Sunday, June 23:
Hi All! I have to say, I am sad to be writing about Rome for the last night! I don’t ever want to leave! Today we had such a fun day. We started with a yummy room service breakfast and then took off for...the Coliseum. The Romans started building the Coliseum in 70AD (something) and did not finish until 81AD. Is that not unfathomable!? I have learned these last few days that the Romans were very, very smart and used many of the same things back then that we still use today! There stadium also used to be covered in marble that the Catholic church cut out of the building to preserve. That’s why there are so many huge holes throughout the entire building. I am sure that the church had a specific and logical reason (money most likely) for taking it off, but man oh man I would have loved to have seen the Coliseum in it’s grandeur! After taking a kagillion pictures, we stopped at a little boutique. I picked up an SPQR magnet. SPQR stood for many different things in Rome. Mainly, it stood for belonging. The Roman government used it to show what things belonged to it or soldiers and gladiators had their arms and helmets adorned with it to show they were a part of the city. Pretty cool huh?!
We were starving when we left the Coliseum so off to lunch we went. We sat down at a local pizza place that we very busy. After playing musical chairs from being so hot outside, we finally decided on a space in an air conditioned room. It was much more bearable and of course, the pizza was delectable!!! Then OF COURSE we headed for Gelato. I was so full from the pizza that I didn’t get any, but I wished I had. All the dessert eaters said it was the best gelato yet...I missed out! Ms. S had it all over her cute little face, as she always does, but it was such dark chocolate that she looked Gothic! It was adorable! We went back to the hotel to swim in the pool for a bit.After chatting it up in the pool, we got ready for the highlight of the kiddos day, Gladiator Training!
We drove about forty five minutes from the city and visited a “Gladiator Museum.” The Gladiator Lady told us all kinds of random information about Roman soldiers. For example, when fighting the Barbarians, the soldiers lined up in 5 lines and 5 groups. Each row would fight for three minutes until they heard the whistle blow and the second line would come forward and so on. The fifth row of soldiers were the veteran soldiers and by that time, were fighting Barbarians who have been fighting for 12-13 minutes. These veterans finished the fights and that’s why the Romans were such a successful (and kind of scary army). We also learned why they wore about five slivers of metal pieces hanging from their belts...as they moved together, towards their targets, the sound of these pieces clanking together was a tactic to play mind tricks with enemies! What an amazing idea!
We heard some more random Gladiator information, too. Did you know that Gladiators were soldiers that had survived the war? Those who chose to be Gladiators were paid, popular and FAKE FIGHTERS! Just like the WWFs...they were there to put on a show! The information was so fun and then it was time for Ms. S and Mr. E to get their Gladiator lessons. There were about 10 people in the class. The instructor showed the kids how to use their weapons...Right throat swing, left leg swing, left neck swing, and jab towards stomach. They practiced this like crazy and then practiced with a partner. At the end, they all got to fight each other. Mr. E enjoyed it, but he liked the swords the best compared to fighting. Ms. S was into the fighting aspect. The Gladiator Lady told Ms. S she had the spirit of a warrior just after an hour with her! Oh boy, is that true, and it made me smile like a proud nanny! Gladiator Lady also gave the kids certificates of their training and they each got Gladiator names. Mr. E is ..... and Ms. S is....... The training ended and we headed back to the Coliseum to get some swords for the kiddos. Yes, real swords. A little scary to be in their possession, but also pretty darn cool too! I bought so many rosaries for so many special people in my life! I can’t wait to give them a rosary from Rome (hope it was made here and not in China, unlike my Pope bobble head!) I think I bought 20, for real! Most are blessed at different times throughout the day. What a special thing! I just love it here.
We chilled for a bit in the hotel and then went to dinner at a place called PierLuigi. It was delicious and the atmosphere was awesome. PLUS they had a strong wireless signal so I could consistently text Mr. Keev. It was a happy spot for sure! When were returned I packed all the kiddos Capri things in a separate bag from our big suitcases. We are taking a helicopter there and don’t have room for much. Did you read that...a helicopter! Can’t wait to knock another cool thing off of my bucket list! I also got to chat with Mr. Keev for like two minutes before he enjoyed his day! (I’m off to bed and he’s starting his afternoon!) So weird right?! I am not packed and ready for whatever the next few days hold. Many people were in the city today. The Pope gave a special blessing at noon and the city was FULL of people. Also, I saw about 10 different couples getting married. Sunday is not a typical marriage day where I come from. They came to the Coliseum and in the city to take lots of pictures! How incredible, married in Rome! I’d do that too if only ALL of my friends and family could be there! Since tonight is Sunday, it’s the most quiet Rome has been. I can still hear birds, a few people laughing, music, and church towers ringing, but it’s much more quiet than the other two nights. The breeze is PERFECT! I’m going to close my eyes and remember this moment forever! One thing is for sure, I am so proud to be a Catholic! I am so thankful to get to step foot onto such holy grounds and to finally see what I heard about for so many years in Catholic School and history class (If only I had retained it all!) And another thing...my grandparents would have just loved visiting here. I can thank them for my strong faith foundation that they passed to my parents, down to me, and what I will pass down to my children. I know that they are looking down on me have gotten to see me enjoy this special moment of my trip and my life. More to come tomorrow....