On our trip to Europe there was probably no city that had more anticipation for us than Rome and particularly the Vatican.  We had pre booked advanced tickets (at great cost) so that we could beat the huge lines and have what we thought would be time strolling through the museum rooms and the Sistine Chapel with a few privileged people.  Perhaps running across Pope Francis as we wandered.  Boy were we wrong.

When we managed to make it past the 2 block long lineup to get into the Vatican Museums we found that the prepaid advance tickets were shared by hundreds if not thousands.  Our guide got us through the ticket area and pointed us to the entrance and stepped back with what I now realize was a look of pity.

We entered bedlam.  A long series of little rooms and ante chambers that seemed to get narrower as we flowed along in a crowd with one objective, the Sistine Chapel.

We were pressed into a throng so tight that if we had been cattle at a slaughter house the SPCA would have stepped in and arrested the company.  Jammed together but in a continuous flow as the thousands pressed on to the promised Sistine.  I know there was artwork on the walls and ceilings but you could not stop to see anything lest you stumble and be trampled by the hoard.  I am sure I spotted priests bungie corded into little niches giving continuous last rites to those that fell.

It was as if we were floating in rapids on a river.  At one point I lost contact with the Wife as she was swept away in an eddy.  I despaired that I would have to tell the kids that I lost their mother in the Loggia of Raphael.

Eventually after an hour of surging along in the throng with people pressed in on all sides we issued into the Sistine Chapel.  It was slightly wider than the halls and chambers so the surge slowed slightly (as in a widening of a river) but not enough to allow you to stop.  You could notice that there were some painting on the ceiling but again you dare not look at them too long or you might slip and be trampled by the thousands of people pressing behind you.

At the end of the Sistine you are squeezed through a door into the Basilica which is huge so that the crowd can somewhat disperse and there I found The Wife.  In fact the Basilica was a scene of joy because of all the people finding loved ones they feared lost in the herd.

Not the highlight of our trip that I was hoping for.  Still by blindly holding the camera over my head and snapping pictures I did end up with a few images that I know I did not see at the time.