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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Day 10: Rome (Italy) - Vatican City (Vatican) - Rome (Italy)

It was a free day but we were all going to Vatican first. The Vatican queue could be very long, so it was advisable to start early rather than stuck in the queue for hours. At 7 am, all of us were ready to go. The coach dropped us at the nearest train station and everyone was given one day ticket for the train.

The train was pretty stuffy with the morning crowd and everyone was warned to be careful with their belongings. It took around 30 minutes to reach Vatican's station. The train lines were quite simple to navigate compared to Paris, only one transfer required to reach our destination.

From afar, I could see people had already queueing around the city wall, there were about 80 people in front of us when we reached there and the gate was not even opened. It didn't take long for the queue to reach the other side of the wall. We were the first few groups, so the wait was not that bad. Inside the building, each of us was given an earphone and a receiver set to a certain frequency. We had a guided tour in Vatican Museum followed by a visit to Sistine Chapel.

Queue formed around city wall

Vatican symbol

Musei Vaticani
Vatican Museum is one of the wealthiest in the world. Its collection comprises of arts collected from all different period of the world history.

Corridor full of sculptures

A magnificent decorated ceiling

Another decorated ceiling

The famous spiral stairs

Artist impression of St Peter's Basilica

Sistine Chapel
Michaelangelo was commissioned by the Pope to decorate Sistine Chapel in 16th century. It took him six years to finish the task.

Ceiling of Sistine Chapel

The wall depicts The Last Judgement

St Peter's Basilica

When we reached there, there were lots of people attending the mass. We were so lucky that we caught a glimpse of Pope Benedict, but it was from the projector screen hehe.. He was really far away from where we stood.

Pope Benedict himself

He was sitting under the red tent in front of the basilica.

Swiss guards

After lunch, we returned to Rome to continue our sightseeing. We took the train again and alight at Colosseum station.

The Hollywood "Gladiator" is my favourite movie of all time. It was time for me to see the real thing.

A gladiator was ready to fight, oops.. to take pictures :P

Constantine Arch

The colosseum didn't look as grand as in the movie. Some parts of the structure was not complete anymore and there were so many holes around its facade. But anyway, it was an almost two century old building, so it was already quite an achievement.

Roman Forum
It was a political and religion center of ancient Rome. Now what left is only the ruins, some buildings have been restored, but the excavation is still ongoing.

Capitol Square

Vittriano Museum

Trevi fountain

Spanish steps

Crypt of Capuchin Monks
This was not a usual tourist haunt. The crypt was located under a chapel and decorated with the bones and skulls of Capuchins monks, it was pretty eerie. We were not allowed to take photos, here's a link to see the photos I found on the internet.

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