There's No Place Like Rome/Home

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End May 11, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Sunday, May 9, 2010

We rode the train from Florence to Rome enjoying the beautiful sites of Tuscany.  When you are north of Rome, you can see how the colors "pop" more than in the south of Italy.  There are the green pastures with sheep grazing, the farmers working their fields, the colorful homes, the mountains in the distance...I can see what all the talk is about.

Then you land in Rome and the serenity is gone and the activity is heightened to the max.  People are on the move - Italians are going to work, tourists have their maps out and are looking for the next site, and there must be 50 million men on the streets trying to sell you something (and they don't realize "no, thank you" means "buzz off"!).

We settled into our hotel a few blocks north of the Colosseum.  Great location with a gelato shop across the street!  The only bad thing was that the elevator was broken when we got there and the women's rooms were on the third floor and the minister was on the fifth floor - yikes! 

We immediately hit the streets and went to the church where Peter's chains were stored and where Michaelangelo's statue of Moses was housed.  They say these are the actual chains when he was imprisoned in Rome.  Then we spent quite a while in the Colosseum and really liked hearing about all that went on in that place.  It could hold 50,000 spectators so it's an impressive site considering that it was built 2,000 years ago.  You can see where they would have housed all of the animals before they would have come on to the stadium floor for the fight to the death.  Next to the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine who is credited for "legalizing" Christianity in 312 A.D.  I will spare you most of the details/facts for these places but would encourage you to google for the information - all of it is pretty interesting and gives you a look into what it was like in the time of Peter and Paul.

We went to see the Forum and Palantine Hills from there.  Palentine Hills is where the homes of emperors once stood.  It overlooks the Forum and Circo Massimo where the chariots used to race.  They said there were lots of great crashes as they raced around - sounded more like NASCAR than the KY Derby.  The best part of Palatine Hills was that we got to see the home of Caesar Augustus.  They have recently opened this exhibit and - like at Pompeii - you can still see how the walls were painted.  At the Forum we saw the place where Julius Caesar's body was burned and where Marc Antony made his famous speech.  Basically, we saw the piece of real estate responsible for changing much of the world "back in the day."  Again, another place with way too much history to explain.  As we exited the Forum, we got to see the outside of the prison where Peter and Paul were said to have been imprisoned.  The site was closed for renovation but we imagined the cramped quarters they experienced all because of the Gospel.

Out of time to write much more on the blog but know we experienced much more incredible stuff including a trip to Piazza Navona (looks like a movie setting and the atmosphere is great with restaurants, fountains, street performers, artists), Trevi Fountain (where we threw our coins in), the Pantheon (the inspiration for Florence's Duomo and St. Peter's Cathedral), and the Spanish Steps.  We finished the trip with a great day seeing the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, the Pieta statue in St. Peter's (making Helen happy), St. Peter's Square...and we ate at the Hard Rock.  We also celebrated Helen's 17th birthday.  Whew!  What a couple of days!

We love you all and miss you.  In the morning we catch the plane for a 10-hour ride home.  Pray for the pilots!  See you at the airport...
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