That is a dramatic title for what was just a wee bit of suffering.

This is the second night that finds me sleeping in an apartment that literally sits in the shadow of the Vatican walls.

Last night we landed at Fumancino Airport in Rome after our second flights of the day arrived from London and Paris respectively.  What comes as a shock to me is that all of those thousands of miles were enjoyable & truly seamless. No hassles, great transatlantic sleeps and very good in-flight service.  In fact after rubbing elbows with thousands of weary travellers in airports and during our first day in Rome, it was Sunday’s experience of a lifetime aboard a BC Ferry that led me to believe this journey may be cursed.

We were seated first but unfortunately for us it was the party of two that followed who would be our entertainment and pause for concern.  I will start by saying that the man in this couple was not the problem. He did his best to nervously laugh when appropriate and crisis negotiate when he got the feeling that his life was hanging in the balance. His table mate (Attila) was somewhat animated.  It was clear soon into breakfast that this poor man was going to be carrying the weight of every husband, boyfriend, fling or pen pal that Atilla had ever had or attempted to conquer.

The storys of Attila’s woe were magnificent and colourful, if not concerning and suspenseful. Both concerning and suspenseful  in the way that you watch and listen intently at a Stephen King movie when you fancy a good old fright.  Atilla’s shrill voice and regular thrusting motion towards this kind man with her fork in a terrorizing fashion was starting to slow (but not curb) my ability to inhale the ferry eggo waffles  (with the strawberries and whipped cream).

I watched mid chew as the poor man pushed his chair back at one point to create time and distance. Not a bad plan I thought to myself as I watched his body twitch uncontrollably in a defensive posture.  If we had a right as Canadian’s to bestow medals on other Canadians, that guy would have been awarded a chest full as we pulled in to Tsawwassen terminal.

It was not until we were walking to our bus on the ferry that I overheard the man speak to Attila in a very pensive manner.  The man told Atilla that this was the first time that he ever travelled to play in the Vancouver Symphony orchestra with anyone other than his wife and that he would now gently and carefully bid farewell.  He would be making the rest of the journey into the city with a waiting friend who unfortunately drives a two seater Smart car.   I sensed this veiled and weak excuse was a fib.  But hey, I can’t believe he took the barrage of stranger danger from Attila for that long (considering he had just met her the night previous at a rehearsal).  Wind instruments make strange bedfellows.

So…..    We are here in Vatican City.  The weather is glorious and the temperature is 27.  I was up at 5 and it was time to make online reservations for the Vatican Museum.  For those who have been you will remember the lines and the crowds.  For those who look forward to a visit, there are two very important actions that must be undertaken.  Get a reservation and make it early.

I had downloaded my Rick Steves podcast tours for everything Vatican and a ticket confirmation pdf. on my phone by booking online.  Upon arrival by foot we strolled by literally thousands waiting in lines and walked right in.

Second time in the Vatican museum for me and a first for Gus.  I followed him as he walked slowly trying to take it all in. I attempted to photograph his hanging jaw.  The museum is second to none.  Every artifact is stunning. The gardens are wonderful and the Sistine Chapel is out of this world.  It is hard to comprehend when you are gazing up at the ceiling  of  the chapel that the frescos were painted  by Michelangelo. The chapel irregularly hosts all the cardinals at the time of Papal election.

We left the museum and set course for St.Peters Square.  Ten minutes later and we had exchanged smiles with several of the Pope’s Swiss Guard and we were through security & bound to enter the basilica.

Photos not words will hopefully paint a picture of this church and all its grandure. We took the time to sit in silence with other worshippers.  I felt a tad rusty as I have not been to mass for several years. I’m glad we did.  From there we toured the toombs of the Popes that had gone before.

We left after nearly three hours feeling really good inside.  If only our feet felt the same way.  Sore and tired but not to be stopped, we walked east towards the Tiber and along its banks.  More to see and then a quick pit stop for a sandwich and water at a local grocery store.  A seat outside of a beautiful white Roman building allowed us time to snack.  Five kilometres later (up-hill) and we are back at our AirBnB.

As the dining room clock struck 7:00 pm Gus was snoring and I began this rambling.  There is always tomorrow.






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