I had no intention of ever making a pilgrimage or even a ‘just for the experience’ trip to Rome for Easter. This was entirely coincidental. However, as the saying goes when in Rome do as the Romans do. The Catholic church and the Pope have a huge influence in the city. I had never seen so many nuns and priests strutting around a city in my life. It was very cool.
So I decided that if I missed mass I would regret it. I woke up promptly at 6:30 am (5:30 London time) got ready and joined the masses in commute to the Vatican. My tour guide from Saturday talked about mass and said that tickets on the day would be available on request from a Swiss guard. I was surprised to hear this as my guide-book stated that you needed to book months in advance and you needed to be Catholic. I joined the queue and then considered if I should ask a guard. I thought this couldn’t be true that I could just get a ticket to get inside so easily.
A man close by as well as I noticed that everyone around us had tickets. I told him what my guide had said so he went to the guard and asked. I saw him a few minutes later with a yellow ticket. So I went, asked a (very cute) guard and got my yellow ticket. The good thing about solo travel is being able to manoeuvre much more stealthily and easily than in a group. I made my way back in the queue and got farther to the front than where I originally started.
As many people as there were we were ushered in relatively quickly, passed through security and got seated in good time. I ended up being in the first seated section slightly off to the right. The feeling was so surreal I had to repeat to myself (in my head of course) ‘you are in Rome, you are sitting waiting for the Pope to arrive for mass’ over and over.