Now if only the last day of the year had been regret free. Sadly, there were regrets . . . in fact, yesterday was one of those days which tries the heartiest traveller. It started innocently enough. I mentioned that I wanted to go to the Vatican to wander the nuseums without a tour guide only showing me 4 or 5 things. Nancy wanted to see the Sistine Chapel.
I was up early - wandered outside to get a coffee, our laundry, a hair cut, some groceries. Another peaceful day in the neighbourhood!
When I arrived home Paolo and Nancy were awake. Nancy was ready to go . . . Paolo wasn't. I reminded him that the museums opened at 9:00 and they were likely to get busy. He didn't take kindly to this. This was a sign I believe.
When we finally set out it was after 9:30. I raced ahead - I am sure Nancy and Paul thought I was crazy - but I wanted to get in line as quickly as possible. We then stood in line for close to three hours. ARGH
There was nothing fun or joyful about this. At one point I was whining about being in line - it was 1:00 and all I had eaten was a yoghurt - and Nancy said 'no one asked you to be here'. This was not happy either.
When we got near the front of the line we says signs indicating that the museums were closing early. The last entry was going to be 1:30. Would we make it or not?
However, once we got inside the museum there was nothing joyful at all about it. Essentially we were hearded along in a huge never ending line towards the Sistine Chapel. From time to time we were forced to stop by the guards as they controlled the crowds in front of us. This was worse than standing in line for three hours. I wanted to stop and admire things but there was a constant pressure from behind to keep moving. Taking photos was a challenge as people were shoving in front of the camera, jostling one's arms, or just generally being a pain.
There were thousands of people in the Sistine Chapel when we got in there. I have no idea why the guards kept saying 'no photos' you'd have to have specially jointed arms to have been able to raise your arms up to get a shot since you were packed into the chapel like sardines in a tin. All in all an unsatisfactory experience.
That was my head.
Or perhaps it was fireworks. It was an amazing experience being in Rome on the last evening of the year. The fireworks started early, continued late (they are still going off from time-to-time at 9:13 am on the 1st), and were everywhere. When we opened the terrace door all one could smell was gunpowder. When we were out walking there was a cloud of smoke slowly rising over the city - no Rome wasn't burning but its citizens were demonstratively happy to be saying adieu to 2012 and 'hey' to 2013!
Other regrets about yesterday . . . when you're stuck in a line to the Vatican museums that isn't moving . . . leave it. If it is that slow outside it shall be worse inside. You want to enjoy things. If the museums are crazy busy inside ignore the crowds doing the typical things . . . Raphael rooms, Sistince Chapel, etc - go right into the Pinacoteca where you'll see amazing art and generally be crowd free. Finally - save up for years before your Rome trip and do an after hours tour . . . the thought of being in a closed museum and wandering about at will with your guide is a very happy thing to contemplate.
Have a full prosperous, and joyful 2013~