Our next stop on our holiday to end all holidays was the Vatican City.
First thing to note is that The Vatican City is very small, and you don’t quite get an appreciation for just how small it is until you get there. To go from St Peters Basilica to the Vatican Museum, you have to walk basically from one end of the Vatican to the other, and this takes about 20 minutes! Im not sure of the exact dimensions, but I’m sure you would circumnavigate the Vatican around the outside of the walls in an hour, and not at a quick pace either.
First impressions of the Vatican is that the square and basilica are absolutely amazing, but after a while it just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Firstly, everything was absolutely awe inspiringly magnificent. But there was a big difference between this and most of the other churches we had visited. There were statues everywhere, of the saints and of the popes, and of the Virgin Mary, but there very few of, hmm, I dunno, Jesus!
Now I don’t think i would call myself christian anymore, but after learning a bit about it in my younger years, I thought Christianity was about, you know, Christ, and not about the Popes etc. They had statues for everyone, including a Swedish queen, who i can’t remember her name, but she did nothing else except convert from protestantism to catholicism. It just struck me as odd that you would have a statue about that.
Something that I was originally quite interested in seeing turned into a big symbol of all that is wrong with Catholicism. I actually recently read an article about the new Pope and how he is trying to live really frugally, moving into a smaller house at The Vatican instead of the traditional Papal residence, driving a small VW instead of the Pope mobile etc etc, and i couldn’t help but think that they should have been doing this all along, because all of this was effectively built with donations from the public. Shouldn’t they be giving this money to the poor! There would honestly be billions of dollars worth of stuff that could have been used to help the poor, or get clean water for Africa or something. I can see why Luther started the reformation against all of this.
Anyway, after St Peters Basilica, we ended the day at the Vatican Museum, including the Sistene Chapel, and I have to say this was much more enjoyable, and the paintings in the Sistene Chapel really do live up to expectations.
Piazza San Pietro
Swiss Guard – the traditional guards of the pope, and they hold dual citizenship
Inside St Peters Basilica
Sculpture by Michelangelo, probably my favourite in the Basilica
Sculpture of some pope. There would have been 20 of these inside the basilica, maybe more
Touching St Peter’s feet
Outside the Vatican Museum
The ceilings were amazizng
A copy of “The Thinker,” actually by Rodan. Apparently he made a whole bunch of copies and sent them out to people!
Pasta for tea. One of the best things about staying in B&B style accommodation is asking for recommendations for places to eat, because usually they tell you about the places that they go, instead of the tourist places, and this was one of our favourites. Three course meal and a bottle of wine cost us less than €40 which is just insanely good. And the pasta was the best I had ever had. Similar to the pizza, there wasn’t that many different ingredients in the sauce, but that seemed to enhance it rather than detract from it. I wish i could eat at this place every night, it was awesome.