No really! I did!
We got up really early, got all nicely dressed up, and drove over to the NATO college. Once there, we grabbed some quick cappuccinos, and then we got on a ginormous green bus with a police escort.
It's a swanky life I live.
It's now very late in the evening, and so I'm going to make this post a list because I'm drop-dead-tired.
- Once at the Vatican (I know! And can you believe it's its own country? I left Italy today... very odd.) we walked a ways, getting lots of curious looks from bystanders. Around 20,000 of them, to be a bit more precise. "Who are these people? With name tags? And seats close to the front?" It really is a great opportunity and I felt so very blessed. We were literally as close as we could get to the Pope without being... well, really, really famous.
- Note: This was a very safe event. Everyone coming through to the papal audience went through security, so there was no real threat.
- Note: I am not actually Catholic, but I do happen to believe that the Catholics certainly impacted, a long time ago, what I am so blessed to believe now. I do not necessarily agree with the idea of having a Pope, but he's such an important figure; this was an opportunity that we just couldn't miss!
- Nary a cloud was in the sky, and it was absolutely gorgeous and surreal. Unfortunately, no clouds in Italy means utterly relentless sunshine. Unless you are in the shade, you are most likely uncomfortable. This was an open-air audience, in the big area with the obelisk. (I'm sorry, I'm blanking. It's not quite a courtyard...) We were sitting facing the window outside of the Popes's bedroom, from where new Popes are announced and the Pope often stands and waves to the people.
- He was a rather little man, I must say. But he's clearly an intellectual, and was able to speak several languages very well. Except English... I almost understood the Italian better than the English! ;)
- There were blessings given in Italian, English, German, Spanish, Polish, and Portuguese. He also gave a sermon (I think??) but I didn't understand a word.
- After the audience ('twas a very long audience), we went to lunch with a couple from our committee. They're British, and it was great fun. British humor (I'm sorry, "humour") is my favorite kind, and I had fun using their accent. In fact, all my thoughts sound British in my head, which is really very strange. But I have a problem that's actually really embarrassing. When I hear people speaking with another accent, I accidentally start using it. It's a struggle to keep my own! I hope no one notices...
- After lunch, we headed to the Vatican Museum and got a tour. We didn't have to wait in the queue (See, British again) and after gathering everyone together, we went right in. It was a guided tour, and very interesting. I would love to go back one day when my legs are fresh and I'm not already tired, because I feel like I wasn't able to retain much. But honestly, that's a constant feeling in Rome. It's so overwhelming, and you just get this sense that there's no WAY you're ever going to know it all. I've resigned myself to that, but I'm trying to learn as much as I can.
- It's very late, so I don't have anything deep or interesting to say about anything else, really. I was going to write this post tomorrow, but I realized I just haven't got the time. I'm quite a busy bee lately.
- Oh, and a quick message for my Uncle Marshall... I got my parents to like brussels sprouts! Victory is ours!
- To the rest of you: Uncle Marshall made a delicious recipe (which I will share with you sometime) for brussels sprouts that actually isn't vomit-inducing, and in fact quite delicious. I made it for myself and my mum (British: YES) and it was so, so, so good. I made it a wee too spicy for her tastes, but I liked it a lot. If I include less pepper, she'd love it. And Dad liked it too. Our family has been converted... except Will. That's right, buddy. You're next.