"It's the Vatican, not the Vatican't"---Cory, Dec 2008
Day 3--Merry Christmas! :)
I am very glad I'm putting all this together b/c some of the days are starting to run together. ;) We started the day w/ our buffet...lots of croissants. Yum! We then headed to the Vatican for Mass and the Papal Blessing. I really thought there were going to be so many people and lines to get in for Mass. But St Peter's Square was relatively quiet.
Nativity in St Peter's Square
We then went through the detectors to go into the Basilica. Just going into the Basilica was so surreal...the actual Michelangelo's Pieta. How to even comprehend that? I'm going to post most of the Vatican/Basilica pics later b/c we did go on the official tour.
Swiss Guard at the Basilica
First view upon walking in the Basilica
Next picture is approximately where I spent most of Mass, standing, except there were no benches or chairs like in that picture (which is another borrowed one from flickr.com)...the story: David was having gastro problems and he and Cory headed to the bathroom right before we were let in to go and sit down for Mass. Charlie and I saved seats for them, but they never showed up. I was worried and kept looking for them. Finally, after the Gospel, Charlie and I left to go and look for David and Cory. I was worried that David was really sick. So, we ened up standing here for the rest of Mass when we couldn't find them. Didn't even go to Communion. When Mass was over, guess who comes walking out? Of course, David and Cory. And THEY went to Communion. *rolling my eyes*
Altar...we were actually closer during Mass, um, before we left. LOL
Nativity in the Basilica
I did sneak some video in. Eek. ;)
After Mass we walked right outside and ended up almost under the window where Pope Benedict was going to give his Papal Blessing. No matter what the pics look like (LOL) we were actually very close. If you look at the next picture (which was actually taken 2 days later during our tour), you'll see the window w/ the burgundy curtains where Pope Benedict came out. We were actually on the ground to the left of that window, about 10-15 ft behind that statue.
The next video is of when the Pope came out. It was like being at a concert!
Receiving the official Christmas blessing, Urbi et Orbi, or "to the City of Rome and to the World". If you'd like to read what he said, please visit :The Vatican's Website. I can't really explain what being there meant...it wasn't so much a religious experience as a community one. On my list for the whole trip in Italy, being there for the Papal Blessing ranks #1. For Cory, also. He also picked going to Mass.
After leaving Vatican Square we grabbed some lunch. We had
paninis. The grilled bread is really good. We also had espressos, which came out of Milan. The tour guide stressed how smooth and wonderful they were. Um, well...to us it was shot of very stiff and dark coffee. Personally, I like a big ol' cup of coffee that I can savor over a good 15 min or more. LOL
Can you believe all this happened b/w breakfast and lunch? I'll have to blog about the rest of the day tomorrow.