Day 3: The Vatican

Let’s see, how did our day first start out?  All of us up at 4:30am.  Getting these kids on a sleep cycle is proving to be daunting. They were not looking forward to the walk-metro-walk trip to the Vatican.  Upon arrival (and mentioned in the earlier post) the mass was moved indoors.  The first line we got into we thought was the line into the mass…but it wasn’t, it was the line into St. Peter’s Basilica.  Later I would be grateful for this mistake as it only took a few minutes to get inside.  Once inside all I could think was, “wow, how very opulent.”   Pictures just don’t do it justice.  There is no words to express the enormity of the place.

It was after we exited that we noticed the line into the mass had grown exponentially.  That’s when we decided to wait it out. It took an hour but we did get in, again, standing room only.  I had already been to a mass before so I directed Ben & Havana to push their way through crowd of tall adults until they could see and I’d wait in the back.  Didn’t take more than a few minutes when they emerged and said “done.”  Ben gave me a high-five and said “let’s go.”

From there, we hoofed it all the way around the north end of the Vatican to the entrance to the Vatican museum, dodging gypsy’s selling fans, umbrellas and fake handbags.  Here is my summary of that experience….First, don’t visit the Vatican in the summer.  Wait until cold weather.  The place is not air-conditioned, it’s severely crowded and you are forced to follow a long path as if you were in IKEA the size of all of Emeryville.  As you move about like herded sheep, there is NO alternative exit when you change your mind, it’s a million miles long and you don’t get to stop for a plate of  meatballs.    I guess their “plan” was to wind the tourists around and over until you finally end up in highlight, the Sistine Chapel.  Let me tell you,  an hour of heat, sweat, sun and no moving air the Sistine chapel felt like a trap.  The room was so crowded I felt like human cattle about to be turned into Soylent Green.  It was a real disappointment to what would otherwise be a divine experience.  It was unfortunate but the heat was that bad.  I’m serious…it was unbearable.

Add to that were room after room of sculptures, artifacts, tapestries, Egyptian relics, etc.  Some were displayed outside and I kept thinking, they let this stuff get wet? Again, no air conditioning, just open windows.  I thought museums were supposed to be temperature controlled?  Mind you, it was beautiful to see these objects. But it was endless and in that heat, when I contemplated “how” these items were obtained and the human cost to acquire it all… I was somewhat sickened.   I’m not terribly religious Catholic but it was one of those moments I felt a bit heartsick about my faith and my church.  Overall it was like walking through an episode of Hoarders: The Holy See.

By 1:00pm, we were burnt.  We went back to the apartment, had a bite to eat and were all asleep by 2:00pm.  A good time to rest from the high heat of the day.  By 5:00pm I forced the kids up and out for a walk, shopping and dinner.  Ben is an easy child, rarely does he want or ask for anything.  However, we are in Italy and it is home to one if his passions…the Ferrari. Not to far from our apartment is a huge Ferrari shop with kids section.  If this is the only souvenirs he finds of interest here in Europe, I think he’s set.

Last, to track down some dinner.  We are already sick of pizza and anything with red sauce.  So we hit up a little Japanese restaurant we passed by yesterday.  It was ok by Bay Area standards, but to us it tasted like home. The menu was very limited but I imagine it must be difficult to import or find the products and produce we are used to.

Tomorrow another day in the hot sun as we attempt to tackle the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

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