What happened after Venice?

We made sure we had Christmas in Rome. In the seat of Christianity. To hear the Pope’s message live. In the Vatican. We made sure our train ticket says To Roma Termini by the 24th of December.
And that’s exactly what happened.
First thing I did was research on the Papal’s office’s website the schedule of the Pope’s appearance in the Holy Balcony. 
The next thing was find our way to the Vatican. It wasn’t so tough to get there because the crowd brings you to its direction. Everyone with a camera seems to be headed that way. Even those in the streets. So we basically went with the flow, confirmed with the streets signs, and eyed for the direction of the dome that looked like the Holy See.

To stand in front of that familiar balcony is a dream. The message was more potent than the litany that the Pope delivered– Keep dreaming. Imaginations do come true.

You can never predict where life takes you.

What I’m sure right now is it took me….

to see the Roman soldiers in full battle gear (just like the movies)

to be part of this scene I only see on TV
to observe people who are observing as well
to stand in very long line just to have a few minutes inside the most important church in Catholicism

to check out the numerous saintly statues while waiting to be x-rayed
To lay eyes on all the angels and saints sculpted and posted up in the sky

to make my heart flutter upon seeing that sign

To bear witness to the this beauty that is the pigeon

to want to jump and swim here out of pure joy
to belong in this crowd of curious, (others devotional) tourists

to just be humbled by this infinite crowd who went for various intentions

to see more posing holy men with the dome

To make fun of the (not so) secret service/ security guard and his almost fictional costume

to hear this group chant and cheer until the Pope comes out (like a concert act)

to finally see a Pope in person and experience his holiness and celebrity

to sheepishly still look at him from the monitor for being too small and far
to stand behind several tour/ student groups
to check time from either of the two watch statues on both peripheries of the Vatican
to see how the whole Papal event transpires
to just capture these birds in flight and be mesmerized by a mere balcony

to try to read and comprehend those huge texts on top

to see more maneuvers and movie-ish costumes and acts
to be inside the Vatican and stand a stone throw away from the altar where the Pope holds mass

to come curious of the miraculous one for a long line like that!


to stare at another version of La Pieta

to see all the fallen popes in peace and in remembrance
to shake my head in amusement or in awe at the silliness of the guard house that looks like a cage
to see this inexplicable beauty–Musei Vaticani

And most importantly to experience all these so that I may share the experience and tips for when your turn comes.

Tips:

  • Check the Vatican’s schedule for any forthcoming events worth witnessing like the Pope delivering a message from his famous balcony.
  • Bring a telephoto lens for that!
  • Know firsthand the closing and opening days and hours of the museum and the chapels
  • Say you’re attending mass to be granted access to a particular area inside the Vatican (which, make sure, is actually celebrating a mass). We were just eavesdropping who were allowed entry amongst the many who were stopped in the padded rope border, and used the same line : ] Smart.
  • Drive your way courteously in a crowd to the front area nearest the balcony for a better experience. Front row has perks!
  • Bring the lightest form of yourself (bag included) for maximum mobility.
  • Bask in the experience. Besides you’re on global tv. You’ll never know what catches you!

Check back in for what’s next! The Colloseo and the rest of Rome! Or click on other legs of my “Eurotrip” here and here and here!