The previous photos were of our visit to the Holy See. This is the smallest country in the world (.44 square kms) and is within the city of Rome. It’s small, but big economically. (Revenue was about $US 202 million in 2001!) As the center of the Catholic Church, it’s income comes from voluntary contributions of over 1 billion members of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide; from rents; from the sales of postage stamps (yes we saw the Vatican Post Office), tourist mementos, and admission fees of museums. The value of their property around the world is beyond belief.
There’s a lot of controversy in Australia and around the world, about the actions of certain priests and cover ups by the church, and rightly so.
Glenys hoped to visit the Cappella Sistena, a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope. This is also where the conclave decides on the new Pope. It was originally known as the Cappella Magna.
The draw card for her was the frescos on the Sistene Chapel ceiling, with the most famous one being ‘The last Judgement’, by Michelangelo.
We didn’t know that they close the HUGE outer doors about 90 minutes earlier.
….We stopped at an information centre for directions and were told that it’s just up a bit in an opening in the wall. Well, that was an understatement!!
The opening was to a very long street, so we followed the limited signage. About 1 and a half kms further where the signs became absent, Glenys asked one of the many security soldiers for directions.
We turned in the direction and a man who must have overhead her said, “It closes soon but you’ve got 4 minutes. Hurry, you can make it.”
All we could see was another long street with a huge stone wall of about 15-20 metres high.
I took off running, and Glenys apparently said “I can’t run that. It’s okay, we weren’t meant to get there.” But I was off and didn’t hear her. Luckily I turned around and saw that she was trying to keep up so I slowed and waited and told her to come on. We ran, and we ran, and we ran…. along … and around corners…and up long slopes…and finally got to the door, about 700 metres from where the man told us to hurry.
We ran to the only door that we could see and someone said that it was the Exit and pointed to HUGE doors about 20 metres away, behind us, in the wall. The right side was already closed and the left side only open about 30 cms and still closing. A hand was all we could see. Glenys stopped. Then it opened a bit and an elderly man’s face looked out, he opened it wider then started to close it again. Then he saw us running up and down the roped queue lines and stopped!! He held it slightly ajar and we walked in, Glenys huffing and puffing, and so grateful and I had just had my short afternoon jog.
You are asked to take no photos whilst in the Sistene Chapel. But some others were disrespectful and did. I’m glad we got there. That guy was right, we did make it.
I don’t think that it was a 4 minute mile but I think that it closed a little later than scheduled and we were very lucky.