It’s Saturday night…do you know where your are? Yes I am at the hotel relatively early after a long fun and emotional day. “Bright” and early we were out and on the bus at 8 am (almost sharp) for a trip down to Vatican City (another country) and a guided tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, ending with an impromptu concert at the restaurant where we had dinner following a performance at St. Peter’s. Whew did I get all that in? Why yes I did.
Our new best friends from down-under were with us on this leg of our journey. The tour was a little short because I personally like to take in stuff and think about it. But what we saw was pretty amazon’ including tapestries which play with perception as you walk by them. The eyes of Jesus coming out of the tomb follow you as you walk past it and the whole scene seems to move as the perspective changes. Very trippy. Now, normally I am not a big fan of tapestries but the few I saw were really wonderful and clever.
I jump ahead to the Sistine Chapel, isn’t that what people really want to know? Well the chapel was crowded wall to beautiful wall. Every once in a while the guards would yell “Silencio” and it would quiet down a bit, then the volume would rise and the guards yelled at us again. And so it went. I was blown away by the sheer history in this room which is used to elect Popes. Although there is a very strict rule about taking photos I was able to sneak three past the guards who were busy telling people to keep quiet. It is a beautiful room with frescoes by Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and Sandro Botticelli. Some of the pictures can be found on my Facebook photo page if you want to be dazzled…and you know you do.
Moving on to the performance in St. Peter’s…since the main altar is usually reserved for The Pope, we used the altar directly behind the main altar with the statue of Peter’s chair and the Holy Spirit window. The Mass was in Italian but since it is universal I could pick up the different parts of the Mass structure. A ton of people showed up along with the choir and Fr. Walsh, S.J. the president of the high school where our kids came from in San Francisco. I have to say, when the combined choirs started singing, it was so spiritual and gentle that it added so much to the Liturgy taking place in front of us. The kids thought they were singing very quietly but one of the people who was at the far end of the church by the front doors heard every note and word. I was so proud of our kids after long rehearsals and even longer days. They were outstanding. One’s thoughts about the historicalness (is that even a word?) of the place were taken up through the music the kids sang. For a moment I was floating up through the mammoth building and taken to a different place much better than where I was. Can I say more? Of course I can, but I’m going to bed.
The rest of the evening was spent having dinner at a local cafe and then spontaneously breaking into song to enchant the patrons (or drive them crazy). Another night of laughter and song and silliness. But that’s what it’s all about. Rome, the eternal city invited us and we co-operated.
Tomorrow is our last full day in Rome before we go on he road to Barcelona and beyond. One more gala concert in the old part of the city.
Away we go….