Monday the 23rd of January
Here we are, the last full day in Europe. The time has flown by; it seems that we only arrived in London the other day. However this is not the case, there are so many memories to sort through. The great times we had in London, the red buses, the Tower of London, the Underground and the multiple museums. The trip back to a violent past with our pilgrimage to the Western Front, Fromelles , Tyne Cot, Villers-Bretonneux, and the last post at Ypres. Then our sojourn in France and her beautiful countryside that culminated in Paris, the city of light. We remember the Louvre, the Eifel Tower, The Arc De Triumph, Champs-Élysées and a frantic rush to the train. A few days spent in the Italian Alps, Tuscany and Umbra before coming into Rome, the eternal city. A bus ride into the past with a visit to Pompeii and on our agenda today, the Vatican City.
Tonight is our last night in Rome, however we made sure that we filled this final day to the absolute maximum. We started with the Vatican City. This country, and it is a separate country, lies within the heart of Rome. It has been the seat of power for the Roman Catholic Church for centuries. Within its walls resides the Vatican Museum, which was where we began our day. As usual we had to go through another one of the constant security checks. It seems like we have been through so many of these it has now become second nature to pull everything out of our pockets, put it in a plastic tray, pass it through the x-ray machine while walking through the metal detector, then re packing our belongings into our pockets.
The museum has so many beautiful things in it would take many pages to begin to discuss and describe what we saw. So instead of that here are some picture highlights.
The group above the Vatican Gardens with the dome of St Peters in the background
One of the huge sculptures in the garden
Another complete ancient Roman sculpture
The group with a red marble Roman Emperor’s casket in the background
Buying things in the museum
A huge granite bath from a Roman bath house
A complete Roman Equestrian sculpture
A Tromp Ploy (This is a 2D painting on the ceiling that looks like it is 3D plastered ceiling
A magnificent ornate ceiling
The obvious highlight of the tour is of course, the Sistine Chapel. This is one of Michelangelo’s great masterpieces. It is not a big space; it is about ½ the size of the Gym at St Pauls, though a lot taller. The paintings glow above us; since it was cleaned the effect is dazzling. It leaps out at you, it pounds at your senses with it sheer beauty and power.
The Sistine Chapel. The photo cannot do it justice
The next assault on our senses was St Peters Basilica. This huge, beautiful and utterly grand building is the biggest church in Christendom. In fact they have marks on the floor to show how big (or should I say how small) other Cathedrals are compared to St Peters.
the inside of the Basilica
The boys in St Peters
The mummified body of one of the Popes on display
Mingi touching the foot of St Peter. It has been done so many times in hundreds of years the foot is almost gone due to wear.
The canopy above the Alter
St Peters square. With repair work going on!
One of the Swiss Guard. These men are the Popes personal body guards.
After we left St Peters we had some lunch and then the boys needed to re-supply themselves with money. They were preparing for some serious shopping later in the evening!
The boys line up at the Banco-mat (That is what they are called in Italy)
A walk through Rome brought us to the Spanish Steps. This is a very hot tourist site, and there are a lot of street pedlars. They are trying to sell you every kind if rubbish item you can think of, from automated horse toys, to bouncy blobs of plastic.
The Spanish steps. Where is the group? They are the little faces at the very top!
Another walk brought us to the Trevi Fountain. A beautiful design by the architect Nicola Salvi. Tradition holds that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain you will return to Rome.
The Trevi Fountain
Some of ours in front of the fountain
The Gelato sellers maintain that they have the best Gelato in the world. Well that had to be put to the test! (several times by most of us)
Juan trying some. The look on his face says it all!
I will sign off now so I can get some rest before the flight back tomorrow!
The boys enjoyed their last day in Rome, visiting the Vatican with a guide. The afternoon was spent visiting the Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona. The day culminated with some shopping…..these boys really are shop-a-holics.
Although our 3 weeks in Europe have flown, we are all very tired and longing for a long sleep and our own beds. We do of course have 12 hours in Kuala Lumpur, which will give us some opportunity to rest up.