We were born Catholic so being in Italy, there is no way we could miss this small country in the middle of Rome, along the Tiber River. On our second day in Rome, we took the Metro from the Colosseo Station, as our B&B accommodation was just a block away. We transferred at the Termini and got off at Ottaviano Station and walked a few blocks to get to the Vatican Museum. We were early and yet the line was already long. In front of us and behind, I assumed, were all Italians, as I could hear the musical Italian intonations. After one hour of waiting, we started to get impatient but, I thought, God must be worth all this inconvenience and after all, it was not that bad compared to what Jesus sacrificed so God could forgive our sins. But thirty more minutes, and I’m ready to take the offer of people selling “Skip the Line”. But I also thought, the local Italians can wait, so we can do it also. Second Monkey had to buy our lunch while I waited to protect “the line.” After we had eaten I guessed we could wait forever until God gave his blessings. He did – after more than three hours, it was finally our turn. But God had more tests for us. When we were ready to step inside, by some miracle, the guard closed the rope. At least we were right in front now, and on the next call we were inside “heaven.”

I took my first confession and communion in grade two and was punished with praying the Our Father, Hail Mary, and “I believe in God…” nine times each. I felt so holy — that all my sins were forgiven (even though you don’t even know what sins you have committed when you are 8 years old). Now, I’m here face-to-face with God and my faith. Once inside, I was struck by how crowded it was — heaven was so popular. I began to empathize with my fellow creatures, the cows, as I was herded through hall after hall. I was more struck by the grandeur and richness of the place. God has a very expensive taste and style, I noticed.

The Sistine Chapel was worth all the sacrifices, including having to move with thousands of mortals doing the same thing. We Monkeys tried to stick together but in the end, we got separated. I decided to just check out “heaven” and meet Second Monkey outside. She actually What’s app’ed me that she had already exited the Sistine when I was still checking the Borgias — I had watched them on Netflix. 🙂 I was so amazed at Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine that one of the souvenirs I bought is a book about him at the Chapel’s souvenir shop.

It was not Wednesday, so the Pope was not doing the mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Again, the line to the cathedral was long so we didn’t try to go inside. By now, God must understand we did our duty as good Catholics. The Vatican is worth a visit even for non-religious; it is something to contemplate how religion molded us, who we are.

Book your visit online – it makes things easier, especially during the high season, if you travel independently.