My meeting with the Pope – Vatican Rome

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I wake early and decide today to make the pilgrimage to the Vatican. I have a spring in my step and am off on an adventure. I don’t wish to amble, I want to get out and see more of what Rome has to offer. Naturally, I expect to see herds of tourists and this anticipation proves well founded. The beauty of travelling alone is that I am not reliant on anyone, or anything, aside from myself, and I am able to side step any situation in which I feel awkward, trapped, or bored. So in this case, I decide to extricate myself from the crowd, I swerve in and out of slow strolling tourists, I skip successfully between gaps, cross and re-cross roads where required, and arrive at my destination fast.

As I approach the Vatican, I see a very different side of Rome. The area of the Cipro Metro Station in and around the Vatican is, to put it bluntly, disappointing. As well as being one of the leading tourist spots in the world, it is also home to the Pope and a pilgrimage site to millions. I expected the vicinity of the building to be well taken care of and memorable. How wrong I am. The main road up to the Vatican is filthy, this littler-lined street is full of people, but surely they all notice how awful it is too? The smell wafts up and makes me feel a tad nauseous. I pass numerous graffiti covered walls, ignore uninviting store fronts, and splash through a few puddles, even though it hasn’t been raining… Indeed this really does seem like the armpit of Rome. Such a stylish city, yet as one of its principal sites, there seems to be no regard whatsoever to aesthetics. The Vatican is such a sacred, religious place it is of importance to so many international travelers, pilgrims, and locals alike. It is such a shame to be greeted by this mess. The structure itself however is a masterpiece, I bask in its elegance for a moment and then pictures taken, time spent, I am back on the streets in search of my next experience. To be totally honest, I want out of this entire area. I’m finding it oppressive. I didn’t leave my life behind to come and stand in a dirt-stained street in Rome, no matter how architecturally grand something is!