Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Helvetians

Because, daft Protestants that we are, Swiss Mr. and I were unable to locate Pope Benedict during his Sunday noon blessing on St. Peter's Square, we had to watch his address on the jumbotron outside the Basilica with girls in short shorts. Had a few things been different, it could have been the final scene from a romantic comedy. I hear your voice, I see you on the screen, where are you, XVI? It's noon and I'm here but you will never know I came like you asked. You will go back into your papal residence and I will get on my discount airline and we shall never know what could have been between us. Vale in aeternam, my love.

As it turned out, we had neither romance nor comedy nor blessing. We might as well have been watching CTV at home. And this may have been better because we would have heard more than mrhmpf hurnf blerb grazie. So we missed the Pope but had plenty of time to unblessedly gawk at his colorful guards. They don't seem very Ticinesi, as I sort of assumed they might be, but it was still nice to see some fellow compatriots. They chat photogenically.

"The Helvetians are a people of warriors, famous for the valor of their soldiers." –Tacitus

In case you couldn't put your finger on it, "the colors which make the uniform so attractive are the traditional Medici blue, red and yellow, set off nicely by the white of the collar and gloves. The blue and yellow bands give a sense of lightness as they move over the red doublet and breeches" (The Vatican). And in case you were thinking these colors look really nice on you, here are the criteria for joining the Guardia Svizzera Pontificia:

They're apparently considering to allow women into the Guard. First Swiss Guard then the Camerlengo, I know it: the Helvetians are going to bust the Vatican wide open.

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