Entry 3: Roman Coliseum
Throughout class we have discussed how love can grow within the circumstances of war, death, and destruction. After our first travel break all of the things that create this feeling of love in death and destruction became so much more real to me. Being able to see things such as the Coliseum in Rome or the road the Romans built that we saw in Anghiari helped me to really understand their feelings of love toward war. Also while heading towards the Coliseum in a cab our driver gave us a quick explanation and description of the sights we were passing as well as the history of Italy. Since I was able to infer my own feelings and experiences at these places I reached a clearer understanding of the ways in which the Romans thought.
Although the Coliseum is not structurally the same today as it was during the time it was used you can still see the beauty and complexity of its structure. Walking in and looking at all of the layers of stone I was amazed at how advanced the architecture was for its time. Not only was the architecture amazing, I was impressed that even without the technology we have now they were able to build something so large and sturdy; and that it could still be standing today.
While walking around the Coliseum I began thinking of our first essay prompt about men finding love in war, especially Romans. This large structure reaffirmed my beliefs that Romans definitely loved war, death, and destruction. I drew this conclusion based off the fact that the Roman peoples spent so much time on a building that’s sole purpose is to serve as an arena of death. Thousands of Romans would come together and gleefully cheer on a man or beast whose only goal was to defeat his opponent by killing him. Although I knew this was the purpose of the Coliseum before actually going to visit it I still found this premise to be so strange. Today if thousands of people watched men fight till the death we would see it as insanity. However, thousands of years ago it was not only accepted, but celebrated. This also answers the question of the essay prompt, is it possible for women to love war as much as men.
Concerning the Romans I can only draw the conclusion that yes of course, because at this time watching these battles in the Coliseum was not just for men but also women and children.
On one of my travel breaks I watched the movie Gladiator in my hotel room and was able to see a depiction on what the actual Coliseum looked like in all of its glory. Watching the movie I couldn’t stop thinking about how I had been there and walked around the same Coliseum all of those people walked in. I began wondering if I would have been as excited as they were about watching someone be brutally murdered by either another man or a beast. Also it was interesting to see what the inside looked like when it was in its original form; also in the movie we were able to see where the royal family and emperor sat during the fighting because the whole time we were there we began picturing where everything originally was.
Also now a lot of the original gladiator chambers have fallen down so being able to see what underneath the Coliseum floor was interesting, because the whole time we were standing there about it we were guessing what it must have looked like and felt like to be down there waiting to meet your fate above you.
Entry 2: Travel Break2
This morning we left for the Amalfi coast after we were finally released from class. I am so ready for this travel break it is going to be the perfect time to relax and not worry about anything, un like our last break which as filled with sightseeing and walking everywhere! We took an express train from Rome to Naples which was really nice I felt like I was in the first class on an airplane. Once we got to Naples we had to take the subway (circum de vesuviano) which we started off being extremely nervous about since the music girls had previously told us all of these horror stories about it. However, once we were on it was not much worse than a New York City subway; probably more crowded but that was really the only difference. After a very long, hot, annoying, and very cramped ride we finally arrived in St. Agnello where our hostel was located (which is a very small town about 15 minute walk outside of Sorrento). We were excited about our hostel because the music girls assured us it was clean plus it was cheaper than anywhere else we have stayed so far. This excited Caitlan because she was really scarred from our experience in Rome. When we finally arrived there we were shocked, the hostel was amazing, it was nicer than a lot of hotels I have stayed in, even in America. We had started getting kind of nervous during the walk there because it didn’t seem like it was in the nicest part of town.
Our hostel was modern and sleek and when we arrived we saw that it had a roof top bar so we quickly put our stuff down and went to go get a drink. Luckily for us we arrived during happy hour which is at 5:30 to 8:30 an idea I think we Americans should adopt. After we all ordered our drinks I began looking around me and realized that on one side I could see perfect Blue Ocean for miles and on the other side was beautiful mountains spotted with houses on the sides of them; it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. After our pina coladas we went and had dinner down stairs and I ordered the gnocchi pomodoro, sadly it was not nearly as good as the gnocchi I usually get in Sansepolcro at our favorite restaurant Enotecca Berghi.
On the second day of our trip we decided to book a boat tour to the Island of Capri, the boat would also take us to other places on the way such as the green grotto and the blue grotto. We were so excited because we thought it was just going to be the five of us going on this awesome adventure; however it didn’t really turn out that way. Once we got to the pier the boat driver and tour guide told us we were waiting on six other people who would be joining us. I was kind of disappointed about this because I did not want to be stuck on a boat all day with six people I didn’t know, but it ended up being one of the best experiences in my life so far.
We ended up becoming really close with everyone on our boat; there was a couple Mike and Elisabeth from Canada, two girls who were friends here for a bachelorette party from Australia and two friends Ian and Jacqueline from California. Our tour guide Enrico took us to the green grottos first and we stopped and all jumped and swam through the grotto to the other side, sadly on the way through Brittany Jones and Ian were stung by a jellyfish. Brittany J got stung pretty bad in three places on her leg and Ian just got stung once on his arm. After swimming in the grotto we got back onto the boat and had lunch, we had caprese Panini’s which is probably the best Panini I have had the whole time I have been here; it could have been because I was on a boat having the time of my life but at this point I am not really sure. Once we arrived in Capri I did not want to get off the boat I was having too much fun relaxing, getting sun, and feeling the wind whip past us. We were on our own on the island of Capri for 4 hours and the time seemed to drag on forever. On the island of Capri we were so exhausted I guess from the sun and we went to the beach and I fell asleep for almost two hours.
Once we got back to the dock and looked at how sturdy it was built I realized Italians have I have this theory about work: it doesn’t matter about the quality of the work you do as long as it gets done. Many of the planks on the dock were barely attached and some were securely attached, I swear I felt like I was about to fall into the water with almost every step I took. Once we were back at the hostel we had dinner and then went up to the roof top for drinks, we met some of our group from earlier that day up there but also met a lot of new people. We met many Australians, I guess Italy is a popular tourist place for Australians (found the love of my life up there, gorgeous aussie who worked as a rep for Ben and Jerry’s, perfect way to my/ every women’s heart; gorgeous accent and works for an ice cream company).
On our last day we visited Pompeii which was really interesting but not nearly as cool as I had expected it to be. It was really interesting to see how the archaeologists had been able to preserve a town that had totally be annihilated by lava; also we were able to see this area that a lot of artifacts such has vases, pottery, and also people and a dog that had tried but obviously failed to try and protect themselves from the lava. We learned that Pompeii was a town that was well known for its olive oil and wine before it was destroyed that’s why there had been so many vases found because this is what they stored oil and wine in; I learned this by listening in to one of the tourist groups.
For our last dinner we had decided to go out for dinner instead of eating at the hostel like we had on the previous nights because we heard a lot of people had gotten food poisoning the night before from the food. We decided to walk about 10 minutes toward Sorrento to eat at this restaurant on overlooking the water, which Caitlan and Brittany J had visited earlier that day while Kathleen, Brittany A, and I had been in Pompeii. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever eaten, sitting there watching the sunset over some of the bluest water I have ever seen was so stunning. Everything about our second travel break was amazing, from the people to the food to the views, nothing could have ruined my blissful mood.
Entry 1: Travel Break 1
Today we left for Rome to which is where we chose for our first travel break and I could not be more ready to see something other than Sansepolcro. Once we were at the train station in Arezzo we boarded what we thought was the train to Rome, however it was a train to Chiusi; we were so excited to get to Rome we didn’t pay attention to the fact we were boarding the wrong train. Sadly we didn’t realize this until 30 minutes into the train ride, which by then was too late to do anything about. Luckily Chiusi is not really out of the way to Rome and we were able to catch a train that was leaving in about 40 minutes. Once we finally got on the right train we had to sit there for about 40 more minutes until we realized that everyone on our train was getting off and getting on to another train. During the time we were waiting for the train to leave the station this really sketchy guy was staring at us the whole time and winking continuously even though we told him to stop. Because we didn’t know that the train we were sitting on was in fact not leaving the station we almost missed the train everyone was transferring too.
We finally arrived after what felt like a lifetime of traveling. We decided to hail a cab to get to our hotel in which I thought I might die because our driver hit about 60 kms on an extremely busy road, and although we were all scared for our lives he was extremely efficient. When we checked into the lobby the hotel seemed really nice but once we got to our room it was disgusting (so disgusting that that night Caitlan Mae Tart slept on her dress on top of the sheets)! Although our hotel was disgusting it was really close to the Coliseum which is why I guess they feel they can charge what they do to stay there. We decided to go ahead and see the Coliseum because we had gotten there so late and we only had one more day in Rome left and didn’t know if we would be able to fit everything in one day. Once we got there we walked around the outside and took a lot pictures and even found a man dressed up as Julius Caesar. At first he seemed really nice because he offered to take a bunch of pictures with each of us, but once we began to walk away he told us to give him 10 euro and at first we were stunned and confused and then we realized we should have known better; we argued and told him no and then he simply stated that “it was his job”. I finally gave him money so he would shut up and leave us alone because he was beginning to ruin my good mood that I finally had achieved that day.
The next day we woke up at 7:00 am so that we could beat the lines at the Vatican City, we got there around 9:00 because it took us forever to figure out where to buy a bus ticket to get to the Vatican. We first walked up to the Cupola which is above St. Peters Basilica and looked down on all of Rome, which was breathtaking. Although it was breathtaking the stairs to get up there were ridiculous; they were spiraled and never ending, needless to say my legs were burning like crazy and shaking after that. Once inside St. Peters we saw Peters tomb and I got to touch his statues feet. After St.Peters we walked over to the Muesei Vaticani which is where the Sistine Chapel and other art exhibits are. Once we were finally able to get in there it was so beautiful, probably the most amazing thing I have seen in my life; I was constantly fighting back tears because it was so beautiful. My favorite panel in the Sistine Chapel was the one of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, I have heard the story of Adam and Eve since I was child but seeing how Michelangelo painted was so breathtaking. We sat there and took it in for about 40 minutes and snuck in a few pictures even though it is forbidden (like the fruit) we were so tempted to do it. After a very packed morning of sightseeing we stopped for lunch where we preceded to be harassed by our waiter which was a fun time, especially for Caitlan. After a short break we continued on our tourist excursion and saw the Spanish steps which we were beautiful and had a really cool fountain of a sinking gondola at the bottom of them. From there we walked to the Trevi fountain which was so amazingly beautiful we all took turns throwing coins into the fountain; after we headed to the Pantheon which was really cool, there is a huge opening in the ceiling and in case of rain there is a drain in the floor directly underneath the opening which was smart engineering on the Romans part. We decided to take a cab back to the Coliseum because the day before we were not able to go inside. Our experience with the cab driver in Rome was very eye opening as well, because it offered a different and somewhat inside view to how Romans label themselves even today. He explained to us how if both your mother and father are from Rome you are not just Roman you are Roma Romano not just Romano. Once we were there I couldn’t believe I was actually there it was so amazing and huge! I just could not believe that people over 1500 years ago could build something that large and that something that old could still be standing. I was so amazed to be touching and walking on something that thousands of people had touched and walked on over 1500 years ago.
The next morning we traveled to Florence and stayed in a much nicer hotel and we were able to see things that we missed during the day trip to Florence such as David by Michelangelo located in the Accademia. David took my breath away he was so much bigger than I ever imagined. Also all of the technology they had monitoring the sculpture in case of any movement that might affect the structure was crazy.