We woke up early for Breakfast, it was the start of our first full day in Rome. The first intention was to see the Sistine Chapel. Eddie had a complete stroke of genius after liaising with the hotel receptionist. He went online and pre-booked tickets. Basically for four Euros extra each, it gave us a queue jump plus entry. Just one problem! Start the panic stations... We have to be there for half ten am. Check the time... OMG It's ten am. We end up leaving the hotel at 5 past. Frantically we navigate our way to one of the local underground Metro stations. Rome only has two Metro lines which are considered to be relatively primitive. There is a reason behind this and the reason is that it's due to a complex network would result in digging up some of the Roman ruins. On reflection we travelled almost as efficiently as a local. We grab the day pass and 5 stations down the line we arrive. We climb the escalator up the surface and follow masses of people. You couldn't help but get swept along. It was obvious which direction the Universal Vatican City was in. Touts kept trying to attract our attention and sell us tickets. We had booked in advance, we considered ourselves as very clever! Cue sarcastic remark back at the touts... We ARE off to the the Vatican, see you there!!
The queue was overwhelming! Hundreds and hundreds of people people were queuing up in unshaded heat that was over 30 degrees C. I was trying to loosen my shorts as we waded through the never ending queue. I did this as I was anxious that I would be turned away from the Sistine Chapel for showing my knees. Loosening my shorts made them look longer. We get past the first security guard - YES! We then approached an airport style Passport control and we put the contents of our pockets through a machine. We get past the second stage - YES! The the final stage was unmanned. Putting our tickets into a machine, the doors open and we were through. SUCCESS! I tighten up my shorts with content!
From Ben's memory he suggested that we would view various artefacts in several Museums before we could enter the Sistine Chapel. This was true and it was lovely seeing various Egyptian mummies, Medieval paintings and religious coffins, but it was spoilt by the shear mass of people. Eventually we enter the Sistine Chapel and it was breathtaking. The marshals were trying to create silence as a symbol of respect. Photographs were also prohibited, but funnily enough you could buy a photo of Michelangelo's famous art work for a very reasonable 20 Euros. Rip off! So we took a very sneaky pic!
We exited the Sistine with claustrophobia due to the masses of people crammed into it like sardines and walked into a surprise that I completely unsuspected. There in front of us was the beautiful St Peters Square. I've seen it so many times on TV but standing in the square looking up to the big balcony where the Pope usually stands was an awesome experience.
We then entered St Peters Basilica. This has to be the most beautiful church I have ever been in. Eddie managed to take a complete panoramic image using clever technology on his phone. I was content with a photo next to the high alter. Hundreds of photographs taken later we leave and stop off at a local cafe for a pizza lunch. We might actually end up turning into a pizza we've eaten that many in Italy. Before we called it a day we viewed the castle from the outside. We thought about going in but decided that our money would be spent better on something else like entering the Colosseum. So that is the plan for tomorrow!