August 4, 2018
I had a few administrative things to do today before updating the blog. Ralf was up and out of the room by 7:00 a.m. I had a nice lie-in until 8:00 a.m.
What a lovely breakfast. Everything from scrambled eggs, ham, cheese, meats and buns, fresh fruit, cereals, and croissants and pastries. This breakfast covered every possibility, of course there was really good coffee as well. I must admit, I ate enough to cover me until dinner time!
I have felt a little stressed the last few days, trying to get the logistics sorted out with taxis to the airport and whether to cycle home or get home some other way either by train or taxi. It was good to have a day on my own. When Ralf came back, it was obvious that he enjoyed his day on his own as well.
It’s good to be together, but it is good to have time apart as well.
At one point the cleaning staff came in to clean the room, I told them I had to work, but they could clean the room. They checked the fridge, to see if we needed more water. We had bought some beer and wine for the week-end!
Nope, the fridge is fine! We both laughed.
Ralf’s comments on the day.
Vatican City Museums (VCM). I decided that I wanted to go to the Vatican Museums. So I was up at 6:30 am, breakfast at 7, out of the hotel doors by 7:27 and in the Vatican line up by 7:50. When I arrived, there must have been about 200 people in front of me, most of them were with large Asian tour groups, so things should move along well when the doors open at 9 am. I started my tour at 9:28, most people turned left for the shortened route, I turned right for the extended tour and the peace and quiet that came with that decision for the first few hours.
While waiting in the line, I was approached at least a dozen times to “Skip the Line”, you go in in 10 minutes for E35. The best deal I could get was 30 euro, not good enough for my tight wallet, knowing that it will only cost E17, and the Vatican doesn’t charge the tourist tax or to go to the WC.
Everything else be prepared to open your wallets big time. For example: a slice of Pizza and 500ml of water – E12 or $18, a muffin and coffee E8 or $12. Needless to say, I didn’t eat at VCM.
Once inside, you first go though security, then the groups turn right, the individual ticket purchasers turn left, and the ‘on line’ ticket holders are scanned in a separate area. Sounds well organized, but then again this is Italy, all the groups and ticket holders merge to go through four glass doors into the main courtyard or meeting area, and then can go their separate ways.
HISTORY: The VCM’s are Christian and art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display. There are 26 museums, which comprise of 54 rooms. Not all are open to the public for various reasons, renovations, private viewings or the art is on loan to other museums.
I took over 250 photos and narrowed it down to 34 for the blog – including the Sistine Chapel (I will be struck by lighting, I’m sure). Wherever possible I will give you a little blurb for each picture and more history on the Sistine Chapel later. Enjoy.
Double Helix Staircase
The original Bramante staircase was built in 1505, it connects the Belvedere Palace of Pope Innocent VIII to the outside and stands in a square tower of the building. The modern double helix stair case commonly referred to as the “Bramente Staircase” was designed by Guiseppe Momo in 1932. Having two staircases allowing uninterrupted traffic ascending and descending.
The Citroen Lictoria C6 was donated to Pius XI in June 1930 by Citroen Italy to celebrate both the Conciliation between the Church and the Italian State. Pius XII avoided its use during the difficult years of the Second World War, favouring the Graham Paige 837.
The Mercedes Benz 460 Nurburg limousine was also donated to Pius XI for the same reason as the Lictoria C6. For reasons of protocol the rear passenger compartment of the 460 Nurburg is equipped with a single seat in crimson brocade, recalling the papal throne.
You might well ask? A Volkswagen Beetle? Yes it was donated, and blessed by John Paul II in May of 2004. It was a gift from the president of VW Mexico, Louis Manuil Abella Armella. The Beetle was the last of a limited series of just 3000 car. You can just see the Pope behind the wheel? Right?
The last time the Grand Gala Berlin passed the streets of Rome was when Pope Pius IX travelled to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo for the the celebration of 8 Sept. 1870. A few days later, with the Breach of Porta Pia, the Papal States ceased to exist and the Grand Gala Berlin was no longer used.
At the end of the Museums there is the Sistine Chapel. Pope Sixtus IV commissioned Botticelli and Rosselli to decorate the chapel. At this point, the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling was painted like a simple blue sky with stars. But Pope Julius insisted, and Michelangelo began work on his famous frescoed ceiling in 1508, for four years. The chapel was built between 1473 and 1481.
You are not allowed to take photos inside of the Sistine Chapel. I had my camera pointing upwards, but was not obviously taking photos. The photos I took are not bad considering the way they were taken.
However, I did witness two people being escorted out of the Chapel by security. Security had told the two young men not to take photos, the men continued taking photos, they were told again, the third time they were escorted out of the Chapel – one with his arm twisted up his back.