Stairway to Heaven: Climbing El Vaticano

Now I am not at all religious, but visiting The Vatican City is a must if not for the purposes of a pilgrimage but for its historical significance as the seat of an Empire. The Catholic Church is alive and well with its many followers flocking to St Peters Square at all times of the year, with my friend James remarking that the long queue can often take several hours before entry into the Basilica. The line looked quite long today but is apparently just stretched out and we are inside within 30mins! Also note that it is free entry despite all the peddlers trying to sell you tickets and group tours outside in the square.

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The scale on the inside is massive. I don’t think I have ever been inside a bigger room in my life. Simply looking up to the ceiling makes you wonder at the insane engineering feats that had to be accomplished to build this thing back in the day. Everything was also so ornate and decorated with all manners of precious gems and gold. Also looking up to the ceiling, the thought definitely hits both James and I – ‘we gotta climb this son of a bitch.’

stpeters_ceilingNow it is possible to climb to the very top but there is a fee, which can be reduced if you elect to use stairs all the way instead of the elevator that gets you to the roof, where you then climb up the dome. Not only are we cheap students, but if we are climbing this we have to do it right – we start from the bottom, all 551 steps awaiting us. The halfway point offers a nice vantage point above the crowd, the childish thought of seeing whether I could land a loogie on an unfortunate soul below certainly passed through my mind but I resisted – it’s kind of a dick move (would definitely go to hell for that: if there is a hell).

vatican_climbOnwards and upwards we go, up on to the roof and up the dome as the walls get narrower and slanted, also quite stuffy and hard to breath as there are so many people climbing and so little air in the passageways.

Woah dude, curvy walls!
Woah dude, curvy walls!

But finally we arrive at the top and we are rewarded with a majestic view of St Peters Square. Praise Jesus! Real or not you have served as an inspiration for one of the great landmarks of mankind.

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