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6.9.17, or (Vati)can you even?

ITALIA TIP #3: BRING CONVERTERS AND A POWER STRIP. (if you didn’t, look up your nearest electronics store.)

I regretted the moment I woke up at 7 am and checked my phone. 50% battery, how can I live?!

Okay, but actually, this was a pretty troublesome issue. My family had 6 devices to charge, and only 1 converter. However, given that we needed to leave the apartment by 9:00 am to reach Vatican City and meet our ticket holder in time, giving us only 10 minutes to change and get ready, we were in consensus that we could leave that issue to a later time.

Side note: Vatican City is technically a sovereign nation, due to a long history that can be explained very well by CGP Grey. They also request that you dress to respect its culture, meaning no shoulders and knees showing, and no hats in the chapel.

I rushed my family to walk to the Vatican, only to find out that our group left already. However, thankfully, there was another group ready to go 20 minutes later. As we waited, I noticed that there were lots of vendors selling items, such as scarves, fidget spinners, umbrellas, fans, ice water, and the sort. The amazing part was that these merchants weren’t heckling the people into purchasing their items like the horror stories spoke of, they were actually polite and backed off when they were told to! How polite of them.

Once we got into the Vatican Museum, however, there were some communication issues in regards to how we were going to get around. My mom wanted to go see the Sistine Chapel first, or “that blue dome in the distance”, while everyone else wanted to go along with what the audio guide reserved. Spoiler Alert: that blue dome in the distance was not the Sistine Chapel. There was some discussion before we just went along with the flow, and looked at the art that was within the gallerias. The most impressive part was, of course, the actual Sistine Chapel. It would take hours, if not days, just to be able to pinpoint every significant area of the Sistine Chapel that held symbolic value. The 4 Raphael paintings came in a close second with its use of dramatic color and shadowing. Time came and went, when I was reminded that our family planned on staying at the Vatican for 2 hours. By then, we had stayed for 5. Is it sad to say that this sort of thing is normal?

Once we had our fill of lunch and basically scoping out the entire museum, I was dead tired. My sleep cycles like to play a game called “How to make Rebecca drowsy the worst time possible.” It’s not easy for me to sleep early at night, making it so that it’s not easy for me to wake up early in the morning. Come the beginning of the afternoon, I suddenly have the need to drop to the ground and take a snooze. That beginning of the afternoon came around, and legit I napped for 10 minutes on the wall of the Vatican on a bench next to the Egyptian exhibit. Oops, I probably got cursed by a statuette for being disrespectful in the presence of such godly… pieces of art. Oh well!

After being jerked awake by my dearest little sister ever, my family walked to the Castel Sant’ Angelo.

The Castel Sant’ Angelo, or the Mausoleum of Hadrian, is a castle-like structure built for Emperor Hadrian and his family. It’s one of the most well-preserved buildings of Ancient Rome in the city due to it’s recycled uses of tomb, prison, and church. Going in and out of the nooks and crannies the fort had to offer, it was a thankful reprieve from the +90 degree heat of Rome in the summer. Another occasion to be thankful of was my mom’s Chinese travel research, which insisted that you sit down and feed pigeons on the cafe in the castle. So that’s what we did.

It was then that I savored my first Italian coffee. I ordered an iced coffee, which came in a mini vase-like glass. The bottom was espresso, topped by some milk and cream, with some cocoa powder and coffee beans to round the whole piece out. A biscuit and tea spoon was placed elegantly on a napkin-ed plate, giving the afternoon snack and artistic flair. On the other hand, my sister got a lemon Fanta and an apple croissant.

We sat ourselves at a window seat overlooking the blue dome and the expanse that lay between the mausoleum and Vatican City, just taking in the sights and the silent peace. That was before my mom saw a pigeon had landed on our window and threw a piece of croissant at it. It was then just a beckoning of the bird to our table and tempting it with food it probably shouldn’t be eating. Admittedly, it was fun and relaxing, but ever since seeing the “Birds” movie where birds acted as a hive mind to ruin humanity, I’ve been wary of them since.

Countering my caution, my sister eagerly held out a crumb from her finger to have the pigeon look the other way as if to say “That morsel is not enough for the mighty pigeon, I am.”

After taking in the views the castle gave and a million more photo-taking opportunities, we settled down at a restaurant near the Vatican City for dinner. I ordered a sandwich due to my lack of appetite from the snack, but my parents offered me to take a sip of the adult beverage that many of my age covet: Italian beer.

If you know me, which you should by this point, I’m not a huge party person. My idea of a party is playing cards with Elaine, catching up with old friends like Maggie and Abby, and playing Just Dance with Emily — y’know, friend stuff. But with this opportunity of being in Italy, I was like, “Why not?” and scrutinized the drink. It was golden yellow, like apple juice, and kinda smelled like apple juice. Did it taste like apple juice? I took a sip.

At first, I was like “Oh, it’s just another type of soda,” before gagging at the ginger-tasting liquid that burned my throat. My immediate reaction was to inhale a cup of water before voicing my disgust. Never again.

The rest of the night passed peacefully, and I, too, passed peacefully into dream land.

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