|Friday 5th October 2007 Weather: - In the Vatican museum-Hot/Stuffy
(J) We thought that we were oh, so clever today. We left home at 6:45am to get to the Vatican Museum at 7:30 for an opening time of 8:45am. When we arrived there were at least 800 people lined up at the 'tour group' gate and more arriving by the minute. Another 200 had beaten us to the 'individual tickets' gate. A bit of queue jumping gave Herman a chance to rid himself of some frustration with some verbal fisticuffs but the nicest thing was that all the organized tours were allowed to go in first and our line did not start moving until 9:30am. A stampede inside for tickets was followed by another line up for audio guides. Now this is where we really showed up how clever we are getting---after the slashing of Herman's bag and on closer inspection a scratch on the side of my leather bag (approx. The same place as the slash on Herman's bag), and upon reading in one of the guide books that the crime rate in the vicinity of the Vatican is 20 times worse than in Rome, we left all our credit cards and identification at home. We have gotten to the stage where we are using our bags as decoys, Herman refuses to use his new bag as he "does not want it damaged he told me, so I will carry the old bag until I am back at home". We are also walking to the very top of the railway platform in order to find a carriage that is a little less crowded and hopefully safer. While having a bite to eat at the Museum today we got to talking to a Mexican couple, they have been pickpocket twice so far in about five days.
"Sorry, very sorry but you can only have an Audio guide with a credit card or if we hold your passport etc. No we do not have maps of the museum either". Dumb Judy followed blind Freddy around the museum for the rest of the day. Our biggest worry was that we would find ourselves in the Sistine Chapel as we had read that you cannot back track from there and we were determined to see as much as possible in one day. Because the crowds were so heavy it was hard to see where you were going in some instances.
I found out where the 'Adelaide Mall Balls' went to when they disappeared a few months ago, they sent them to the Vatican so that they could use them as models for their 'World within a World' sculpture. Actually I heard a whisper (listening in on a tour guide) that it was commissioned as a result of the last Popes' world travels, He was the most travelled Pope in history.
Wandering through the museum is hard work, there is so much to see and without a guide impossible to all take in. The saving grace is that we could buy a series of DVD's that we can study, to make sense of it all when we get home. Herman was able to take some photos but without using a flash and in very dim conditions, good results were hard to get. Once in the Sistine Chapel all photography was banned and "everyone keep moving" was the cry from the guards, so do not expect to get a good look once you get to that point.
My dear girlfriend Rae, I really understand your views on Rome now, after you having lived here for so long and also your views after your recent trip back to Rome. Now you tell me your daughter who has lived here all her life is immigrating to Australia it is all very comprehensible.
(H) As Judy has mentioned before, there is so much to see and absorb in the museum and after being on our legs for over 8 hrs. we were glad to call it a day at about 3.30pm. It is hard to describe the myriad of beautiful fresco's that adorned the ceilings and walls of almost every room and by the time we got to the Sistine Chapel the adornments, in there, had lost some of their "Wow" factor. It is funny how you tend to visualise things but the Chapel is a lot smaller then I thought it would be. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that there were probably 200-300 or more people in the same room, as it was shoulder to shoulder. Having said all that it is still a 'must see' and I would not have missed it for quids.