Published: February 13th 2008February 6th 2008
Heather in the Roman Forum
I forget the importance of these three colums at the moment but they were just one of the many, many remains from the Roman Forum, the center of the European empire for much longer than the US has been a country.
Hey everyone -
Quick note from Rome. We haven't found an internet site that will support our camera so as the guards in the Sistine Chapel say "No Photo!!!". [okay, we held off posting the note till we could add photos]
We have had a great time here. We got in exhausted and found our little bed and breakfast (minus the breakfast) a short walk from the train termini. The place is great and only a 5 minute walk to the Coliseum (Thanks Tad and Liz for the recommendation). What Tad and Liz failed to mention was the Disco-Tech below the room. With ear plugs and a little good humor it was just fine....and the location next to the Coliseum and Roman Forum more than make up for a few merry Italians skippin' the light fandango. We were going to have our own disco jam upstairs but unfortunately I am even worse at Disco than the electric slide and we called it off rather than chancing a dislocated hip so early in our trip.
Rome is such a busy city. Especially the heart of the tourist district. I can't imagine what this place is like in the busy
Heather in a Piazza
Forget the Piazza's name but I'm pretty the girl's name is Heather.
season. We are constantly amazed at the number of motor scooters and eincy-weincy cars....its a far cry from the Hummers, Escapades, GMC Denali, and other small busses of the US. But I'd rather be side swiped by a hummer than one of these little scooters, which almost seemed immanent at each cross walk and sometimes on the sidewalk, too. These little scooters are so quick. We found it almost comical to see a traffic bogged ambulance crawling along while the scooters just zipped past on the curb and all but drowned out the sirens with their high-pitched screaming engines. I imagine combining the roaming packs of car chasing, homeless dogs from S. America with the scooter infested streets of Rome. It'd probably be a better show than the ancient Coliseum Gladiators with a dog or two hanging off each speeding scooter.
We did a lot of walking and exploring, found a great home-style pizzaria off the main streets, and (finally) found a pair of leather boots in Heather's size. They are very cute on her and it's a shame we'll have to send them on to San Diego to pick up at the trip's end. I'm sure they'll also
Ben & Heather with umbrella pine in background
We had a great picnic and wondered around all the ruins of ancient Rome.
look cute on Heidi and she can put them to good use in California.
It really was a great spot and we appreciate all the tips and advice from our Friends Tad and Liz who visited last summer. Yes, Liz, we did go to a couple museums and yes, we were absolutely blown away by the Borghese Gallery. The immensity of the Vatican Museum was, in a word, "Extravagant". Every detail was amazing. The Sistine Chapel was everything my mom said it'd be, including "indescribable". But it was Bernini's Apollo and Daphne
that took Heather's breath away and I was equally amazed at Bernini's The Rape of Proserpine
. There was also Antonio Canova's Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victoria
but we'll skip the link on this one to keep the site PG-13. Its amazing what can be done with marble. And speaking of marble, the 2nd most amazing think of the Vatican City, next to the Sistine Chapel, was the marble floor of St. Peter's Basilica. I believe most of the marble was "harvested" from the ancient Greek temples but what a floor. I would never have believed marble could be so varied or
The 3rd most amazing sight in the Vatican City (for us anyway) was the statue Laocoön
(see photo on this page) in which the Trojan Priest Laocoön and sons are being strangled by sea serpents after warning to "beware Greeks bearing gifts" (remember the Trojan Horse?). The gods didn't like that so much because they were rooting for the Greeks so sent the serpents to attack Laocoön. Now if the gods had really been angry they'd have sent a herd of European Motor Scooters to torment Laocoön and sons, forever preventing them from crossing the road, stuck like proverbial chickens for eternity.
It is amazing to walk the Roman Forum and consider that it was the center of the European Empire for so long. Then to consider how many have walked the same cobblestone steps that we walk that day. I know it includes my Mom, Heather's Grandma, My Aunt Linda, Our Friends Tad & Liz (last summer), and so many others, not to mention Ceasar and how many countless other relatives, friends, and central figures of history over the last several thousand years. It is certainly impressive.
Another impression walking the ruins of Acient Rome
The Colosseum was so massive its hard to imagine even building it with modern equipment.
is the transience of earthly glory. The two poems of OZYMANDIAS sum up the ultimate humility of humanity....
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away. Percy Shelly
In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
"The wonders of my hand." The City's gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours,
when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place. Horace Smith
To think we can build Pyrmaids, Cathedrals, and Sky Scrapers but cannot change the color of one hair on our head.....but also that in our weakness we can do all things through Christ Jesus, our strength.
Okay, enough heavy stuff. This trip has been both humbling and triumphant, revelationary and mundane, sincere and goofy. But knowing us it has been mostly goofy : )
Thanks for sharing in our trip.
Postscript....Heather had developed a loud squeek in both shoes and I have a squeek in my right, a bit louder and a few notes higher in pitch. We sound like Bozo the clown and trusty sidekick on a walking tour through Italy.
There are more photos below