Saturday, October 24, 2015

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

and no I am not using a selfie stick, just my arm

We knew we had to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, of course we are in Rome. Although I really really hate crowds.  After reading that there was an option to visit the Museum on one of their Friday Night Tours I jumped at it.

We pre reserved at the Vatican's website for a group tour on one of their last Friday Night openings. We booked directly with them and we saved quite a bit.  See my list of websites here to find links.

We took the Metro to the Vatican and then it is a short walk to the Museum.  We gave ourselves enough time just in case and we are early so we walk around for half an hour.

We are told to come back at 7:45 for our 8 pm tour.  There is absolutely no line at all.  We clear thru security faster than we ever had at any airport.  We go to the groups area and collect our tickets and and we go to our meeting spot and get our earphones and transmitter.

We are a small group of around 16 and our guide welcomes us.  We meet a young couple from New Westminster, a town right near ours.  In fact they are getting on the same cruise as us but are only doing the first leg. 

Now I purposely did not bring my good camera and tried to keep my camera in my pocket throughout the Vatican Museum.  Note pictures are not allowed in the Sistine Chapel at all.  I really wanted to view all the art thru my eyes and not be so concerned with seeing it thru a lens or feeling like oh I have to get a picture.  So sorry if that is what you are wanting but the memories are in my mind. But I did take two pictures and they are posted here.

All I can say is really a big WOW, every room you go in it is like WOW, OH MY, AWESOME, WOW, REALLY, CRAZY... to the point that it seems that it can't get any more big and dramatic and then darn if you don't go in another room and then BAM there it is again.  WOW, okay Vickie close your mouth.

I would have to say for the first hour it was awesome, then it was like okay cool, then it was like okay this is getting to be a bit over the top.  How much wealth does this place have.?  Crazy... and it started to become overwhelming.  

By the end of the second hour we are getting a bit tired and sadly we just couldn't give the attention we needed to the amazing sites we were seeing.

Finally we enter the Sistine Chapel and I can't believe it. Yes the walls, ceiling, altar, all of it are so very beautiful. It is hard to believe I am here.  And also I am shocked cause everything I had heard said how packed it was but there couldn't of been more than a hundred people in here.  It didn't feel crowded at all - another perk of going at night.  

The guards take their job seriously and he called out a few times for people to put their cameras away.  In fact he went to a guy who was taking pictures and demanded that they get deleted or he would confiscate the camera.  

We spend about twenty minutes in here and we look at each other and say time to go.  It is 10:30 and we are done like dinner.

Am I glad I went to the Vatican Museum, absolutely, I blown away, you bet. 

Would I do it again, probably not.  I love art but this was just way too big and just too opulent.  I think I will stick to churches and "average" museums.  But I highly recommend that if you haven't been then you have to go, but be prepared.  And if you can go during one of their night tours do it.

We leave the museum and our plans were to head for dinner at a place we had recommended to us near the Pantheon.  

First mistake was going up to the taxi line right outside the Vatican.  The guy says 30 E, and we said "what is just across the Tiber" and he says oh no because it is night it is more. We both look at each other and say "no thanks" and walk away.  The guy tried to get us back but we just thought no way.  

As we walked away Bernie says he really is not that hungry and he is more tired than hungry and maybe we can just pick up something small near our apartment.  Okay, sounds like a plan, so we head to the Metro station.

But when we arrive we are hearing a loud speaker announcement and it doesn't sound good.  We soon find out something is wrong and the Metro is down.  Oh... okay, so back up to the road level where we decide to just flag down a taxi.

We get in and the guy has a meter and he takes us right to our apartment for just under 17 E.  Gee this is about three times as far as the Pantheon and just under half the price. So be aware.  But I have to say all the taxis we have taken have been great and very honest.

We arrive and decide to just pick up two samosas each from the Indian Restaurant - Gourm India right where our hotel is.  They are at Via Labicana, 29.  We walk in and place the order and the owner is chatting with us and then we sit down.  As we are waiting he takes out two shot glasses and pours a shot of Barcardi Rum for each of us.  

Oh okay, we thank him and we drink it - oh boy....   We chat some more with him and tell him where we are from and what we are up to and how much we like Rome.  We talk about India and how we would love to visit it sometime.  We have made new friends, and just wish we were here longer so we could enjoy a meal here.  The samosas were very good and hit the spot.

We soon climb into bed and again we are asleep before our head hits the pillow.  Tomorrow is another fun day so stay tuned.

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