Friday, November 27, 2015

Rome, Day 3: Climbing the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica

JJ insisted he was not tired and he had to climb the dome. I was reluctant to do so but JJ made me climb. Ugh! So we went back to St. Peter's Basilica after the museum visit.

We went to the courtyard on the left side of building. Here we waited in line to climb the dome. The line was short, just 10 minute wait. The queue was much longer earlier. Now it was after 5:00pm and there were less people lining up.
You get to choose either climbing all the way to the top or taking the elevator halfway and then climbing the dome. I chose the modern comfort, the elevator, without hesitation. In a situation like that, I am always very decisive. But JJ always feels compelled to prove something such as he is not old. JJ took a moment to decide he would follow me to take the elevator. Why did he even hesitate? We had been on our feet all day. Anyway, there were some young and restless ones choosing the hard way - climbing all the way. 

First, we took the elevator to the rooftop. And then we went inside the dome and started climbing the stairs. I could see the church from high above.

Guess who was the whiner later. JJ, of course. He kept asking why the wall was slanted. In case he didn't notice, it's a dome. Duh! 

The stairs are really narrow and the wall is at an angle. You have to tilt your body while climbing. Some people might feel claustrophobic. Somehow I have a hunch this dome was not designed for so many people to climb and the access was meant for maintenance people to climb up and fix something. It's kind of dangerous to let so many people climb at the same time. If anyone gets a heart attack, the paramedic can not come up here to rescue. There is simply no room for them to come up. That's a scary thought. 

We climbed the dome in late September, the weather was cool enough for you to climb. You can still get hot after all the climbing. I went up wearing a cardigan, I came down wearing only a tank top. It was that hot. I definitely don't recommend climbing the dome in summer.

The view from the top is all right because it is obstructed by a metal fence. You have to stick your camera through the metal fence for photographing the view. If you use a DSLR with a big lens, the lens might be too big for you to do so. JJ complained about the fence. He could barely stick his bazooka lens through the fence. It was his brilliant idea to climb. Now he regretted it. 

However, the lighting was pretty good in the afternoon. See how grand St. Peter's Square was from high above.

Recognize the Vatican Museum?

Climbing down the dome was much easier. It didn't take long for us to come back down to the rooftop where we could take the elevator to the ground floor. Before taking the elevator, we had to take more photos. 

Here is Michelangelo's dome. It is without a doubt a masterpiece.

I got a closer look at the statues on top of St. Peter's Basilica.

The next few days I climbed more towers and domes in Italy. I would say this dome is the hardest to climb. I heard a lot of cursing, moaning, and groaning during climbing. That pretty much says it all.

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