Today our time in Rome was redeemed. The tour dropped us off near the Vatican museum at 8 AM because they were going on their optional excursion to the Vatican Museum at 8:30, and we looked toward the entrance …. NO LINE. So we ran to the entrance and we were the first in line. And we stood there in the cold for one hour waiting for it to open, because we didn’t make reservations. We had actually decided that since we only had until 10:30 AM that we weren’t even going to try to get in. Our guide book also said that Mondays were among the busiest days for the museum … but that somewhat reasonable decision was overridden by the adrenaline rush that kicked in when we saw that there was NO LINE. Ahhh the wonders of touring in winter.

At the crack of 9AM we got our tickets, breezed through security and began our conquest of the Vatican Museum. This was probably my favorite museum of the entire tour, unexpectedly. It was pretty short, very well organized, and everything in it was a work of art, including the walls and ceilings. No Pot Fatigue here. The most amazing thing in the museum was a ceiling by Raphael that is painted, 2D, but you would never be able to tell that it is 2D unless you were told. Here is a small section of the ceiling:

Freaking amazing.

We successfully hit all the highlights of the museum and lingered in the Sistine Chapel, which would have been nice if i was better lit, but marvelous anyway. I really liked how the employees liberally shushed people when they were getting too loud, because in so many attractions we’ve been to, the “Silence” and “No Photography” signs have been blatantly ignored and the employees haven’t really cared. Which irks me.

We stayed in the Sistine Chapel until almost 10:20, because our guidebook said that from there is an exit that will lead directly into St. Peter’s Basilica, which will then dump us out at our tour’s meeting place. But the guidebook neglected to say that only tour groups are allowed to use this entrance. So we were Royally Screwed. Because that meant that we had ten minutes to run half a mile to the exit of the museum, then another mile plus change to our meeting place.

Schmoops left me behind and arrived before 10:30. I arrived at 10:33. I’m surprised I made it at all.