Running from the Metro station toward the entrance of Vatican City, I thought surely this would be the moment we would be hit and killed in the chaos of the traffic of Rome.
Thirty six hours is not enough time to see the wonders of the Italian capital. Let our poor planning be your tip for traveling to Rome.
As we dodged and ducked through the hordes of tourists leaving the Vatican, feeling like salmon swimming upstream in spawning season, our frenzied pace reflected our hope to at least glimpse the main sights of Rome during our short stay. Our aim was to get in the Vatican City prior to the last entrance cut off at 5:30pm.
We had fifteen minutes to spare.
When our hands were about to be thrown up in despair, a nun walking briskly toward the tiny country of Vatican City, appeared before us. Call it divine intervention or just plain good luck.
We tucked in behind her and fresh off our cycling tour in downtown Rome, drafted her like we were in a Catholic peloton. Parting like the Red Sea, people, cars, bicycles veered and leaped out of the way for the sister. Hubby and I, attempting to be stealth, began slinking along behind practically touching her flowing habit.
Stalking a nun in Rome is likely frowned upon but perhaps not as much as running one over with a car.
Arriving to the grounds of the Vatican if one weren’t breathless from rushing to arrive, the magnificence of the expansive sight left us gasping. Being Sunday the area which would have been jammed hours before now lay almost deserted.
With the limited time that we had a choice needed to be made whether we would got to the Vatican Museum or St. Peter’s Basilica. The church entrance sat only a few hundred meters away and off we ran.
At that moment I turned to Hubby and blurted, “My dress is too short! They will never let me in!”
Momentarily there was a glimpse of a marital eye roll but then he admitted his shorts were above his knees.
We had read the very strict rules of the Vatican about skirts and shorts needing to be below the knee as well as shoulders covered.
Blame it on the fact that our day and a half in Rome in mid September saw the hottest temperatures the city had endured all summer. The Canadians were practically melting on the sidewalk.
A bathing suit seemed better suited to the thick and hot humid air. Frankly a sundress was completely reasonable but the Swiss Guard did not have the appearance that he would be easily swayed.
Pulling a scarf out of my purse like a magician might gleefully produce a rabbit out of a hat, I draped it over my shoulders and wrapped it tightly around my neck in hopes my chaste look would make up for my bare legs.
Hubby pulled his shorts lower in a attempt to cover his knees, or in an attempt to look like a teenager with drooping pants that a parent wants to give a good yank upward. We shuffled toward the security entrance with our knees bent hoping to make our clothing appear longer than it was.
We actually just looked like we had mobility issues.
As a woman was sternly pulled out of the line up for her bare shoulders I bent my knees further to get my dress hemline to touch my knees and pulled the scarf yet higher on my neck. With the temperature at 32 Celsius I thought either I would be admitted to the Vatican or admitted to an Italian hospital for heatstroke.
Which of the following happened at the Vatican?
A) We were both pulled out of the line up for inappropriate clothing and had to drown our sorrows with Italian refreshments at a nearby outdoor cafe.
B) I was allowed in and Dave was sent packing for his short shorts and impersonating a teenager. While discussing whether I should go in without him I fainted at the security station from the heat.
C) We were allowed in after a stern warning and me begging and pleading our case that we were were only in Rome for this short time.
D) We were allowed in, only to be held back by other security guards and subsequently got lost in the Basilica.
Looking forward to your guesses! The true story will follow in the next post.