EuroTrip2006 – Day 19: Papal Pandemonium

Highlight: Watching the hawkers scramble to grab there wares and run off the bridge as the Carabinieri approached.
Lowlight: Almost feinting of hunger while touring St. Angelo’s Castle (and paying ā‚¬4 for a crappy sandwich to keep my stomach from digesting itself).
Fun Fact: The Vatican is a European micro-state (like Monaco) with its own police force the Swiss Guard. Oddly enough, the Vatican has the highest crime rate per capita of any state in the world.
Money spent: ā‚¬59.50
Ben Frustration Index(BFI): 0
Pairs of clean underwear left: 9
Book Page: 158

Ben, Ariel, and I spent the morning in the longest line up I have ever seen. There must have bene a few thousand people in front of us waiting to get into the Vatican Museum. We should have came on Friday instead of Saturday. With efficiency bordering on godliness, the people in the Vatican had us and everyone in front of us inside the museum within an hour.

The Vatican Museums close early in the afternoon and it was one of the big attractions that we missed when I was in Europe with my parents 5 years ago. This time, we had 2 hours to see everything before it closed. The highlights were the map room, the Sistine Chapel, and seeing all the Papal accessories. We tried, but didn’t find Ye Holy Hand Grenade. At first glance the Sistine Chapel was quite un-awe-inspiring. At first all you notice is the throng of tourists disobeying orders and talking and taking pictures and the guards yelling at the them and a giant ceiling. But after I sat down and started to look more closely, you notice tons of famous scenes. The whole ceiling is huge and has a lot of depth and detail. You expect the famous parts (God touching Adam’s finger) to stick out, but they’re only a small part of the ceiling.

After the Sistine Chapel, we wandered over to St. Peter’s Square. We couldn’t go in the Basilica because there was a parade for some virgin saint going on. Instead we toured St. Angelo’s Castle which is nearby. It was disappointing but the view from up top was nice. By this time I was starving, so we went in seach of food.

When we crossed the St. Angello Bridge and as we were crossing, all the hawkers started scrambling to grab their stuff and you could hear people yelling “Carabinieri”. It was like a mad parade. At the front, mostly African hawkers with white sheets full of knock of goods, and calmly following was the police. It was hilarious. At the end of the bridge the hawkers waited until the police left. We asked one why they had to run and he replied: “Because we don’t want to pay taxes”.

After finding some yummy pizza, we walked over to Piazza Navona, a really nice piazza full of street performers and fountains. A bunch of kids were amusing themselves by shining laser lights in the faces of a human statue – little brats. After chilling for a bit, we walked over to the Pantheon (an old Roman temple that was converted into a weird church). The crosses and Christian artifacts all seemed out of place in the old Roman building. We sat on the steps and played cards for a while before heading back to Piazza Navona for dinner. I had cannelloni and we all tried the tira misu for dinner. Not the best, but it was still good.

After dinner, we lost Ariel walking home. I was really worried about her, but when Ben and I finally made it back she was sitting in the hostel wondering what took us so long.

Funky Socks  The Devil And the Church  Petrified Dog  My Favourite Painted Ceiling  Staring At the Ceiling  Pious Ben  The Splendor of the Holy See  Enjoying the Heat

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