You may or may not be interested in the fact that there has been a sede vacante (vacant seat – basically no pope!) at the Vatican for a couple of weeks now.
This has not really impacted my life one bit, but I appreciate that the first Pope to resign in centuries is of historic significance.
Two weekends ago, Pope Benedict delivered his last Angelus in St Peter’s square and when you live in Rome and a stones throw from the Vatican, these are the things you don’t want to miss – irrespective of your faith (or lack of!)
On that weekend, my friend and I had plans to visit Castel Sant Angelo which is in the remote distance of the Vatican. Upon remembering this was the very Sunday where thousands would pack out St Peter’s square I thought best avoid the area. No, no – my friend (the not avoiding type) suggested not only that we scratch Castel Sant Angelo but go to the Vatican instead!
And so on a crisp Sunday morning the two of us found ourselves walking down Via della Concilazione – the beautiful road which leads directly to St Peter’s – to brave the crowds.
On arriving we were plucked out of the crowd (can you blame them?) by German TV (ARD – 2nd largest broadcaster in the world after the BBC – no big deal!) asked to interview us on our reasons for attending the angelus. Despite my lack of interest, I put on a real show for them and to this day am searching day and night to get my hands on the footage!
We were on a real high after this and with the crowd building so did our excitement.
After being offered free Prosecco at a bar in the area (that’s how life in Rome rolls for 2 good looking girls!) we stood with the masses and watched as the outgoing Pope (Paparazzi as we like to call him!) delivered his last Angelus and saluted us.
Like I said, irrespective of whether you’re a believer or not, when you are standing among a sea of people on a day like this, you just feel the adrenalin and know that it’s something special and something you’ll remember forever.
On an absolute high we headed to Mamà in the Prati area for brunch / lunch. Now let’s face it, Rome (or Italy for that matter) is not a big breakfast or brunch, eggs-kinda place. That’s ok. (Even though sometimes it’s all you want on a Sunday morning.)
This place was ok and accommodating. The eggs were good – not fantastic, but good. I did however enjoy my tea and a pear strudel!
So a great day all round really!
Conclave will commence tomorrow at 16:30 and I will be out on the streets of Rome to find a spot with a view to see that smoke bellow from the dome (la cupola) of St Peter’s.
The Cardinals have a maximum of 3 days to deliver a conclusive result. Following which (in the event of a locked vote) there will be a day of rest.
Vatican spokespeople are adamant that the Catholic world will have a new Pope before Palm Sunday.
All will soon be revealed.
It’s on days like these you pinch yourself just to remind yourself that you live and breathe in Rome. Rome. Caput Mundi. Capital of the world. Rome.
Among many others, these are the days I will never forget.
Signing off from Trastevere