Thursday, July 12, 2012

rome post: very glad(iator) to meet you, colosseum.

rome.
if i could describe rome in one word, just a single word, it would be...
HOT.
i really wish i could describe to you how hot rome actually is. there were
times we were walking around & i just wanted to plop my ever-lovin'
caboose down in the ruins of the temple of saturn & just give up on life 
right then & there because it was SO HOT. i'm not sure we were 100%
prepared for the heat of rome - i know i sure wasn't. in paris, you can
definitely do the whole breezy, chic, parisienne look & not break a
sweat. the weather somewhat agrees with one in paris. but rome? by
the time we got to rome,  i pretty much had to give up on looking decent,
clothes-wise, in any sort of way & just go into complete survival mode.
i get the togas now. i TOTALLY GET the togas now.

i could go on & on. but how about i just let you see for yourself, the slow
deterioration of our hair, faces, & clothes in some pictures from rome?
first up: the colosseum. one of the things i've been looking forward to
most on this trip. there's a subway stop right at the colosseo, & as
husband & i emerged from the dark, smelly subway station & the
colosseum rose up before us in the glaring light, we just stopped. &
stared. besides not being fully prepared for the heat, i was also not
fully prepared for how powerful, how commanding a presence the
colosseum has. it struck us in the face like someone turning on the
light in a pitch black room. i had the goosebumps for minutes & minutes,
& officially fell in love.

many sides of the wall are missing several outer layers of brick.
these holes were where the mortar had connected the different layers.
needless to say, this side was not the outermost layer:
it costs 12 euro a person to get into the colosseum, with access
also to the forum & the palatino. for us, this one was worth it.
once in the colosseum, there were several staircases, small rooms
& chambers, & hallways blocked off. we couldn't help but wonder
if these were some of the places they kept those cray cray wild
animals in their cages, or - dare we say it - perhaps russell crowe
himself walked these very halls sixteen hundred years ago when
he fought as a gladiator. be still my beating heart! :)
seriously, folks, one of the things about the colosseum is that it
is. SO. OLD. it held its opening games in 82 AD (where, by the
way, over 9,000 wild animals were killed. eeks!). 82 AD!
& it is STILL STANDING today! i know this
might sound silly, but when you're in the colosseum, you can just
FEEL how old it is. the oldness of all of it just seeps into your
bones. there's like a reverence about the place, but in an interesting
way, because what this place is really most known for is the
bloodthirsty, barbaric, completely inhuman & violent stuff that
went on there.
are you starting to see it? how we don't know how to handle the
fact that there are WAY TOO MANY clothes on our bodies
right now? the rolling up of sleeves, the cuffing of pant legs, &
how behind my eyes the knowledge is slowly sinking in of 
just how HOT this place actually is.
back in the day (oh, you know, 80 AD, nbd), they placed a large
wooden platform over the top of all these winding hallways down
beneath, & covered the platform with sand (the latin word for "sand"
is "arena," which is how the arena got its name. cool, yes?). these
days about 1/4 of the arena is covered with the wood & sand & 
they leave the rest exposed so everyone can see all the inner 
workings.
down here in these hallways they would have lifts & pulleys so that men or animals
could be lifted straight up into the area, like how they do at concerts today. did you
also know that lots of times, people in the crowd would be cooking food, gambling,
drawing, & the women would often be doing their hair or make-up? so while the
men are fighting for their lives below, there'd be somewhat of a tailgate party
happening in the stands, & the audience would hardly be paying attending to
the hunger games down in the arena. crazy! & we learned so much more!
 i mean, there are just so many cool facts about the colosseum!
here's how our conversation went way too many times:
spouse #1: "hmm, i wonder (insert question about the colosseum)?"
spouse #2: "well, i know in the movie gladiator, they (an answer
responding to spouse #1's question using gladiator as a reference)."
...yeah, we used gladiator way too many times as our frame of
reference for the colosseum. we obviously have some research to do :)
we took a better, non-squinting picture after this one, but i wanted
to use this one just to show you, my friends. the slow deterioration. 
we stood about as much chance as ice cream out in that sun:

the colosseum! truly a wonder of the ancient world.

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