Travel: The Vatican City & A Roman Thunderstorm

Alongside the Colosseum this is the most talked about ‘attraction’ in Rome. It’s also another one you have to book a ticket for. It costs no more to book in advance, but you save yourself queueing – and the queue was around three hours long when we arrived at 11am.

 photo Vatican City 16_zpsneexedmf.jpg photo Vatican City 3_zpsirdp39fj.jpg photo Vatican City 4_zpsmhrxkzg0.jpgIt was ridiculously hot and humid that day, and unfortunately that didn’t help us whilst wandering round the museum. By the time we were shepherded into the extremely busy Sistine Chapel we’d both had enough. The crowded room wasn’t somewhere we wanted to spend much time, as beautiful as it was. The whole building was stunning, the detail on the ceilings, the sculptures, the paintings – all just wonderful.

 photo Vatican City 5_zpse5lknpi5.jpg photo Vatican City 6_zps7nbkrhjs.jpg photo Vatican City 7_zps5m29o3vg.jpg photo Vatican City 8_zpsbfarvgum.jpg photo Vatican City 9_zpscvt2uqsz.jpg photo Vatican City 10_zps8prspohy.jpg photo Vatican City 12_zps49m9qu4m.jpgPhotos weren’t allowed in many areas, and they were very strict about that – I saw one woman escorted out, having had her camera examined and the offending photos deleted. All my photos were taken in areas where photography was permitted, but they don’t show the beauty of the place. It really has to be seen, and I wouldn’t recommend a trip to Rome without visiting!

My top advice? Take lots of water if visiting in warmer months! It’s a long walk round, there’s no way to by-pass bits, and nowhere to really stop off. On that note, go to the toilet beforehand too…

 photo Vatican City 2_zpscaseqaqy.jpg photo Vatican City 13_zpsevrwmlfm.jpg photo Vatican City 15_zpsccut2pw7.jpgWe also sat in the lush gardens to relax a little, before struggling to find our way out!

 photo Vatican City 14_zpsl5ixorcf.jpg photo Vatican City 17_zpswq0withk.jpgWe headed towards St Peter’s Basilica, but the queue was snaking along and seemed a good hour long – there doesn’t seem to be a fast-track for this. We decided to give it a miss and settled down in the shade (a good choice!) to eat a packed lunch and watch the most stunning clouds roll in…

 photo Vatican City 18_zpspzpmusbn.jpg photo Vatican City 22_zpstul8zw5w.jpg photo Vatican City 20_zpsn4myghps.jpg photo Vatican City 21_zps03zkf8qx.jpg photo Vatican City 23_zpsipjzvmyg.jpgThen lightening lit up the now dark sky, thunder exploded, and the rain came down. I’ve never seen rain like it, within five minutes roads were flooded. The queue evaporated, the thousands heading towards the shelter we had previous had to ourselves. Rain blew up, the selfie-stick sellers rain to their cars, returning with ponchos and umbrellas!

The rain began to slow, we made a run for it…only to have to press ourselves against a wall in a vain attempt to shelter again.

 photo Vatican City 19_zps5qut9lqg.jpgA stunning thunderstorm, spectacular to watch…though I was glad I was not up at the top of the basilica’s dome! It was fascinating to experience such a quick change in weather – my photos of the square and the Vatican gardens were taken at most 20 minutes apart.

Have you been to Rome? Did you go to the Vatican?