Ok, so Shelley and I both have a really bad habit of seeing something absolutely amazing (like the colosseum) and then exclaiming "holy hell!" or "my god!" or "Jesus Christ!". So, as we were planning on visiting a place which is, apparently, the centre of quite a major religion and the Catholics sort of frown on Blaspheming; we decided to take a vow of silence in an effort to stop ourselves from said blaspheming and being thrown out. We came up with some gestures and motions for things we thought we would need to communicate to each other and buttoned our lips as we went in search of the bus we would need to get to The Vatican.
On most of our trips abroad Shelley and I point out Starbucks' and McDonalds to each other to show how much America has invaded the rest of the world. In Rome, this changed to pointing out nuns, priests and monks to each other. We saw so many nuns that actually we had to think of the collective noun for a group of nuns. . . (A Superfluity). The reason for this segway is because we weren't one hundred percent sure which stop to get off the bus at but when we saw the nun on the bus get off, we sort of thought we should follow her. Unfortunately we didn't quite get off at that stop and had to jump off at the next one and walk back. We then walked a little bit further before we saw the giant area surrounded by pillars which I remembered from my first visit as being the "border" between Italy and The Vatican. Once through the pillars we noticed just how many people there were. It was only about 10am and we thought we were getting there early. . .not early enough apparently. It was packed. But we did manage to get some photos:
Anyway, we fought our way through all of the people, went through the security checks and entered Saint Peter's Basilica. Like a lot of churches, St Peter's is full of gold, marble and altars. Although it only has one, very tiny, stained glass window. It also has this sculpture by Michangelo:
Unfortunately there were also WAAAAAYYYYYYYY too many people to make it an enjoyable visit so we escaped and attempted to find the entrance to The Vatican City and The Vatican Museum, which is where The Sistine Chapel is located. After about half an hour of wandering, fighting through tourists and asking security guards who don't speak much English and just gesture vaguely and say 'over there'; we gave up, and decided we didn't really need to see it after all. We were both quite tired and grumpy by this point due to our second 6am wake up call in a row, so we returned to our hostel and napped for a bit. After we woke up, we went in search of a supermarket and food and went to the garden of the Terme di Diocleziano (the first museum we went to) in the hopes of finding some grass to picnic on. However. There was a man sitting in a little box watching everybody like a hawk and if you did anything wrong, like for example, trying to walk on or chill out on the grass, he would blow a whistle at you. So, in Italy and Greece the officials all have whistles that they blow when people do something wrong; which totally makes sense as it transcends all languages. Shelley and I have decided that we would like our own whistles so we could blow them at THOSE tourists. You know the ones, who touch when the signs say 'don't touch', who use flash photography after being asked not to, the ones who let their child climb all over priceless ancient artifacts. We really want our own whistles now. . .
Anyway, we weren't allowed to sit on grass but we did find a table to picnic at and chilled for bit before returning to our hostel to attempt an early night in preparation for the train trip tomorrow. It didn't work that well due to some American's across the hall who were drinking and decided to start singing at 11pm. Shelley sort of lost it and went out to tell them they were very loud and that there were people trying to sleep. They got the hint and toned it down however the bar next door decided to start playing trance so it was another horrible nights sleep for us both.
Anyway, that was Rome, next up; Florence!