Sunday, June 22, 2008
Playing Catch Up
Sorry again for the lack of updates. A lot of traveling has been done since my last post and some incredible memories have been made. Ally arrived on Friday June 13th where I met her at the airport a day after my Dad left. Just over a week after she arrived and three countries visited later, I can now write about my trip to Vatican City almost three weeks ago and update you on my more recent travels afterwards.
Contained entirely within Rome, Vatican City I learned is its own independent country. Under 100 acres, it holds its own postal system, police, helipad, and of course, it is home to The Pope. As small as it is, there sure is a lot of history inside the city walls. St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum left me speechless. There is no doubt: St. Peters church is the most impressive church on earth. You could place the next largest church inside of St. Peters and that only explains how big it is, not how beautiful it is. People walk around with their heads facing heavenward with their jaws dropped, barely watching where they are going. Michaelangelo's Pieta stands to the right as you enter the doors, one of the most impressive sculptures ever. A seven story solid bronze altar peice stands in the center, the largest bronze sculpture in the world. The rest of the church is extravagantly lavished with gold and incredible attention to detail. We attended mass on Sunday inside St. Peter's which was spoken in Latin. If it were a papal mass that the Pope was giving, St. Peters would fill to capacity and hold over 70,000 people inside and another 100,000 in the square. Pictures can simply not explain this magnificent place of worship.
After mass we were blessed by the Pope from his office overlooking the square and climbed to the top of the copula (dome). Michelangelo's last work and largest anywhere covers the inner part of the dome and was wonderful to see from so close. From the outside there were stunning views and interestingly there really is no skyline in Rome because no building is allowed to exceed the height of St. Peters.
Now for the Vatican Museum.
This immense museum has over four miles of displays and our tour guide whisked us through the museum. By whisk I mean we had a five hour tour filled with more information that I will ever be able to retain. We had one of the best guides possible and it really made the museum more enjoyable. If you were to look at each work of art within the Vatican museum for 60 seconds each, non-stop, it would take over six years. It contains over 3.2 million works of art! As if the array of ancient statues to Christian frescoes to tapestries to modern paintings are not enough, it is also home to glorious the Sistine Chapel. A day at a museum was never so enjoyable as it was that Saturday, filled with every emotion from butterflies to witness the Sistine Chapel to awe from the magnificent frescoes. It was a day I will never forget.