Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

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The view from outside our hotel. Michelangelo Hotel. how appropriate. Yes, we were this close.

Today the eye of the world is on Italy and the Vatican, as the Roman Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Of Buenos Aires as a new Pope Francis I. Back on Sunday, October 15, however, I was there as member of the Lady of the Lakes church choir, singing at St.Peters Basilica Cathedral. Yes, you heard right, I sang in the St.Peters Basilica.

IMG_6525Let’s just say, I have no words. No, I don’t because for a catholic, there is not one great word to describe the flow of emotions one feels when one sets foot inside that majestic building. It is an out-of-body experience, the one that I will soon not forget. But I will leave that for later. For now, the road to Sistine Chapel.

IMG_6532Yes, it is a road. A road of well choreographed multitude of bodies, walking side by side in the enormous, long, artistically domineering corridor, wobbling silently, trying to respect each other’s space, each other’s admiration to this man made yet Godly fearing creation, Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo fresco. A design structure heaven, I may add!

IMG_6536I know, God did not physically build it but matter as well.

IMG_6553Our guide prepared us for the grueling day ahead. Having arrived in Rome from Venice, Florence and Sienna the night before, we kind had a sense what the marathon was going to be like. Wear comfortable clothe, shoes and carry an umbrella because major rain was expected. Perhaps, it was the one that later hit Venice and caused all that flooding. It drizzled a little but was over before it even began.
IMG_6583So, gone we were.

IMG_6593I must confess I had no idea what was up in the menu. Which museums and parts of the city we were going to visit, how long the visits were going to be, what time we had to be at each place, or if in the morning or the afternoon. I was living in the moment and would have done my homework had I not on a pilgrimage. I just knew I was just going somewhere and with the crowd I went, adventuring inside my own click.

IMG_6595We went to the Coliseum and other monuments around the city in the morning and broke up for lunch by the Vatican Museum.

I had my eyes on a pizza but settled on a good ole pasta. I mean, when in Rome do what Romans do right? Funny, how my palate went on a strike with pizza. I did not even try one. Go figure!
IMG_6611I was having butterflies, feeling anxious, excited. I mean, we just visited Uffizi Gallery in Florence, what could topple that?

I heard about it. Seen pictures. Studied Michelangelo and his works. I heard the conversations but had never seen it in person and all I can say is, Oh My God!

IMG_6615What to say about a body of work that was completed ages ago and yet, looks like it was just done yesterday?

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The stars from Sistine Chapel to St. Peters Basilica

As a person I was engulfed in admiration, at awe, overwhelmed by the surrounding majestic work of art but as an artist, I was perplexed. How in the world without today’s existing techniques and materials, one man, Michelangelo, was able to apply and produce that quality of work? It is besides me. How many of us can say that we produce our best work laying down on our back while hanging way up in the ceiling? I mean, I never tried but can positively say that I wouldn’t then again, I am not a muralist. I wonder if he used a ladder. Just so you know, pictures are strictly prohibited. So, if you want to see inside the chapel? Google it!

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We had to strike a pose. Taken at the pew at St. Peter’s Basilica

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My Close Encounter With Pope Benedict XVI

IMG_7598As we heard the surprising news this morning of Pope’s resignation, I went back and dusted off some pictures from last year’s trip to Italy that I have yet to post here. Yes, I was this close to him, could have touched him but would have to walk over the guards and they were not having it. Besides, I needed to take pictures, was too excited and could not see myself pulling double duty.

IMG_7600It was one beautiful October morning, one that I will never forget in my life. I was visiting but singing in the St. Peter’s Basilica, priceless. Yes indeed!