Now we had arranged for a private tour guide to take us through the Vatican museum and St. Peter's, which turned out to be a stroke of genius, because she allowed us to cut to the front of a 6.5 hour lineup to enter. Her name was something like Brenda, but I can't remember what, just that I kept accidentally calling her Brenda and she kept correcting me. Let's call her Brenda. She also had incredible prowess when it came to muscling through the crowds in the Vatican museum. She was Moses and the Vatican throngs were her Red Sea. She got us and Declan's stroller through seemingly impenetrable crowds, and for that I am grateful, but otherwise she drove. me. nuts.
Brenda had the lowest self-esteem of any tour guide I've ever met. She was a graduate of McGill University (maybe that was her problem *snerk*) with a Master's Degree in Fine Arts. After every bit of exposition, she would apologize "I'm boring you, I'm so sorry". We kept saying over and over again, "no really, we are interested in learning, that's why we hired you" but, as Oprah would say, she just couldn't receive it. "I'm talking too much, I'm going to put you to sleep". "I bet you think I'm really boring, don't you?" She. drove. me. nuts, I tell you.
Anyway, the Vatican Museum is in fact very interesting. There was a lot of Michelangelo sculptures scattered about, Raphael decorated a few of the rooms, Botticelli, Caravaggio, all the heavy Renaissance hitters.
|This statue I got a whole picture of - now I just can't remember what it was.|
|My favourite part of the Vatican Museum was the Hall of Maps. What can I say, I like maps.|
|Nothing to see here!|
|Thought about trying to line up the finger, but Pisa taught me that could take awhile.|
|Declan doing his impression of Michelangelo's Pieta and Shane telling me with his eyes "I can't believe you are making me do this.'|
|Shane ready to fight for his place in line.|
One more stop in the Vatican, and it was a highlight for me- the official gift shop staffed by nuns. This place was hopping, jampacked with tourists trying to get official papal merch. I had to wait in line a long time and the nun that helped me seemed quite harried. I really felt for her. I myself would have been quite cheesed off if I renounced all wordly possessions to devote myself to a religious life as a Bride of Christ only to get assigned to work retail. Nonetheless, this is where I got my only souvenir of this holiday. My parents had given me 100 Euros for my birthday to get myself a nice souvenir, and in the 5 countries we visited this is the only thing that caught my fancy:
It's a bottle opener emblazoned with the image of Pope John Paul II, or as I call it, my "Popener". You'll notice Benedict XVI hasn't made it on to any official Vatican barware yet.
Our driver then took us back to the ship, and we boarded in time for kids' club/pub trivia/keychain acquisition, and another round of Bingo, and then Dinner with Wendy.
|Enthralled watching Wendy play video games.|
|First cheesecake. Plamen let the kids draw right on the linen tablecloths.|