This photo was taken in the Maps Hall of the Vatican Museum, during our long and winding road to the Sistine Chapel which was a real struggle. I, and a couple of friends, knew this the hard way. We thought booking tickets in advance will cut our journey through the labyrinth but no. I have been to the Louvre multiple times when I was based in Paris and there’s really no sense to sweep all the galleries of such type of gargantuan museums in one day so normally, your plan of attack would be to know which works of art you want to see, locate them, and then if you have time check out other interesting displays. The Louvre gives you the freedom to do this with its multiple entrances but the Vatican Museum does not really; the latter is more of a one-way street. Since we were not art connoisseurs of any sort, we just wanted to see the Sistine Chapel because, you know, conclaves, Michelangelo, history… hence, we just followed the signs and probably as early as the first gallery you encounter, there’s already an arrow pointing to the Sistine Chapel. You, thus, always feel like it is in the next room. But it’s not. We probably went through all the hallways in the museum, each with a stand pointing to the Sistine Chapel around every corner but each turn is a disappointment. Well, not really. The hallways, their ceilings, and the statues displayed in them are stunning on their own but it’s hard to take your time and enjoy them when you always feel like next door, the world famous chapel waits. Fast-forward to aching-feet-kilometers after, we have to squeeze our way into a narrow door that opens to a marketplace crowd – the type that would definitely make you shake of anxiety now that we are in a pandemic. The reverberations of murmurs of tourists (including us) trying to linger as much as we can to take it all in echo within the colorful walls, together with the occasional screams of “no photo” by exhibit guards in their loud and distinct Italian accents. It’s not that they can stop people from taking photos. Imagine wading into the sardine-packed crowd to catch someone who sneaks a photo only to miss another five taking your preoccupation as another opportunity to sneak in more photos. Not worth it. They really just have to make it sound scarier than it should. In the end, we probably only spent a couple of minutes in the chapel and it is literally the final destination before the exits. It was still a pleasant walkathon though. It is just a pity that we did not immerse ourselves into the other meaningful exhibits because we were too preoccupied to get to the main piece. This does goes to show that journey is the destination.