Friday, November 07, 2008
Well, it was certainly a weird day. Didn't manage to get a lot of work done, and ended up marching around all over Rome in my uncomfortable Important Grownup shoes, but did eventually see the Holy Father. We were all herded back and forth on the Via Conciliazione for a while, then we got marched in slow stages in a big herd up the Colonnade, through the metal detectors and up a lot of beautiful marble staircases...and then more beautiful marble staircases...and then a few more beautiful marble staircases [after a while, one began to realise that there is a very good reason to make the stone steps quite short and broad] across a kind of inner piazza that is about five tall stories up, then quite a few more beautiful marble stairs.
Then into this gorgeous room, where we all sat like kids in an assembly waiting for the principal. We shuffled, and squirmed a bit. There were a few moments where a real hush fell and there was nothing but the sound of clicking and whirring cameras while everyone took pictures of the frescos...and each other...and more frescoes...
Quite a few Impressive Clergymen scampered about, soutanes and red cinctures flapping. There were a few very smartly dressed gentlemen in what looked like plum coloured frock coats...
then the big doors opened, and the Pope walked quite briskly into the room. The sound of three hundred people standing up is quite loud and by the time it had subsided, he was seated in the white plush chair, in front of the big gold marble keys.
And I was in the same room as the Vicar of Christ.
It was weird.
He heard someone give a talk, then he gave one himself, then the important people (alas, not self) got to go up for a little ring-kissing, then he blessed us all in Latin, and strolled out again.
The whole occasion, however, managed to take up most of the day, from ten thirty am to nearly two thirty.
And at the moment we sat down, and I started trying to take pictures of the frescoes myself, my camera chose that most inauspicious moment to die. And it was the same moment that I remembered that I had left my mantilla in the sacristy of S. Trinita the night before and would have to meet the Pope bare-headed. Sooooo embarrassing. Fortunately, the crowd was too big, so only the people up front got to greet. So it wasn't quite the faux pas of a lifetime.
I hope a get another chance.
Thanks to Anthony who was sitting beside me, for the pics, of which there will be more later. Got to do the work now that I couldn't do today.