Thursday, April 6, 2017

At the Vatican

Today was visit the Vatican Day which meant another early start as wanted to get in ahead of the crowds and long lines. I headed to the restaurant and had my coffee and pastry at 7.15  I was in St Peter's Basilica quickly as the lines were short. I was quite impressed with everything inside and amazed at the size of it, and it is the largest Christian building church in the world.  I was there for over 2 hours I constantly running into priests carrying communion followed by groups of people. I almost missed seeing Michelangelo Pieta and the fact that I did not see it when I first went in was that that area must have been covered up, as some areas were.


St Peter

Then it was time for a bit of a break and I looked around for something to eat because I knew I would be in the Vatican museums quite awhile, I grabbed something at Mickey D 

as it was the only place close.  I had purchased a ticket online from the Vatican Museum website, they charge an extra 4 euro for the service and well worth it, because without one I knew I would be standing in line for hours.   I then headed over to the museums which was  a bit of a walk, along the Vatican walls it was great to have a ticket and pass the lines of people.  The Museum was quite crowded in some areas and I was so thankful that I did not do the guide thing as they sailed through the gallery hardly stopping. I was able to take my time in each area and just enjoy some of the amazing works of art that I was seeing.  I was totally impressed at some of the things I saw and was in there for over 4 hours I could have spent more time but was exhausted doing St Peters and Vatican Museum the same day can be exhausting especially as I had only arrived 2 days earlier. I was starved by now and found a place to eat called Pastasciutta it was a tiny place where they sold pasta very inexpensive and very good. I managed to find a seat inside rather than sit on the steps out side as many people were doing. 


Vatican post office

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Hanging out with the Pope and some cats

Pope Patrica Ann the First

I slept pretty good and was awake around 6 am. I got dressed headed to the restaurant for my breakfast a croissant and coffee. I was disappointed because I had had read about the awesome bread at the B and B. It was cold out and I decided to go back to my room a bit before heading to the Vatican.  I headed over and there were quite a lot of people going in. I went through the security and managed to get ahead of people, guess I picked the right line.  Then headed over to looking for a place to sit there were 2 sections of chairs and I was looking thinking I had to go to the 2nd section but a woman there pointed out section one and said go there.  I was about  rows back from the area where the pope would be, a bit off center and to the left side a good view even without a camera and a zoom. I had a book with me so I sat and read while I waited.  I could tell then pope was arriving earlier than I thought he would so I stood on my chair but he was nowhere that I could see so I just sat back on my chair. 

I listened to the speeches and since everything was in Italian and I do not speak Italian it really got to be too much. At one point one of priests gave a welcome in English and then we were blessed, the pope did some readings.  When it was over the pope went to meet people who were up on the steps of the Basilica. I moved closer to the barrier as so many people left and I was over by the center now about 3 people from the area roped off. I took some photos and stood with others wondering if he would come down towards us, it lasted awhile and many people left and then I overheard a security man near tell someone  I can not guarantee he will come here and take it. So I decided to hang around and see what would happen. The Pope mobile arrived and parked right in front of us and then I could see Pope Francis headed down the stairs. People started yelling to him Papa I had turned on the video of my camera as he got closer. I saw him climb into the Pope mobile and stand and he was waving and people were calling out to him papa. First he was handed a drink by security that I had seen someone with earlier and he held it up like he was drinking from it. He was then handed a scull cap like he was wearing he took off his cap and put on the cap and posed. Then he waved and left. Everyone was excited I started talking to the couple who gave him the cap as I detected their brogue they were from County Tyrone I mentioned I was there once and that my mom was from Co Mayo and they let me put the scull cap on my head and I had a photo taken wearing it.

I went back to my room got my Nikon camera and sat and rested a bit and then started walking the streets I came across an ancient site and was trying to figure out what it was. Then I started seeing cats and saw a sign that it was a Cat Sanctuary. There were some cats laying among the ruins and then found an entrance to an area with the cats.  I went in and looked around and I made a little donation.  There were all kinds of cats inside as well as outside. It was the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. The sacred ground our cats walk on was also shared by another Roman Julius Caesar. It was there in Torre Argentina in the year 44 BC that one of the most illustrious dictators was stabbed by his rival Brutus.

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva