Thursday, 19 September 2013

An Inspirational Day of Sight-seeing

It was an early start to the day... We decided that even with the "skip the line" tickets, that we would try to get to the Vatican really early to beat the rush.  It always amazes me t how many people live and visit here.. and I suppose that is the fact that there are so many pedestrians, and how natural it is to just walk the city. Mind you, if you see how the driving is, you would want to walk too :-)
On our way to the Vatican, I took this picture of the Castle di Angelo. Hardly any people! Yes, another reason to get up early and see some sights!

When we arrived at St.Peter's Basilica, there were masses of crowds gathering for the Wednesday Mass.  We accidentally followed the crowds, and even went through a check-point, until we realized that this was not the line-up we intended to be in. In front of the pedestrian gates below, are thousands of chairs for the faithful.

We went through one two areas of the Vatican Museum, before entering the Sistine Chapel...
One room of busts and statues... my favorite statue was one of a Satyr (inv.1843), who had a delightful expression on his face:

Then the map room, where we came across an ancient painted map that had the city of Nola on it (my daughter-in-law was thrilled needless to say!)!

There were no pictures allowed in the Sistine Chapel, needless to say as it is a holy place... we were able to stay there for about one-half hour, and I have to say that I had tears in my eyes.  If you are ever able to go there, take an audio guide that will allow you to be reverent, but also to understand what you are seeing.  Just to understand what Michelangelo intended to cover as a topic of his masterpiece is awesome, and deserves studying before you go... I know that I will study it after I get home.

Even exiting the chapel and museum there were things to be amazed at, for example the stairway out:

When we exited the Sistine Chapel, we made our way back through to the courtyard of St.Peter's Basilica to catch the double decker sight-seeing bus we had the pass on.  The picture below shows how many people are in the courtyard... The columns that surround it were full of what we suspected were line-ups to enter it.  I could not imagine waiting to enter. 

We decided to go to the train station to scope out how we will navigate our way to Naples and onward to Positano. The train station is huge! Very organized, but you have to watch for people who try to help that are not official as they do so for $$$. It puts a different perspective on how tourists at home may react if you try to help them...there are so many different pan-handlers/sellers in the streets, selling laser pointers, knock off handbags and various other trinkets. 
Here is a picture of the inside of the train station, and one of the style of train we are going to travel on.

We were able to check the status of the train tickets that we have, and found out that we do not need printed tickets, just to show them the electronic version on our phones.

Now the hardest thing to decide will be what sights to take in on our last day here.  Its 7am, and after a quick bite to eat I'll be on my way!

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