Thursday, June 24, 2004
Rocks, hills and cold water
Buonna sera. It's almost dinner and this is my first chance to write. We actually got to sleep in today if we were willing to skip breakfast, and since there is a pastisseria (bakery) about one block away, I slept in, got a great Italian croissant for .60 euro and then went to the 930 lecture on the Roman Forum. After the hour lecture we caught the public bus (crowded, stinky...) to the Forum and looked at the area of the Comitium (where the Roman people voted) and the area of the original Senate House. Then we walked over the Capitoline hill (2) (more hills!!! this whole town is hills!!!) to peek at one of the five or so stones that is left of the great Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Then we got special permission (I just love that!) to view the ruins of the Temple of Fortuna which is on the site of the Christian church, San Omobono. To sum up, we went across town to look at some pavement (the Comitium), some nothing (the Senate House no longer exists, not even in remains), one rock of the Jupiter temple and a bunch of rocks on the lawn of a church (the Temple of Fortuna). No wonder everyone thinks classicists are crazy!!! I'm starting to think I'm crazy too!!! But you have to imagine how it was back then (6th century B.C.)...especially the Jupiter temple, which was the largest temple in all of Italy that faced the Tiber River so basically anyone coming down the river would have to have been in awe of the temple as well as the people who built it, and that, I'm sure, was precisely the point. We had the afternoon off until 5 and a group of us found a good restaurant in Trastevere which is the general neighborhood where we live, but it's actually quite a far, uphill walk to get 'home' (one staircase had about 100 stairs, so you felt like Rocky at the end). I had lasagne and it was good. Then I decided an adventure was in order, but I didn't want to go far for obvious reasons, so I went to the supermercado (grocery store). That's always an experience, but I don't have one particular anecdote. I guess you had to be there. We had a 5:00 lecture that was pretty interesting, on how the early Romans conquered all of Italy (they actually conquered the various tribes who were part of the Latin League) and soon, dinner. We're all starving and hot and tired all the time! The first day I had the nicest hot shower and it was awesome and filled me with such optimism for showers to come. Unfortunately that was also my last experience with hot water and I'm starting to get a bit annoyed by that. Ahhh the joys of living in Italy. At least the Centro toilets have seats and paper!!! Ciao!!!