If there was a city in #FLEuro2016 that I hated for loving, it is Rome.
Everything I heard about Rome was true – there were a lot of tourists and pickpockets, and the people weren’t the friendliest. However, I ended up enjoying Rome anyways simply because of how beautiful it is. It is a city you have to go to if you are traveling around Europe. The plazas and buildings all have so much history and culture within them that you wonder why they don’t do a better job of maintaining them. The most beautiful area is, of course, the Vatican City, and that is exactly where this week’s story is from.
Because we slept in, we had limited time to visit the Vatican City. The day after was Sunday, which meant that the Vatican City was not open for visitors because of Sunday service, so Fatima and I hastily joined a tour (it was a legit one!). Rome was our 6th city so by then, so guided tours had lost its appeal. We preferred to sight see on our own, but boy were we glad to have joined a tour for the Vatican Museum.
Firstly, there was a lineup for tour groups to enter the museum. Although it was much shorter and faster, this only implied how much longer non-touring visitors would have to wait. Secondly, the Vatican museum is so large with so many exhibits that Fatima and I would’ve suffered from complete information overload. In fact, we would’ve definitely missed out on particular pieces of art that had the most interesting stories or history.
Even though our guide was very informative and there were many interesting things to look at, I was exhausted. It was already 2 hours into the tour and I just wanted to sit down, but on and on we kept going down halls filled with sculptures and paintings and then… – cue angels singing- the Gallery of Maps.
You see, there are many sights I find beautiful – the green rolling hills of Ebenalp, a sunset on top of the Reichstag building, a meteor shower while lying on the slopes of Seymour mountain, the snowy tips of Whistler, the city lights of Hong Kong at night, and so forth – but none of these sights are just a lone building, let alone a lone hallway. When I entered the Gallery of Maps, my breath was taken away. I even got shivers and I teared up. The hallway seemed to glow, illuminating the intricate ceiling comprised of many more intricate paintings and the blue and green maps that hung on the side of the walls. Walking down it mesmerized me. It was a moment where I thought, “Ah, this is real art. This is what real beauty in art looks like.”
I also reaffirmed that this is why people travel – to see beautiful things like this. And I am so thankful to have seen the Gallery of Maps with my own eyes.
For all of you traveling to Rome, you must see the Vatican City and museum. It’s insanely crowded and tours can get expensive but just do it. You won’t regret it.
Or maybe it’s just that beautiful things are so easily broken by the world.
― Cassandra Clare,