On top of things

Goodbye day. Most of my group went home and only me and two boys stayed behind in Rome. Since I had an extra day in Rome I decided to drag the boys out to the Vatican for some self-reflection and amazing views.

As always the line to get into the Vatican’s massive cathedral St Peter was humongous. Salespeople attacked us guerilla style, coming in from all sides. “Skip the line. Only 30 euro and you don’t have to wait. Guided tour.” There is no skipping this line. Entry into the cathedral is free, but you’ll have to endure a wait in Rome’s hot climate. And so we did.

The line went all around

The line went all around

The line moved quickly and we had some fun talking to the Swedish man behind us and answering silly questions on cards. We were on holy ground within an hour, after setting off the metal detector with my bra and wrapping a scarf around my knees. The Catholic dress code seems to be very strict here. You have to cover everything to go see naked statues and half-naked paintings.

The church is very impressive and well-guarded by the Swiss guard and dozens of people in black suits. On paper I may be religious, but in reality I’m far from it. I stand in this massive building, looking around me. I see selfie sticks swinging in all directions. I see cameras flashing. People are talking. I guess I’m not the only one. People come because it’s an attraction. The wealth of the catholic church is obvious, even though we’re not sure what we are staring at.

You can also go into the crypts, were  a lot of the popes are buried. Crypts always have this creepy atmosphere, but this one was very sterile. Information signs tell you a little bit about the popes and before we knew it we were already through. As I came out of the crypt my scarf cover up was suddenly not sufficient anymore and I can now say I got kicked out of church.

There was one more thing I wanted to do though, which was climbing up to the top of this small country. For a few euros you can climb over 500 steps to get just that little bit closer to god. And so we started our journey. It was ok in the beginning, but getting into the dome the staircase got super small. There were so many people and at a certain point you even had to tilt your upper body to continue. “Aaaaaaaaaaaah” of course that was where people just stopped!

I got over my claustrophobia and made it anyway. The fresh air at the top did wonders. That, and a smile from my fellow climbers. Of course this was a hot day and I just stood there dripping for a while. The view was absolutely stunning! We could see into the pope’s beautiful gardens and look out all over Rome. What a fabulous place to be! There we stood, on top of perhaps the most religious building, and we ended up talking about the devil. I didn’t see the light in the Vatican, so I probably never will, but I blended right in with all the other selfie-taking tourists. Don’t miss out on this one!

 

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