The weather forecast for our third day in Rome was the worst yet 😦 The whole day was meant to be filled with thunderstorms yay! After exceeding my lifetime recommended sugar intake at breakfast, we ventured out on to the streets of Rome in the direction of the Vatican. As soon as we stepped out, we felt drops of water 😦 As soon as we reached the river, it started to pour down and my poor, battered, $10 umbrella from Hong Kong was not faring well. I’d forgotten that it was half broken so it was a bit of a struggle keeping myself dry! We got to the Saint Angelo bridge and decided to shelter under a tree for a while (in hindsight, probably not the best of ideas in a thunderstorm!). The rain didn’t seem to be letting up, so we decided to cross the bridge otherwise our trip to the Vatican would be replaced by a day long view of cars parked along the road. It was a bit of a shame as this pedestrianised bridge was meant to be one of the nicest in Rome 😦 Never mind!
Once we had crossed over, the rain changed from being many drops falling from the sky to a continuous waterfall. My umbrella was suffering and I was taking a very premature shower, so we decided to take shelter under an arch for the entrance to the Saint Angelo Castle. As the rain continued, many others joined us under the small arch and we all huddled together trying to keep dry.
Many brave people decided to give up waiting and just went for it. After around 30 minutes of waiting, we decided to just go otherwise we’d be there all day. As we turned the corner, the Vatican was in sight! The rain started getting heavier again, so we took cover in a nearby cafe who were very kind in letting so many people take shelter…more trade for them I guess! It then seemed to lighten up and we decided to go on. Suddenly we saw a bit of blue sky yay 😀
Not long later, the clouds lifted!! I’d stopped to take photos of St Peter’s Square and then a bird kindly released its bladder on me! I guess it was good luck though since the day then got very sunny!!
After taking hundreds of photos (literally!) we joined the queue to enter the Basilica. It was very long and snaked all the way along one side of the square. Thankfully, it took hardly any time at all, and after going through a metal detector and bag xray, we were through!
We sort of followed the crowd and ended up in another queue. We had no idea what we were queuing for but decided to just go along with it! We soon found out that it was a queue to go up to the top of Basilica which was pretty cool! There was a sign warning us that after the lifts there would be 320 steps, but what they didn’t warn us was how narrow it would become near the end! We decided to opt for a €5 walking ticket (instead of one for €7 which would allow you to get the lift halfway) as we thought we could handle all the steps (although I was a bit worried for my mum coz she is a retired old lady now 😉 just kidding mum, you’re totally still 30 and as sprightly as ever!!).
I just had to put up this photo of my mum halfway the steps 😛 (sorry mum!).
When we got halfway, we got to a viewing area which overlooked the Basilica. It looked so detailed and pretty! There were amazing mosaics too – I do love colourful ones! I’m rubbish at describing things, so I’ll let the photos do the talking and I won’t bore you with details, just Google it if you want more info!
We then ascended more steps and here it got a bit crowded. There was a bit of a traffic jam as so many people were going up at the same time. Our path then suddenly got very narrow and in some parts, I could literally just about squeeze through. They should definitely have a warning at the beginning for claustrophobics! They even had emergency lever things! In fact, one family had to turn back and go back down as the mother was in hysterics! We did end up stopping at some parts with windows so we could admire the view whilst waiting to go up. We then reached a ridiculously narrow spiral staircase with steps barely 10cm wide. There was a rope going up it to help you climb up which was definitely handy!
After the claustrophobic climb, we finally reached the top!! It was rather a small space at the top of the Basilica but we spent quite a while up there taking millions of photos to make the climb worth it! The views across Rome were wonderful and you could see for miles!
After capturing every inch of Rome with my camera, we decided to head back down.
We then entered the main part of the Basilica. It is the world’s largest church and was very impressive inside! There were stunning paintings, statues, and designs everywhere. Even the floor looked beautiful!
After staring in awe of the whole place for a long time, we decided to go. It had turned into a beautiful day outside! Unfortunately we didn’t catch a glimpse of the Pope 😦 I remember reading something online that joked about the only way to stay in the Vatican is to be close acquaintances with the Pope – me and him are best mates don’t you know so where was my invite to stay?! We also caught a glimpse of the Swiss guards in their famous colourful uniforms!
We then decided to head back towards the hotel as we were all rather knackered! We passed over the Saint Angelo bridge again, this time in sunshine! What a difference a few hours can do to the weather!
It was then time for another gelato! This time both my parents had one too, so I didn’t feel like such a fatty nomming on my three scoops and cream!
We had a bit of a rest at the hotel before going out to dinner at Ristorante Gusto Pinto again since they had a much wider range of dishes compared to other local restaurants!