Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On our fourth day at the Vatican, Toby told me that I was in for surprise. Do you mean the surprise where the line goes all the way back down around the circle and across the other side? Or the surprise where it starts to rain as soon as we've taken our place in the line? No silly, it's the surprise that I can act like a German tourist and queue-hop with the best of them to make full use of my time. The lines were so long and it was our last full day in Rome, we decided to throw caution to the wind and risk being struck by thunderbolts to get to the top of the Cupola. If you go back to the first Rome photo of St. Peter's in the gloaming and look for the very top of the dome, Toby and I stood there.

While nothing funny had happened on the way to the Forum earlier in the day, funny things did happen on the way up the Cupola. Like walking through the Papal tombs not once but twice because we couldn't find sufficient decoy tourists to distract the guards so we could join the Cupola line at its smallest point. I am, however, very glad to have seen the tombs, with the exception of Paul VI, who creeps me out even in death. Finally, on our third go around some lovely tourist asked the Queue Guard some very involved question, which distracted him long enough that we could hop into the last section of the line to the Cupola. Since the rest of the line was made up of French teenagers, pre-riot, there were no protests, objections, or flaming projectiles.

The thrill of acting like German tourists wore off after step 467. The vague sense that the walls were closing in came around step 1349, and sheer terror set in about 4 steps from the top when we had to grab on to a greasy rope in order to make it through the last twisty tunnel before . Yep, that's quite the vista point. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 07, 2005

For a couple of heathens Toby and I spent an awful lot of time in and around the Vatican. It was our first stop and our last stop...that sounds way too biblical. We went on the first day, but it was late, we went on the second day but the Pope was on the jumbotron and the whole place was shut down, but finally, on the third day, we Vaticaned-out. This photo is of a ceiling in the Vatican Museum on the way to the Sistene Chapel. The fact that every ceiling along the way (the way being about 1.5 kms) was gilded and painted was incredible...the fact that they also mosaiced the floors and did similarly ornate things to the window frames is more than a little impressive. I have no pictures of the Sistene Chapel since I love rules and obeyed both the no talking and no snapshot rule. I'm sort of glad I didn't attempt to take pictures since I doubt that all the French teenagers taking pictures on their mobile phones will be able to capture the majesty of a finger-pointing deity. Posted by Picasa
In the spirit of romance, Toby had attempted to surprise me with a trip to Rome. But modern customer service being what it is, the tickets turned up at home, and not at the office. Turns out that romance is not so much in the delivery of the tickets, but in the indulgences one is granted. And boy, was I romanced. Never before has a young man tolerated so many references to an Audrey Hepburn film in such a short week. But thanks to my devotion to Roman Holiday, and in particular the scene where she meets the hairdresser at St. Angelo to go dancing I took this pretty picture. Posted by Picasa