Monday, July 14, 2008

In the City, the hot, hot city

So, after we went to Capri last week, we had a short session on Friday, then the rest of the day free. I didn't really do much, just some laundry and packing. I picked up a couple of souvenirs for the boys too. Slow day. Honestly, I was wicked bored. I wish I'd gone out somewhere to do SOMETHING. A lot of the group went to the beach in Sorrento, but I'd just gone the day before. And nobody asked me. You know how I hate to invite myself along anywhere.

So Saturday was another traveling day. We left Pompeii, then went to Formiae, where Cicero's tomb is located. In case you don't know, Cicero was a Roman orator. He was a "new man", meaning his family didn't have old money. He'd kind of started at the bottom and worked his way up. He was also a consul (like a co-president) at one point. Mostly, though, he advocated for people. Lots of his speeches survive, they were just that good! He's not my favorite Roman author, too long-winded for me. He does get grammar and style points, however.

Then, after lunch, which was amazing!, we went to Arpinum. This is Cicero's hometown. We got to go to the piazza, where there is a statue of Cicero. There is also some Roman road that is being excavated. And busts of Gaius Marius and Agrippa. You can look them up if you want. Both were important in Roman times.

Finally, we arrived in Rome. Now, I've been here a few times. The last one less than 4 weeks ago! But we're staying in a different kind of hotel. It's actually a monastery, I think. I know that there is a huge chapel, and people they call "brothers." You figure it out. Basically, you walk in, and there are concrete walls and a gate. It's a bit intimidating. To some people. You know that kind of stuff doesn't bother me!

Yesterday, we had yet another free day! It seems like that's all we do, but I promise that when we tour, we go HARD!

Anyway, I went with some buddies around the city. We started at the Capitoline Museum, which is totally cool. I hadn't been there since college. There are tons of statues and busts (the head and shoulders) of gods, goddesses, and famous ancients. I got a couple of shots of Sophocles and Homer. I hope they come out.

Next, it was off to eat some lunch! Then to the Piazza Navona. There's a really cool fountain there: Four Rivers. However, it has been under construction for like 2 years now. I don't know what they're doing, but they need to finish! You can't see the fountain hardly at all, just the obelisk sticking out of the top. (An obelisk is a tall, skinny thing. Like the Washington Monument. Only these are much smaller.)

Then we walked around to the Pantheon. The over to the Area Sacra. That was cool. They've found these 4 temples which date from the 4th century BC. They've also uncoverd Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus' portico (porch), where Julius Caesar was supposedly stabbed on March 15, 44 BC. Cool, huh?

Then we walked over to the Tiber river, and crossed some bridges. We also went onto the Isola Tivertina (Tiber Island) which is where the Romans used to have a hospital. Good idea, since it's surrounded by water. Keeps the diseases from escaping!

Then it was down to the Circus Maximus. You can't actually see much of the structure anymore, only a tiny corner of it is visible. But there is a dirt track there, which kind of follows the original course. The Circus was used for horse racing in ancient times. It's like NASCAR, but with horses instead. I'd never actually walked on the track before, so that was really cool! I even took a picture of my feet on the Circus. So cool!!!! And yes, that makes me a big nerd, but I'm okay with that.

That was the end of our day. We took the Metro back to the hotel/prison, and settled down for the night.

Hands hurt now. Will update more later. And perhaps add some pictures.

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