St. Peter’s Basilica which is where these were taken. A lot of sins paid for that building and I’m glad they did. It is absolutely incredible, and naturally, there’s a photo of me being an ass. There are people from all over the world there. I met an elderly couple that made this visit their 50th wedding anniversary get-away. Can you believe that? 50 years with the same person that is just incredible.
They came to one of the holiest, most beautiful places on the planet to celebrate their love. So damn cool! As we got ready to leave there was one thing on my mind and that was getting my picture in the square. When you leave and get into the St. Peter’s Square it leaves you breathless. The beauty, the history, just everything about it is incredible.
Oh, this is the photo of me being an ass, I have one where I was making horns with my fingers so I could send it to my mom. She said that the devil wouldn’t be able to go to the Vatican… some of my friends said the same them. Well, I showed them!
Here (below) is the photo that I took from the entrance of the square. It’s not the greatest photo, but hey, all I’ve got is an iPhone. Sunday mass was being set up which is why there are barricades, at the very front there are chairs set up and a stage. That was my day at the Vatican. We’d done a lot of walking, so we took the metro back. I believed I’ve already said this but if you’re on the metro and happen to be standing near the door and you have a shoulder bag or purse, hold onto that thing. When we got onboard, a girl walked by and snatched this woman’s purse from her. Now the lady got off the train and rugby tackled the girl and hit her but I want to just tell you to hold onto your bag, so that doesn’t happen to you.
Arriving back at the hostel we all took much-deserved naps and showers. Then we convened for dinner at Mamma Angela (Via Palestro, 53, 00185 Roma) I had lasagna again, but it was just as good as the first time I had it. We shared a bottle of wine, wine in Rome is cheaper than water (Seriously). The great thing about the restaurant we chose was that it was right across the street from the bar and the hostel I was staying at. So meeting up with some friends I made at breakfast was easy. The only problem was, they wanted to eat. Adventure time #2! Kidding, we found a place to eat, I had a drink and then walked around. I got to know some of the people a little better which was pretty cool.
At night make sure to be in a group because handling street peddlers is a lot easier in larger groups. Somehow we found an Irish bar… they’re everywhere, and we settled in for more drinks. Over drinks, we discussed our adventure for tomorrow as it would be some peoples last day. The catacombs of Rome are extensive and were on my list, so that’s what we planned for the next day. I’d later regret this, but that’s for the next post which will conclude the trip to Rome. Once again thanks for reading!
P.S forgot to mention, the Vatican, or Vatican City is technically their own country but you don’t have to bring your passport. If you’ve been let into Italy you’re allowed to visit the Vatican… after a long screening process. Have fun and safe travels!