The Colosseum – and did you know there is a Pyramid in Rome?
Today marked the beginning of the seventh month of our Big Adventure. While we have grown used to our living space and our rhythms with each other, we are somewhat tired out from the constant changes presented by travel, learning new cultures and new languages. The kids routinely say, “Man when we’re back in the United States I can’t wait for….” This trip has made me appreciate routines in a way I never did before. My mother used to say she loved being bored. I didn’t understand it at the time but I think it meant no surprises and all-is-well. When we return I’m looking forward to creating routines without boredom – is that even possible?
Today was also the day we toured the Colosseum. Kay and I thought it was very impressive. Noah thought it was fantastic. Madison was bored to death by it. But it was one of those things we said she wasn’t going to miss. The lines to get in were incredibly long – probably a 2 hour wait. I knew I should have booked tickets online but the wifi where we are staying is not good at all so I didn’t get that taken care of. When you stand in line there are numerous tour hawkers walking up and down the line trying to convince you to come on tour with them. Kay struck up a conversation with Henry, a young man from Britain. They had an English-speaking tour beginning in about 15 minutes that cost 15 Euro + the cost of admission to the Colosseum (12 Euro for Kay and I, and free for the kids.) For once we decided to do the tour, we usually get the audio tour and wander around on our own. The tour turned out to not be great but skipping the line was probably worth the extra cost. The guide was interesting and told us things about the Colosseum we did not know but he also didn’t miss a chance to slam Americans (our group was a mix of English speakers; Australians, Brits, Indians, and Americans) His sense of humor kept making Noah angry. Noah doesn’t like anyone making fun of anyone and certainly not Americans.
What we did learn, I thought was very interesting. The Colosseum was built in about 8 years by 40,000 Jewish slaves and after it was completed the slaves had to walk back to Israel. The Colosseum is a combination of Greek and Roman construction styles – a first for combining the styles – they used both arches and columns to construct it. The floor of the arena no longer exists and you can see the underground chambers where they kept the animals. A significant amount of the Colosseum was destroyed by an earthquake and after the fall of the Roman Empire when Rome was no longer a strong state to be reckoned with, the church started pilfering materials from the Colosseum and other buildings. Our guide told us that the church took care of the churches in Rome and let all the other buildings deteriorate. From looking around Rome that appears to be true but I won’t swear by it. The size of the Colosseum is enough to make you go WOW!
On this day out we also snuck in a quick trip to the Pyramid. Yes, I said Pyramid. We read about one in Rome and had to go find it. Our original itinerary had us touring northern Africa because we especially wanted to see the Pyramids. But with the conflicts of the past 18 months we knew we weren’t go to make it to Egypt on this trip. So… the Rome Pyramid was built in the first century when the Egyptian style was all the rage through Europe. Some king here wanted to be buried in a Pyramid so he had it built for himself. It was later incorporated into the city wall and there it stands about 36 meters high. It is undergoing reconstruction right now so we didn’t get a great view of it but hey! we saw the Pyramid.
All of the walking we have been doing gets rewarded with sampling foods and drinks. We are thoroughly enjoying the pasta, the sauces, the cheeses, the olive oils, the wine, the cappuccinos, the paninis, and the prosciuttos as we explore Rome. We’ve got our taste buds set to try cariciofi alle giudia (deep-fried artichoke) from the Jewish Ghetto when Kay and I go out without the kids. And each night at our campground there continues to be music and games and now people come to tour our grande American camper! The people are incredibly friendly and tonight they brought us a plate of sweets. We are loving Rome!