Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 13 - Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Cathedral

Okay, pre-warning, this post will involve a lot of pictures.

This morning, I woke up feeling pretty sickly, but I sucked it up to make it to the Vatican. First, I had to get a coke and pastry from the shop around the corner from our hotel. If I don't get fat from the bread and pasta, I will definitely get large from the pastries. America just doesn't have anything on baked goods compared to Spain and Italy. I now know what a real croissant should taste like and how pies are supposed to be made. Thank goodness though, maybe now I will stay away from those things when I get back to the states!

We walked to the metro which is about a mile walk from our hotel. Public transportation in Roma is severely over capacity. Every train and bus you get on is so packed the doors won't open or close. Roma currently has two train lines, A and B, and a bus system. They are digging and constructing a third line, C, that should help the transportation system work a lot more smoothly. Also, there is no system of passes other than buying a train ticket when you get to the station so that has been a little frustrating.

After 8 stops on a crowded train, we made it to the Vatican. Did you know that the Vatican is the smallest country in the world? Yes, it is it's own country. Who makes up the population, you may ask? The Pope, cardinals, nuns, priests, and the Swiss Guard. The Swiss Guards are just as you see in books; colorfully dressed, standing like statues, and mean mugging you. There is a small town in Switzerland that produces the large number of Swiss Guards to the Vatican. Boys are literally picked from a young age and raised to serve in the Swiss Guard. Can you imagine having your occupation planned for you from infancy? Dad, I am not sure what you would have picked for me, but I am sure it would have not been construction so good thing you didn't have to choose! Also, grazie for raising me in a manner that I could choose for myself!

Ok fine, I will show you some pictures now.

St. Peter's Square is in the shape as if God was reaching out his hands to welcome you. It is pretty amazing to stand where millions have stood before to greet the new Pope. The current leader of the Catholic church is Pope Benedict XVI and is a little controversial as he is from Germany and spoke little during WWII about the reign of Hitler and the Holocaust. Okay, okay, more pictures. Geeze.

The best part of the day was that we did not have to wait in the world's longest line! Anoop booked our tour in advance so we got to grab some gelato and head right in. Our tour guide kind of sucked. She spoke okay english but had such a heavy accent that she added an "a" sound on the end of every word. I could only listen to her for about ten minutes before snapping pictures around every corner.

The entrance into the Vatican Museum is a really cool spiral walk way. Take a look:

Just like the Pantheon, the entire Vatican Museum looks fake. We took a diet ginger ale tour of the museum considering that if you took one minute at every piece of art, it would take you 13 years to tour the entire Vatican. Ours took right at 3 hours; diet ginger ale, right? Another pre-warning, my favorite parts of buildings are always going to be three things: ceilings, floors, and unique details. With that said, I took little pictures of the tapestries, statues and paintings. However, I did appreciate them all and took time to soak it all in. Here are some pictures from inside the Vatican walls:

This not a rug, it is actually tiles! The crazy thing about this floor is that there are skilled laborers that do this kind of work still to this day. You can even go to school to learn this trade. Skilled labor in Europe is very different than in the states. Skilled laborers can reap the benefits of much higher wages and a wider range of skills. In the states, you usually have trades like plumbing, framing, flooring, roofing, finishings, and roofers. In Europe you have tradesmen that master far more crafts that date back way before America was even a country.

This is the ceiling of one of the rooms we went in today. What a beauty. No Alana, we cannot recreate this for your dining room. I am so sorry to disappoint.

Here are some of my favorite pieces of art work from the Vatican. You can judge me all you want.

You can't take pictures inside the Sistine Chapel (although some people did anyways) but I caught a pic of the sign into the chapel!

Here are some pics from outside St. Peter's Cathedral:

St. Peter's was unbelievable. It is the world's largest cathedral by far and is where every Pope is buried. The second largest is no other than Washington D.C.; way to go America! I cannot even begin to describe how immaculate this place is. I am not Catholic and even I started to tear up. It is also a testament to it's beauty when you see so many different cultures and religions flocking to this place just to see it. I will have to say that Michelangelo did a top notch job on the gig. And now for inside St. Peter's Cathedral....

The Popes are buried down there!

List of all the Popes:

The only piece of work that Michelangelo signed:

Needless to say, yesterday was beyond belief. I really hate that we don't have a second day at these places to really soak it all in. Today, we didn't have to meet Anoop until 4:30pm so Kendall and I slept until noon! It was much needed. I have been a little sickly since the first day in Roma and am still struggling with it. Yes, I am drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest. I am excited about this afternoon because Anoop said he is taking us to an area with really good restaurants. Italy is definitely making me fat! Their pastries, pasta, pizza and sandwiches are really good! I am pretty sure we ate horse meat yesterday for dinner but it was dang good horse meat if I do say so myself!

I have still not figured out the best way to share all of my photos yet. The internet is so terrible in Europe that I can not possible upload 1000 pictures easily here. I will have to figure this out when I get back to the states. But yes, I am saving all of my photos and they are safe and sound on my external hard drive.

Tomorrow we have a free day and I hope to make it to the Trevi Fountain. A little bird (Meg) told me it was her favorite part of Roma. Maybe I will take my picture in front of it... Maybe not...

On Thursday, a group of us are headed to Rapallo, Italy for our vacation days. This is a small coastal town where we have a hotel on the beach (or so it says..)! I won't be updating my blog until we get to Florence on Saturday so no one freak out if you haven't heard from me in two days (Dad, Alana, Meghan, Missy, Sara... that means y'all!). I will warn you of this again before I leave.

What are the best and worst parts of Europe? Well, the worst are how Europeans smell and the terrible internet. The best thus far: the food (however, I do want Moe's as soon as I get back), the sights (there is no possible way to rank them), and experiencing a different way of life. We have had a definite culture shock so far and it will only get worse but I am glad to experience it. It has already taught me how I do and don't want to live. No worries everyone, I have not found a town that you will loose me to after grad school.

I miss you all very much! Dad, give Duffer a big hug and kiss for me! Alana, I hope you have found someone else to bring you lunches. Sara and Jeremy, it sucks not having me around. Just admit it! Meghan, keep counting down the days and we will head straight to the lake I promise! Mimi & Papa, I miss spending time with y'all at the lake; I will have to make up for it the second half of the summer! Mark and Missy, I am looking forward to my coming home meal. Can it be home cooked? Carol and my girls, try not to break too much while I am gone!

Thank you to everyone who is reading my blog. I am up to 1500 views thus far. I am definitely adding google ads today and maybe I can make some money off blogging! Until next time...


  1. I cried at the Vatican - it was just too much to experience at once. It was my favorite place we went in Europe. Second would be Platform 9 3/4.

  2. This is all fantastic. You are one lucky and fortunate young lady and I'm so proud of you!!!

  3. I didn’t realize that the Swiss guards were actually chosen from Switzerland, thanks for pointing that out in your blog. I wonder just how they are chosen as children, as people obviously change, at least slightly, as they grow up. I also wonder if the kids are excited when they are chosen, or whether they perhaps have other aspirations for different careers. Either way, it’s very interesting that people don’t just apply to be one of the guards. Anyway, thanks for that piece of information that I didn’t pick up on when we visited the Vatican the other day.

  4. I didn't know that the population of the Vatican was only the guard, pope, nuns, and cardinals. I was under the impression that there were residents, normal citizens, of the Vatican. But then again, I really have no idea. See KK you have to be aggressive with the picture taking in the Sistine Chapel. I know your not supposed to but I never heard from the Chapel staff that we were not supposed to take pictures. I walked in that beast snapping pictures I got a few good ones before the guy is yelling "NO PHOTOS, NO PHOTOS!" Then again you can just pretend like you don't speak English and do it anyways. I'm writing this a few days after this day and I'm pretty sure I caught your sickness, preciate it.

    Tanner Stallings