First things first- I’m not Swedish. Okay, but for real the weather was BEAUTIFUL today. There was no rain, no wind, sunshine, no raincoats, no umbrellas, no whining people, blue skies, aND THE POPE. We saw the Pope speak this morning at St. Peter’s Cathedral which, fun fact is the largest church in the world. The second largest church is London. One of the girls in our groups has a cousin here who is studying to become a priest and got us 40 tickets to see the Pope speak this morning. There were like 1000 seats and we got these sweet gold tickets with the Our Father on the back in Latin. We got there at around 8:30 and the service started at 10. He only spoke for like 15 minutes but then there were seven translations so the whole process took like forty minutes. ALSO the Pope came in on a Segway and zoomed around the crowd kissing babies, and grownups, and teenagers, and middle-aged men, and toddlers, and pre-teens, and man-babies, and grandparents, and probably just the babies.
The Pope seems like such a cool guy. He’s so nice and down to earth. His voice was so soothing too. I would have listened to him for hours. Frankly, I would have listened to him read his grocery list.
SO AUNT DEB WHEN YOU TOLD ME TO SAY HI TO THE POPE, I DID!!
After the Pope and I hung out for the afternoon we shopped around for a while and so many of the shops are so cheap and it’s fantastic. We’re going to Skype next Thursday because I’ll be home and he’ll be in Rome. Long distance connection is essential here people.
Then we went to see the Sistine Chapel which is like a 10 minute walk away from the cathedral. I was so stoked to see it and see the finger touching creation painting. What they don’t tell you is that there is a 38 million room museum you have to suffer through until you finally make it into the chapel. It’s cool at first, oh I don’t 9 sections because it starts with an Egyptian section which has a 200,000 year old mummy on display. But then there is so many paintings from different times and all I wanted to do was see the chapel. First I was walking, then I was walking slower, then I was walking on my knees, then I was crawling, then I was pulling myself by my elbows, then I was screaming “GO ON WITHOUT ME. SAVE YOURSELVES”. But mostly, I just walked. I’m also the worst human to go to a museum with because I want to see the least amount of things in the least amount of time possible.
FINALLY we made it into the chapel and it was equally impressive as it was different from what I thought it would be. It was immaculate. The people look like real humans and they’re so detailed it’s incredible. Also, the fact it was painted so long ago and it looks like it was finished only yesterday. What was different was that it was simply a long, ongoing room where everyone herded into the middle in a pack. It wasn’t sectioned off like some of the Basilicas, it was like a domed longhouse. The top was individual mural stories, the sides were smaller individual murals, the back wall was one massive painting, and the bottoms had curtains painted on them like you’d see in a theater. The lovely theater.
The mural on the front wall shows heaven at the top, Jesus in the middle, and hell at the bottom. Michelangelo only ever signed one of his sculptures and the bishop was so upset sentenced Michelangelo to rot in hell. So he actually painted himself into the mural as a man being held up by his hair in hell. In the bottom of the picture he also painted the bishop in hell as well, naked and wrapped in a snake. Passive aggression at it’s finest.
Another fun fact- After 4 years of laying on his back and painting, when Michelangelo finished the Sistine Chapel he had gone blind because of the paint that dripped into his eyes. That’s why he used passive aggression. He turned a blind-eye towards physical violence. (Bad-um Chh)
Before we went in, Sarah asked how people sneak pictures (which honestly isn’t difficult) but you just have people surround whoever is taking the picture and then the person uses the front camera and snaps the pictures. Easy as pie! Then you move to the back of the room and out the gate and you’ve seen the Sistine Chapel! It was really an amazing place. I’d love to see it again.
Then we went to the Pantheon which is the most preserved ancient Roman architecture. It has a dome that could fit a perfect sphere in the bottom and top half. It was made in all cement and it was cast in a single day. Since it was going to be so heavy and the workers were afraid it was going to crash under the weight of all the cement they build windows and square panels to decorate but also to relieve some of the weight. Also, at the very peak is a gaping hole to add light and keep the building from crumbling. There’s no window in the hole so when it rains it just pours right in and drains away. It’s almost ironic that the building with the most natural exposure is the best preserved.
Tomorrow we’re heading to Florence (and the Machine) and I am super excited to go. We’re taking another bullet train which I think are so much fun. I can’t believe I saw the Pope today. It’s kind of mind-blowing actually. Maybe tomorrow I’ll run into Queen Latifah. Queen Latifah give me strength.
Okay, that’s all for now. This post is excruciatingly long. If you made it all the way to this point, I appreciate your time and if you didn’t, you smell. (You probably don’t) It’s 5:31 in the US. I hope everyone comes home, eats dinner and watches Parks and Recreation on Netflix. You can thank me later.
P.S- I have videos of both the Pope speaking and the translator reading what the Pope said in his speech. Unfortunately, both videos are too large to upload to this blog. I have them though if anyone is ever interested in seeing it! I also have a video of two men playing accordions while we were eating dinner.
Current hope- A real gelato stand will move to Buffalo and be waiting for me when I get back.