Day 7: Vatican City (20 June 2008)

We ate breakfast in the hotel at 7:45 and rode with a bus to the train station at 8:15.  It was our Contiki bus driver’s day off and we got day pass to use public transport for the day.  We got on the Metro train at the EUR Magliana station and rode to Ottaviano station.  The train was very, very busy and we had to split into two groups.  We had to change trains at the Termini station and everybody got to the last stop. Then we walked to the Vatican City. 

We stood in the row for about 10 minutes before entering.  We walked through the huge museum.  It was a lot to take absorb in one visit.  It was very busy and we followed the crowds of tourists down the corridors of the museum in the direction of the Sistine Chapel.  Along the way we saw statues and more statues.  The walls and ceilings of every hallway are decorated differently with lots of detail. 

We walked down the “Gallery of Maps” with maps of Italy painted in 1580 – 1583.  But the most impressive of this 120m long hall was the amazing ceiling decorations.

We also saw the “Court of the Pigna” or Court of the Pine with the big bronze pinecone statue and golden orb.

Before reaching the Sistine Chapel we walked through the Rafael Rooms with the most amazing decorations done between in 1508 and 1524. 

Then we entered the Sistine Chapel. The Chapel was packed full of tourist looking at the wonderful ceiling and “Last Judgement” by Michelangelo.  No photos are allowed and the crowd is supposed to be quiet.  The most noise is made by the security people asking us to be quiet.  We sat for a while and just looked up at the ceiling.  It is too much to take in.

A tip from our tour guide was to leave the Chapel at the “group exit” to save some time.  It was very warm outside and we filled our water bottles at a fountain with cold “holy water”.  Next we were visiting St Peter’s Basilica.

Read more of the trip to Europe in 2008:
1.          Mossel Bay to London
2.          Day 1: London to Amsterdam
3.          Day 1: Amsterdam Canal Cruise
4.          Day 2: Amsterdam
5.          Day 2: St Goar Germany
6.          Day 3: Munich Germany
7.          Day 3: Munich Germany Cont
8.          Day 4: Austria
9.                   Day 5: Venice Italy
10.               Day 5: Venice Italy Cont
11.               Day 6: Rome Italy
12.        Day 6: Rome Italy Cont


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