Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Trip to Rome -- Day 3

Today (Saturday) we took the metro out to Ostia Antica. It is about 20 miles west of Rome, towards the coast. It is an ancient port city at the mouth of the Tiber River with really neat ruins to explore--quite amazing. In one part what looked like a bench is actually what was the communal toilet--they sat cheek to cheek and did their business! So of course I had to go sit on it for a picture. I’d say any trip to Rome should include Ostia Antica as there are a ton of ruins there and gives a picture a little different from the monumental ruins of Rome. Ostia ruins are of a more ordinary nature than those of the Caesars. We ate lunch at the cafeteria there and had what was surprisingly a very good lunch; chicken and roasted red peppers with zucchini and carrots and pasta with veggies. Finally some veggies!

When we had first gotten on to the metro we weren’t sure if it was the right one and it was ready to go. Sara asked some people on it which way it was going and it was going our way. So she got on but as I was stepping in the doors started closing, so I thought, it will just open back up since I’m in the doorway, just like elevator doors. But they didn’t budge so I got squished. So while we were on the subway we got a picture of their warning symbol: a man getting stuck in the doors.

On our way back to Rome we stopped at the third of the four patriarchal basilicas: San Paolo (St. Paul’s). It is huge like the others, but much more open. This is the basilica with the pictures of all the popes around the walls up toward the ceiling. And only a few empty spots left! I think about eight if I recall. Evidently, once they all get filled in Christ is coming back. This was my favorite church. We both really liked the huge statues of the apostles at Giovanni, but there was just something about Paolo that I really liked (and not just that it’s St. Paul). This is the only patriarchal basilica outside of Rome/Vatican city.

Back in Rome we went to the Pantheon. What an amazing building. They have converted it to a basilica. They were having Mass at 5 p.m. and a German College Choir at 6 p.m. It was about 4 p.m. so we headed to Piazza Novana (a place to hang out and people watch) and then Campo de fiori (a large outdoor market place and lots of flower stands). The fresh food was already closed down for the day. We’ll go back Monday morning. Anyway, since it was now 4:45 p.m., we decided to grab a sandwich from a vendor (with extra tomatoes) and head back to our room to drop stuff off and go to the bathroom (the only ones around are in a few restaurants and a few major attractions). Then we would head back for the choir at the Pantheon at 6 p.m. Well, due to geographical map reading errors, we did not get back to our room until 5:48--just over one hour of fast, uphill walking. We were wiped out but we quickly ate our sandwich (very good) and headed back to the Pantheon and arrived in about 20 minutes. The choir was already over, but oh well.

In a way, I think the Pantheon is the neatest (maybe the most impressive) thing to see in Rome because it is so well preserved. And it’s just amazing to look up at that dome and think about how they built it. But the thing I am most amazed with with this city is the churches. There are so many. And there are so many that are so big! And there can be three or four huge churches within just a few blocks of each other. It’s just an amazing place.

We finished looking around the Pantheon and then to another church to observe a mass. We heard the organ and sat through the beginning with the priest walking around the table in front of the altar. When the liturgy started we couldn’t find the page to follow and Sara was really tired and tonight is Europe’s day light savings time so we lose an hour tonight… so we left and headed back home. Our legs are happy to be sitting down--we walked many miles today, but all worth it.


David Contra Mundum said...

Hahahaha..."public" restrooms, being squished by a door...only 8 more popes (I'm praying the Ave Maria as I type, lol) until the Lord returns!!! Where are the pics, dude? Gotsta see some pics.

rev.will said...

What? My vivid descriptions aren't good enough for you? Can't you see every detail in your mind from my writing? ;-)

I'll try to post some pics.