However early we got up in the morning to go to the Vatican, it should have been earlier. By the time we got there, the line was wrapped around the walls of the city (which is also a country, by the way). Three hours later, we were just a few feet from the door when a group of French tourists decided they were going to get in front of me. In a few choice words I told them what I thought about them, and apparently I was loud enough to draw attention. It didn’t take very long for my fellow line standers to catch on and push them out of the way!
Once inside, I snatched up an audio guide and began my exploration. The museums were huge, and I think I looked at the art more through the viewfinder of my camera than I did with my actual eyes. The Egyptian collection alone was massive, complete with engravings, sculptures, paintings, mummies, and mini replicas of pharaohs. I continued through the maze—down ridiculously long corridors whose walls were covered in brilliant paintings and down spiraling staircases. There were rooms and rooms of sculptures and from up close the folds of the stone clothing were so realistic I had to touch them every time just to be sure. Some rooms’ walls were covered in high tapestries and the ceilings were covered with more paintings; others held enormous maps of the ancient world.
The tour led me to the last stop—the Sistine Chapel. I was surprised to learn that church services were actually held there regularly. From where I was standing at the door, you would have thought there was a celebrity in the room. A recording echoed off the walls, “no photographs, please” in every language imaginable, and people of every race all looked up at the ceiling to gaze at the familiar hands in “The Creation of Adam.” Despite the warning, I must have seen one hundred pairs of hands pointing cameras towards the ceiling.