In order to be first in line at St. Peter's Basilica today, we got up super-early and rushed out the door. Unfortunately, the pope ruined our Vatican plans- he was giving a talk to the masses today, so the basilica was closed. Apparently, the guys who told us what time the basilica opened either didn't know that he was giving a special talk today, or they forgot to mention that. We went back for a nap, dropped our luggage at the train station, and came back for a short walk before catching the tail end of the popemobile. Finally! We thought we'd get into the basilica. But one of the guards told us that it was closed until 1. But we SAW with our EYES that people were going in. Why doesn't anybody know what's going on? We took a few minutes to watch some dancers in traditional costumes from who-knows-where dance to traditional music. I guess you just have to have a party that would fit in at Epcot to celebrate the pope? We walked around to where it appeared that the end of the line to get in was, and got stopped by some guards as he closed down that line. So, we walked around a different fence to the area that wasn't going to open until 1, according to the words of the guard there not 10 minutes earlier. That line was open. WTJ? Eventually, we ended up in the massive entrance line. It was drizzly, so everybody had umbrellas out, which was actually quite pretty. However, the line was moving very slowly. We didn't push anybody or cut anybody off, but we did take advantage of open spaces in the mass that passed for a line. It felt a bit like I was cutting in front of nuns to get into the holiest Catholic cathedral, but they weren't moving forward, and we weren't trying to sort of.
St. Peter's was packed. It was the same sea of endless humanity that we had experienced at the Vatican Museums, Trevi Fountain, and everywhere else yesterday. The one space with enough room to breathe was the Vatican treasures museum. It's off ot the side, costs extra to go in, but was kind of interesting in a morbid way. The audio guide descriptions were too long, but it went into all sorts of details about pope clothes, saint body parts, and artifacts that looked like they were bedazzled by kindergarteners because they were so full of jewels. I get that "relics" are important to the church, and that that's a euphemism for "dead people's body parts." However, I wasn't quite prepared to see teeth and chunks of bones housed in ornate receptacles. On our way out, we stopped at the Vatican post office to send a post card with a Vatican stamp, and then traipsed on to Campo de Fiori. There, we saw a bunch of vendors with jams, dishes, and other wares. It was mostly touristy, but it was still interesting. I just wish they had containers of some of the jams tapenades, or honeys that were less than 100 mL so I could have brought something back. By this time, we were starving again, and settled for lunch at what could best be described as "the TGI Friday's" of Rome. The food clearly came from the freezer into the deep fryer, but it wasn't horrible. Lastly, we stopped at the Pantheon, but then had to head back to the airport to catch our flight. I had a little adventure at security. I just completely forgot to put my laptop back in my bag. I've been through security literally hundreds of times, and never left anything behind like that. By the time I realized it, the laptop was already at the lost and found and I had to send a courier service to retrieve it and ship it to me. If anybody needs a recommendation, let me know.