No historical scientists on the agenda today, so when in Rome…do as the tourists do and go the Vatican and the Colosseum. The Vatican was a must-see, and the lines to get in are notoriously long, so I had reserved tickets to the Museum and the Sistine Chapel nearly two months ago and got a 9:00 slot. So glad we did that. Our innkeeper advised us to get there early, even having tickets, as the advanced ticket-holder line can be long. We arrived around 8:30, and found the non-ticket holder line to be already a block long. We bypassed the queue, went straight to the turnstiles where we went right in, no fuss.
The tour groups are getting to be a bit annoying…a herd of 20-30 pick-your-country tourists wearing wireless narration receivers, following around a guide holding a slender metal stick with a flag, sign, or sometimes just a scrunched-up colored satin fabric. They clog up the walking paths, block the photo opportunities, and generally make the experience less pleasant. I am a tourist, I guess, but I try not be be so overt. The trick is to “join” one of the English-speaking groups that paid lots of extra money for the guide. If you stay close enough to the guide, you can hear their narration without needing their wireless receiver, and you get the narration for free. They move pretty slow, though, so we skipped from one group to the next. If I ever find a slender piece of aluminum tubing, I’m going to tie a piece if red silk to it and start parading around a tourist site and see what happens.
The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel were amazing, though. I won’t say a lot more here, other than to to say the rooms went on and on. Each ceiling seemed to be even more ornately decorated than the other. I will post a few pics here, but since this is a science history blog, I won’t add more detail. We did also go into St. Peter’s Basilica, and it is breathtaking as well. This past Christmas Eve, Karen and I were watching the midnight mass on TV, hoping to ourselves that we could see the Basilica in-person. Our dream was realized!
Not knowing how long it would take at the Vatican, or if we would even be able to get to the Colosseum, I did not buy advance tickets. We ended up waiting over an hour to get tickets, but finally made it in. I’ll put one picture up here as well. More pictures of the non-science stuff will be on my Facebook page. Send me a friend request if you are not one of my Facebook friends.
Karen and I are both feeling the wear and tear from 20 days of walking anywhere from 6-11 miles per day. Europe has had a warm spell the last two weeks as well, so it has been warm and somewhat sticky most days. We are spending the remainder of the day resting, getting ready to fly from Rome to Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday.