Rome – day 2

Sharon over strained her back pulling out tent pegs in Sorrento, so a day of wandering around Rome meant that she needed a bit of a break. I was interested in seeing the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica, but it wouldn’t be a good experience with or for the girls. So we split up for the day. Sharon was going to have a morning in with the girls, whilst I headed out to see the Vatican.

I decided to start with the Vatican Museums, of which the Sistine Chapel is part. The queue for the museums was probably as long as we’d walked the previous day. Yikes. And I hate crowds and queues. I think the queues were ‘bad’ (not that I know what normal is) due to the museums being closed the day before. So it only took an hour from joining the queue to actually getting in through the metal detectors.

My plan was to head to the Sistine Chapel and call the museums done. But I got side tracked looking at the Egyptian Room. And then there was the collections of ancient cuneiform clay tablets – always interesting looking at the origin of written language. Then there was the Tapestry hall. I found that quite fascinating, particularly the level of detail present in the ‘cartoons’ as they were called.

Then I finally made it to the Sistine Chapel. Having not researched exactly what I was to see there, I didn’t realise I was in it until I looked more closely at the ceiling. For some reason I’ve always imagined that the ‘God created Adam, reaching out and almost touching fingers’ painting was absolutely huge and dominated the chapel. It’s only one of nine panels depicting Creation, and from the vantage point of the floor, it doesn’t appear that large.

Not being an art lover, the intricacies of the work is lost on me. None the less I was somewhat awestruck at the scale of the work, and certainly enjoyed seeing stories that I hold dear depicted graphically by a master.

There was one person there that I wanted to personally congratulate before I left the chapel: the professional shusher. This man’s job was to keep 400+ (complete guess) tourists, and even worse, tour guides, quiet whilst in the chapel. I’m a shusher myself, but I only work the home lounge room scene, and the occasional cinema. This man though, he’d hit the big time. But I think the congratulation would have been lost somewhere in translation. And I didn’t want to interrupt him whilst he was on the job.

I then left the chapel, raced through the rest of the museums and out and headed over St. Peter’s Square. I’d run out of time to see inside the basilica, so instead took in the square and the exterior of it all. I then had a rendezvous with Sharon and the girls to make in Piazza Navona for lunch.

After lunch we headed to the Spanish Steps, another sight on Sharon’s check list. We spent a bit of time here cooling off in the fountain and just enjoying the atmosphere. We then headed back to our room to call it a day.

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