Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Break in Italy

It's a really long, boring story...but through a twist of fate, Roger and I were able to go to Italy last month. I went with my girlfriend last year, and I was able to go back and take Roger with me. We were there over spring break...5 nights and 6 days. We had a blast! I was able to be a "tour guide", and I loved it. Our hotel was in ancient Rome, so we just walked out the door and down the block to visit the Colosseum, the Forum, and all the ruins of ancient Rome. We visited the Vatican and went to the top of the dome in St. Peter's Basilica. We went into the basement of St. Peter's and walked by the crypt of St. Peter himself! Ok, this man knew Jesus! And his remains were right there! Behind the rope, behind the glass, behind the security guard... We also saw the casket of Pope John Paul in the next room. Anyway, it was a fabulous trip.

The one thing we did this time that I didn't do on my first trip was take a train down to the city of Pompeii. Pompeii is about 2 1/2 hours from Rome by train, so I was tempted to just skip it. But, my 6 year-old actually studied Pompeii this year. When he found out that we were thinking about visiting Pompeii, he said, "Mom, all I want is something from Pompeii." Oh brother! I could have picked up something from Rome and faked it...told him it was from Pompeii...but I just couldn't do it. So, off we went. 5 hours round trip! It was the town that was buried about 2000 years ago from a volcanic eruption. The volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, is really there!! And the town, well, it's really there too. It was completely different than I imagined it. The town of Pompeii is about the size of Siloam Springs, not some little, tiny village that you can just look at and see the whole thing. It was really quite big. We were there for about 5 hours and still didn't see it all. I took a few pictures, but eventually, they all begin to look the same.

This is at temple in the Pompeii Forum, where they did all the government stuff. Sort of their version of Washington DC. Their worship of gods was intricately interwoven in their government. Imagine that!

Below is a picture of their small amphitheater. There are 2 more, and one of them is about the size of a football stadium. They had their own version of gladiator events.

This picture is to prove that we were actually there :-) I'm holding the Rick Steves guidebook, like a true tourist.

The museum had the plaster casts of the people that they found buried. When the volcano erupted, it spewed so much soot and debris that most people were killed when their roofs caved in on them. If they weren't killed by that, they suffocated. When they excavated the city, they would send small sensors down into the ground. When they would find a pocket of space, they would send plaster down into the tiny hole to fill the space. They would often find that the space was in the shape of a person, which meant that the person had been covered, and then had decomposed, but the shape of his body had been left behind.

I wonder if this person was praying when he died? Or trying to cover his mouth so he could breathe.
This person's skull was still intact when they recovered him.

Fabulous trip. Fabulous time.


Christy said...

Very cool, Trish!! I had no idea they plaster casted like that. I think the person was praying! I'm so glad you shared some pictures. Really interesting!

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Wow!! Incredible opportunity!! I'm so glad that you guys were able to go.
I'm curious now...what did you bring back from Pompeii??

Okay, the whole body plasters are interesting, but also so sad and morbid. :-( I would like to think he was praying... But to THE God? Probably not, which is even more sad.

Still L-O-V-E the picture! Especially the one with you in it!

AfricaBleu said...

Awesome--wonderful pics.

Clare said...

I'm glad to see someone enjoyed Pompeii as much as I did. The people I went with thought it was morbid that I so intrigued by it. But perfectly preserved? Thats fascinating.