Thur.11 Dec. 2014 Rome Weather:-12 Degrees/Sunny
Reading back on this journal I have come to realize how blaze’ Herman and I are getting, Herman more so than I, we walk blindly past some of the nicest architecture, I have to stop myself in my tracks and remember what it was like the first time that we were here and when we were like kids in a fairy land. The last two days we have been on the path to the Vatican so are walking along the two main streets that go in that direction and we seem to be more interested in our destination than the journey, yesterday we walked about 15 kilometres and today it was about 11. We are noticing that there are lots of ambulances tearing about with sirens blaring—Herman’s take on this is that they are carting pedestrians of to the hospitals as there is no advantage in taking zebra crossings. I suspect that you out there are also not quite believing me as to the state of the art of the Parking Maestros’ over here so today I have posted the truth in photos.
Even though it's located in Rome, Vatican City has been an independent state since 1929 with its own flag, coins and stamps and today when we purchased our tickets to go into the Vatican Museum we were given our change in Vatican Money---hope it is good in the rest of the world. It even has its own militia, the Swiss Guard, which protects this state, the Pope and the 800 full-time citizens and visiting residents. The first vision is St. Peter's Square itself designed by Bernini in the late 17th century and as long as you're dressed appropriately (no bare shoulders or shorts or skirts above the knee), you may enter St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's Pietá and from all the statues that I have seen in my life this sculpture can still bring me to tears, it is so life like that you expect it to move at any time. It was worth this trip just to see it one more time. A lot of the Basilica was fenced off due to the festivities I expect, we could not get close up photos of the Balderchine, the Altar or go around the back of it so better pictures are to be found on our earlier journals—try the Paris2Rome one, we see it all through fresh eyes then as well. If you are fool hardy you can climb up to the top of the cupola in St Peters and this can be done in one of two ways
1) You pay Euro 5 and climb up the stairs 551 of them or
2) You may pay Euro7 and take the elevator half way up leaving you only 320 stairs to climb...
You can guess which way we took, we did this climb in our stride the last time that we were here and as you can see from our photos that the path upward is very narrow and steep, it is very hard to pass anyone and gets narrower as you go up with the left side having quite a curve in it and it also has security cameras all along the route. Herman and I had to take it very slowly with lots of breathing stops and me silently wondering if I would make it back down again. At the end when we saw the guys monitoring the security cameras I could imagine them sitting there with alarm on their faces watching us go up and thinking that they would most probably have to come up to haul us down---bet they were glad to see us leaving. All in all we had a good day with nice weather again and we are happy about that but we crawled home, with Herman ringing in my ears “I will never complain about Larissa and Ron’s stairs again”
“Ditto” Love to all---Tomorrow we go Home!!!!