The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel were an absolute dream. I was able to photograph everything but the Sistine Chapel due to copyright laws but nevertheless I was so grateful for the experience to walk in the church. I couldn’t help the tears as we looked up to behold Michelangelo’s work. The “Hand of God” never felt more real in my life and as everyone observed the rule of silence in the church it magnified the moment.
On the other hand getting inside was a bit of a problem. I had purchased tickets online but we fell to a local scam. Every 10-20 feet were local guides portraying themselves as Vatican staff and we fell for the “you should upgrade your tickets to skip the lines with a tour guide” in all the confusion.
AImagine St. Petersburg Square with thousands of people. I questioned it at first because I thought I paid for a guided tour but according to them it was an audio tour without a guide. In fact, three separate employees of the same agency lied to me. Imagine my surprise when we were finally inside and the ticket agent told us we missed our tour with the Vatican guide. I was offered a refund on the guided tour portion I had originally paid but we were out the money spent on the new tour guide which was double the price and with almost 60 people. Way to big for what originally should of been a group of 13-15 people.
The agent was sympathetic and called the agency to complain. I got the impression it wasn’t the first time and I’m sure the practice will continue. Upon leaving I couldn’t help but notice all the independent tour guides pulling the wool over peoples eyes everywhere. It kind of made me sad. For the Catholic Church this was a holy place. I am not a catholic but I hold dear our commonality; the gospel message. This goes against everything Jesus taught.
I couldn’t help but think of our Savior. This was exactly why Jesus upturned all the tables at the temple in Jerusalem. Man had turned Gods holy temple into a den of thieves. Here I was at the Vatican and I was lied to on 3 separate occasions. Scammed for money.
Admittedly I was upset and it took me a moment to rise above it. Once inside I was able to finally let it go and by the time we walked into the Sistine Chapel I had all but forgiven. Life is to precious and our time is to short to spend it brewing over injustices.
I was blessed with the opportunity to see the Hand of God with my kids. What can possibly tarnish that? Absolutely nothing.