Today we toured St. Peter's Basilica!!! We expertly navigated our way to Vatican City in our maxi dresses via the Roman bus system and were supposed to meet our group at the obelisk in St Peters Square. Well, when we were walking up Jackie goes "okay so do we know where the basilisk we are meeting at is?" To which I responded "Seeing as that a basilisk is a large snake commonly found slithering through the pipes of Hogwarts and occupying the chamber of secrets, I think you were meaning to ask where the OBELISK is"we all thought that was too funny and decided for the rest of the trip we will refer to every obelisk we see as a basilisk.
Anyways, we found our group and joined our tour into the church and boy was it amazing!! There aren't any paintings in the basilica anymore because of humidity issues, so all of them were replicated with thousands of tiny mosaics! We saw a statue of Mary and Christ after his death made by Michaelangelo at just the age of 24. There was a beautiful mosaic of Saint Peter with the golden keys to the kingdom of heaven, which is why the keys are seen in the symbol of the papacy and Vatican. There also was the tomb of Christine of Sweden (whom my best friend, Mary,in high school did a history fair project on, woo NHD) honoring her for abdicating her throne and converting from Lutheran to Catholicism. There were two beatified popes whose bodies were on display, their faces and hands being covered by wax or bronze. The tomb of Pope John Paul II was also on display and closed off for people to pray at. The church had a ropes off section for confessionals, each with a priest speaking a different language. I found a baroque statue/carving thingamajig particularly interesting of the last of the Steward family of England that were Catholic. The statues and mosaics were numerous and breath taking! We were able to see the top of the tomb of St Peter, but to get to the lower level requires special Vatican clearance.
After this I went back to AUR for a long day of classes
Can't wait for Vatican day two tomorrow when we tour the Sistine Chapel and Vatican museums!