We continued our tour in the heart of Catholicism by spending most of the day at the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. (Save an hour+ of standing in line by buying tickets online- unfortunately we didn’t have internet so wasn’t an option). It was very crowded, warm and the route to the Sistine chapel takes you through many sections of the Vatican museums (I don’t remember that from 20 years ago). It was good that we saved this for a separate day, it would have been disastrous to do yesterday. You can't take pictures of the sistine chapel but I think we did buy a post card of the ceiling. The kids mainly thought it was kind of boring, hot and long. Hopefully they will also remember that they saw one of the crowning pieces of artwork in the Western world.
Det55 and Ltmgamer have come up with their own way of exploring museums. In the Louve they took off together, found pictures they liked and made up funny captions to go along with them.
They found the nude statues at the Vatican museum a bit overwhelming so they decided to search for the statue with the most perfect penis. Anyone with a son or a young boy in their life will not find that unusual. I'm not quite sure what constitutes a "perfect penis" on a hundreds-of-years- old statue in the minds of an 8 and 12 year old but it got them engaged in the artwork anyway. So if they don't remember seeing the Sistine Chapel they may at least remember giggling over nude statues.
Back at the apartment, we stopped in the little shop next to the apartment and thanked Julia again for helping us. It is her dream to someday visit New York. We bought a few souvenirs while we were there as they had some pretty and inexpensive necklaces made out of Murano Italian glass.
For the third day in a row we walked to St Peter’s Basilica, this time to see the pope address the crowd from the balcony. As we approached we could see camera crews set up. Turns out it was actually a special celebration of Pope Paul VI's beatification ceremony. We got to see some Catholic pomp and circumstance with a choir, priests, alter boys etc all carried out in the piazza in front of the basilica. We stayed for about ½ hour and happened to be there when the pope spoke (in Italian, of which the only thing I understood was “Thank you”.)
Our daily treks have been followed by gelato from the shop a few doors from our apartment. We sampled several flavors over the week. Chocolate, chocolate chip, pistachio, strawberry, vanilla, caramel and lemon were all mighty tasty, although I was the only one who liked the pistachio. The strangest flavor we saw in a shop in Rome was “Viagra”, a bright blue concoction. Didn't try that one.
I learned from the gelato guy that in Italy they don’t really give out “tastes” of gelato (after I asked for a taste of the pistachio so I try it before getting a scoop). He did give me a small sample of pistachio gelato but he said that is a US thing, not Italian. Apparently, Italians don’t use butter much either, at least for bread. Catherine told me that but I had forgotten. I was reminded by a cafeteria person in the Vatican museum when I asked for butter for my roll. “We don’t eat butter in Italy.”
We started out the morning with a stop in the Pantheon (I’ve been going at least once a day). Lydia was annoyed because were delayed in leaving so missed the doors opening. We decided we’d try again tomorrow.