We were in and out of this place very quickly. It was all very weird to watch crowds of selfie stick gangs and pilgrims line up to pay money to go into religious sites and buildings.
The long queues, cashier booths, metal detectors, trailer post office and unofficial tour guides made it hard to view this independent sovereign state as the centre of the Catholic Church. Its historical and religious significance, impact and power, as depicted in our textbooks and the media, were sadly masked by its alternative image as a tourist attraction.
I assume that depending on which time of the year you visit will result in a completely different experience.