The Vatican

So…LOTS of stuff has happened since I wrote last. I met 4 people who are staying in the hostel I’m in and we just hung out, talked, and ended up going out to an Irish bar just a few feet from our hostel. We played cards, drank a few beers…it was nice. Two of them were from Reno, Nevada, the other two from Portland, Oregon, so I’m all by myself in my East coast-ness. But they are all pretty cool. The Reno kids left this morning, but Kjirsten and James, from Portland, were here today and were planning on going to the Vatican, as was I, so we went together.

Similarly to my experiences yesterday, I was fairly unimpressed. There was a lot of pretty art, but it became sort of redundant after a while. First we went to St. Peter’s Basilica, which had a long line but it went pretty quickly. We climbed all 551 steps of the Cupola to see St. Peter’s Basilica from high above. There was also a gorgeous view from up so high. Then there were the 551 steps down…and we looked at the Basilica for a while, which was pretty incredible.

We quickly walked through the Pope’s tomb, which was anticlimactic except for Pope John Paul II’s tomb, where a bunch of people were paying their respects. After that we went to the Sistine Chapel, which you have to pay and go through a huuuuge museum to get to. So I got to see all of the Roman statues of men who are missing their essential male parts, thanks to one of the past Popes who decided that there was too much nakedness in the Vatican and ordered an artist to go around with a chisel and cut off all of the male anatomy. Some got lucky and only got covered with a fig leaf, but the majority look like Ken dolls.

After the Sistine chapel, we went back to our hostel, stopping to eat some pizza and gelato, as well as going by the Coliseum to see if it was open (it was not). And now we’re hanging out, talking to the Spanish guy who’s in the hostel. Despite sleeping well last night, I’m still exhausted and today did not help. I am aching everywhere, but it’s awesome. Tomorrow I’ll go to the Coliseum, Forum, and Palentine Hill (?) and then I’m off to the Czech Republic! So a big day. Love to all in the States!