We went upstairs, had breakfast, then set out to see the sites in Vatican City. Our feet still felt bruised from the day before, and our pocket computer told us we were looking at a 4.4km walk, so we walked part of the way then looked for a cab. We took a slightly different route from the hotel and I recognized some landmarks from one of my pre-trip Google flybys.
The guy in the Adidas shirt is Mauro, and he was collecting signatures for an anti-drug campaign. I told him I was from LA and that my signature probably wouldn't mean much, but in the end I realized it was just a polite way for his church or organization to ask for donations. He asked me where I was from originally, I said LA, he said no before that, I said LA. He said I looked Italian. Nice one Mauro, you just earned yourself €5 you cheeky guy!We found a taxi nearby and got a quiet, even keeled, driver that took us to within 200m of St. Peter's Square. We had to jump out at an intersection due to construction and quickly pay with a traffic cop blowing his whistle and waving angrily at our driver to move. Outside, the sun was intense, and the breeze nonexistent. We walked into the Square and were welcomed by that swarm of pilgrims and tourists I mentioned a few days ago. There were hundreds of groups. Usually dressed in matching t-shirts or hats, and they had group leaders or tour guides waving flags.
The Pope was there, and there was some sort of public address going on. Some of the groups cheered at certain points. We couldn't find a way into the Cathedral; we realized later that it wasn't open to the public until the big wigs cleared out. With the crowd and the heat pressing in on us we made our way to the museum to see the Sistine Chapel and we hoped there would be an alternate entrance to the dome. The museum line was long, as you saw previously, and there were an assortment of peddlers working the line, but we were in the shade and we could zone out on our iProducts.We got inside, bought our tickets, some water, and a diet pepsi. I mention the pepsi because Julien washed out the can and had me tote it around the rest if the day in my man purse, or murse. First souvenir of the trip taken care of. Score! Side note; we've been playing this game where when something happens, like the first time an Italian asks you for directions, you've earned the Blending In Achievement! I earned that on day one at the train station. For you non-gamers out there, pretty much every game platform (i.e. Xbox, Nintendo, Playstation, PC) has an added layer to most new games that is like earning extra credit for going above and beyond the main focus of the game. In some cases, you'll see a little trophy pop up on the screen with a title of the achievement you've completed. They're intended to keep you playing, add to your sense of accomplishment, and stroke your ego. Sometimes you're actively going after them, and other times they pop up unexpectedly. Today, in Venice, Julien earned the Dog Squeeze Achievement. I'll let you figure that one out. Back in a bit with the rest of our Vatican expedition.