I had a free day in between meetings since Wednesday was a holiday in Rome. I think it is a holiday unique to Rome because it is home to the Vatican. It was the Feast of the Immaculata which is better know as the feast of the immaculate conception.
We took advantage of our day off to do some sightseeing. The first stop were the Spanish Steps. As we descended down to the plaza, we saw the streets were were fenced off and people were waiting behind the barricades.
We found out what was happening and also found a spot to hang out until the event started. After waiting for an hour and a half on the cold, rainy and hard marble steps, our tenacity finally paid off.
Pope Benedict was passing through the plaza on his way to perform a blessing associated with the holiday. Prior to passing through the plaza, his voice floated over the entire city as he prayed the rosary. It was unusual to see how calm and quiet such a large crowd could be. The air was filled with jubilation as he neared in his pope-mobile. Everyone was genuinely happy to see him. There were no protesters or hecklers in the crowd; just locals wanting to receive their blessing and tourists interested in seeing the celebrity.
I was so happy that I decided to lug my camera around that day. Unhappy that I got a picture of this right when Pope Benedict waved specifically at me.