Friday, June 12, 2009

Top of the World

June 12, 2009

7:30 Jump out of bed into the shower.

8:15 leave the Candia with water but still without sunglasses.

We meet our professors at the Vittorio, or as the locals call it, the Wedding Cake, because it looks oddly like giant wedding cake... apparently. The professor from ND brought her 3 month old and husband on the trip this time too!

Our first stop was on a side green of the Vittorio. A grave dedicated to a man named Biblius. Here Sarah, the prof from ND, gave us a rundown on Latin and abbreviations and translated the inscription for us. Me, being the great Latin scholar that I am (feel free to laugh...), noticed some differences in the Latin on the inscription and what was learned in high school, Marjorie, originally from Florida and now a student from Northwestern and majoring in Classics, asked about the difference and Sarah explained it was an archaic spelling of the word "Causa."

After we went to the Forum of Caesar. The forum is down below the road we were standing on, as are many of the ruins because the land has been built up over many many ruins, which is why people keep finding more and more ruins. Apparently about 10 months ago they found some new ruins or graves in this location! Here we also saw the Curia, a place where the Senate met. The building is original, which just blows my mind. The height, the history, just everything. Near this building is a prison where Peter and Paul were imprisoned. So, not only does this trip satisfy my desire to study the Classics, but it has historical sights for my Religious Studies half as well. At this point I realized I couldn't have done anything more rewarding.

Finally the group reached our main destination: The Palatine Hill. At the foot was the Roman Forum. Temples, ancient roads, and monuments oh my! The original roads are now bumby and uneven, but 2000 years ago they were flat. Thinking that the Romans had such amazing engineering is ridiculous. On top of that they had a sewer system that has been in use up until about 20 years ago. How much of what we have now will still be used in 2000 years?!

Following climbing the hill we walked to the edge and looked down at the Circus Maximus. It was nice to start to get a feel for how close everything was and exactly where it was all in proximity to other places. I could also see the Colliseum from the hill. I wish I could put into words the experience of standing on a place where a palace was, where Augustus tried to connect himself to the divine lineage of Romulus, where so many people watched the Circus Maximus, where centuries of history happened, but unfortunately my vocabulary and my brain do not have the capacity to do so.

The tour ended here and the group headed down for some food. Amy, Lily and I broke away from the main group who went and ate at a nicer restaurant to find something cheaper. As we were walking down the street I picked up a pair of 5 Euro sunglasses and we saw a parade, or a protest, or a march of some sort by the communications department. After finding a place to sit and eat Lily and Amy had to go to Italian. I walked with them back, but we ended up getting completely lost. We didn't get lost exactly, we were just confused by the small alleys that weren't on the map. The heat and lack of sleep made us a bit irritable, but as soon as we realized that we calmed down and found our way to the classroom. I then headed back to the Candia on a bus by myself, grabbed some eggs, bread, jam, and soda.

Now I've posted pictures of Rome on Facebook and some of the girls are preparing a dinner for everyone!


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