Europe Day 11

We’re on to day 11, with more journals, and more pictures for you to check out. Day 10 was a great day. We headed off to the ancient section of Rome, saw the Colloseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill. We headed back and met Bill, and had ourselves a fine dinner with him. This was one of my favorite days of the trip, and certainly one of the things I was most looking forward to. I’m tempted to send a picture or two to my High School Latin teacher (“Salve, Magistra Swart”). Anyway, enjoy:

Day 11

We just got back form touring the ruins of Ancient Rome. It was spectacular.. the Colosseum was amazing.. Pretty much what I expected. It’s huge, it’s round, and it looks pretty much like a modern day stadium, only it’s made of stone. We Walked around it for a while, then waited in line to get on in. Once inside, it’s more impressive. again, it looks and feels just like a modern sports stadium, only it’s made of stone. I took many pictures. We prolly hung out there near an hour, then went out to grab some food and get some more money. The food places right near the Colosseum were hella expensive, but a few blocks away was a bit more reasonable.. We had sandwiches..On the walk back to the Roman forum, I swung in a small shop and got a liter and a half of Fanta (cold) for 2 Euros.. by far the best price I’ve found yet. (I’m/We’re all quite addicted to Fanta at this point.)On the way back, Maryrose haggled some guy from 40 Euros down to 17 euros for 3 bracelets and a headdress. It was impressive (both to me, and some random elderly English dude who complimented her when the seller guy had left. Okay, back to the roman forum, and as we entered, Some guy mentioned that there was a free tour going on in the next couple minutes, so we hitched on to that, and it was EXCELLENT. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed it. I spent 4 years of high School taking Latin, and during those 4 years (and additional high school and college level history and Mythology classes) talking about Ancient Rome, and this short tour brought all of those pieces together perfectly. We started at the Arch of Titus, an arch to celebrate the return of Titus after defeating the Jews in Jerusalem, destroying the temple, plundering all the Jewish treasures, and taking back the Jews as slaves. th restoration of the arch was funded by the Roman Catholic church, which caused some problems apparently, (and I guess understandably) So yeah, the victorious army and captured slaves would walk down the road through the Forum,an under this arch… they have it chained off now, as walking underneath is seen as a celebration of what it stands for (the destruction of the Jewish people, leading to the diaspora, and apparently the last person to purposefully and legally walk under it was Adolf Hitler.

Another story our tour-guide, (this really friendly lady with a gorgeous English accent) was about the martyr of Saint Lawrence.. He was a deacon of the church, and as the church became more wealthy, he got put in charge of dispersing more an more money from the church to the poor people of Rome. The emperor found out about it, and demanded that he show up with the riches so the emperor could get a cut… Lawrence shows up with hundreds of the poor people of Rome, all begging for money. the emperor is all “what the hell?” and Lawrence said “these are the riches, for the meek shall inherit the earth.” So the emperor ordered him barbecued alive at that spot. For hours he cooked there, saying nothing but the praises of God. Finally the emperor goes up to him with a knife and says “is there any last thing you want to say?” and Lawrence says “yeah, You’d better flip me over, cause I think I’m done on this side.”.. they flipped him over and he died soon afterwards.

We swung by the temple to Julius Caesar, of which there is little left (the church wrecked most of the temples, especially ones to “the other J.C.”, but apparently people still bring flowers to his grave (there were some there today) and on the ides of March (when he was killed) the whole area is covered with flowers brought for him.

There were other stories told, many about emperors, and how they were messed up, or did all sorts of work to try to outdo each other, or make it appear as though their rivals never existed. One of the Arches’ attics was used as a barber shop for a while, back in the day.. I found that funny. we also saw the jail where they held Saint Peter (and perhaps Paul) when, which was very kewl. After the roman forum, we saw David, our friend from Nice, then took off for the Palatine hill. Looked around there for a while (the foundations of the old emperors’ houses),headed back to the subway, took that back to the station then walked back to the hotel. Now we’re chillin

We’ve been doing pretty good at packing 2 or 3 days worth of stuff into one day.

When last I wrote ,we had returned from ancient and were just hanging out here. We decided to play some cards outside at this little cafe right outside out hotel. We played for a little while, and talked, etc.. and then it looked like it was going to rain, so one of the restaurant workers started moving the outside tables nearer to the building. when he did that we all had to stand up… when we stood up, this guy who looked to be about our age [but reading the cont of Monte Cristo in French, so we assumed .. or at least I assumed him to be French. turned to us and said “did I hear you guys mention Calvin college? I had mentioned Calvin in a story I had told. We got to talking.. Turns out his name is Bill, he grew up in Grand Rapids, went to Oral Roberts University majoring in French and Missions, and is current spending 6 weeks in Rome as part of a missions training thing, learning to experience a different culture, etc.. he turned out to be a really kewl guy.. so we invited him to play cards with us,and he joined our table. we played ‘The Card Game’ for quite some time, then we all headed off to dinner (Bill knew a good place down the street.). and had a great meal.. spaghetti, Veal, red wine, bread, teramisu, etc.. It was really,really good. we hung out there for a few hours, telling Bill about our trip thus far, and him telling us places in Rome we ought to see, and how things for him have been going,etc. Like I said, he turned out to be a really kewl guy. At the end of the evening we invited him to join us on our tour of the Vatican the next day, and he said he would meet up with us the next morning at the terminal.. We headed back to the hotel, and went to sleep soon afterwards.

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