I’m not quite sure how I’m going to be able to sum up today’s experiences, as we saw so much and have so much to digest and process. Perhaps I’ll just give a summary and let the girls tell you more about it when they arrive back home, as I’m sure everyone’s day was different and special in their own unique and spiritual ways.
We did the whole normal breakfast routine, and met the buses extra early to be sure to meet our Vatican tour guides at our reserved tour time. We then rode into the city, fought through the traffic, and arrived at the “Smallest Country in the World”, Vatican City. We waited a very short time in line (having reservations and being a group, we got the Vatican Museum “Fast Pass” treatment), made our way through the security checkpoint, met our tour guides, and headed into the museum.
After a short presentation from our guides about the Sistine Chapel artwork and learning some interesting tidbits [two of my favorite amusing items: 1) Michelangelo was the first artist to depict God’s naked rear end and 2) He painted a particular priest who gave him lots of crap banished to Hell with a snake biting him in a very unfortunate place in “The Last Judgment”], we headed in and saw an incredible collection of Roman statues, maps, tapestries, painted ceilings, and all sort of wild and crazy things. And in reality, we barely scratched the surface–there were whole wings that we had to pass by because of the crowds and our schedule. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement.
Speaking of overwhelming, our final destination of the tour was the Sistine Chapel itself. There were no photos allowed, so we definitely didn’t “huddle around people to block the guards who were hovering over with watchful eyes from seeing us ‘not take pictures'”. The ceiling was truly insane to see. I don’t know what else to say.
After leaving the museum, we had a few hours to spend exploring the area and getting some lunch. We then met back at St. Peter’s Square and headed over to a hotel to change into our concert attire. After that, we headed into St. Peter’s Basilica for some time to explore it on our own. Again–overwhelming. To be standing in front of Michelangelo’s Pieta was an emotional experience for me. And then, finally, singing the Mass (and playing the organ!!!) was an experience I’ll not soon forget. Oh, and some of us spotted another celebrity who was also overwhelmed by his experience and in tears: Macklemore.
After the mass, we changed into our tour clothes and headed on over to a local restaurant for another excellent dinner. We then headed back to the hotel and I promptly crashed as soon as I sat down on my bed.
So that’s all for yesterday. Gala concert tonight!