Monday, November 26, 2012

Roman Holiday: Part the First

     I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Audrey Hepburn. Paris When It Sizzles, Breakfast At Tiffany's, My Fair Lady--I love them all. So, when presented with the opportunity to go to Rome for "holiday" (as my kiddos would call it) for a holiday weekend, how could I say no? The thought of having my own Roman Holiday beckoned me to greatly to refuse. Added to that, my ever faithful adventure buddy also wanted to go. Who can refuse an adventure with Adventure Buddy?
     So, the day before Thanksgving (after a VERY long day at school), Adventure Buddy, another friend, and myself set off to explore The Eternal City. Rome is only a 2 hour flight from Prague, so we actually arrived in the city at a decent hour. We took a bus to the city center from the airport and made our way to our hostel--which was, thankfully, not too far from the train station where the bus deposited us. The next morning we woke up excited to begin our explorations.

Day One: Ancient Rome
     I figure that I am doing pretty well for a 27 year old. I've climbed the Great Wall and the Eiffel Tower, floated along the canals of Venice (in a boat), stood on Juliet's balcony in Verona, and have now seen and stood inside the Colosseum. IT WAS AWESOME! Just catching my first glimpse of it was incredible. I can imagine for even a person who does not have faith in Christ it would be impressive, but for a believer to see a place where so many men and women were unashamed to lay down their lives for Christ it was breathtaking. To know this was a spot where so many early Christians chose to honor and worship God above themselves--above their own lives--it was inspiring. And sobering. Would I have been that brave?

    So, we were all pretty excited to visit the Colosseum, but first we had to find the place where we could get the audio guides for our tours....easier said than done. The place was located on a back road and we may or may not have wandered around a while before we found it--but we did find it and eventually made it to the Colosseum. I've heard that Rome is VERY crowded during the summer. November actually wasn't that bad, so if you're planning a trip that might be the time to go. The temperatures were lovely--about 60 F--and it was pretty sunny during our entire stay.

     One of my favorite parts of the Colosseum was the cross that had been erected as a memorial to the men and women martyred for their faith in Christ.
      After a delicious lunch of pizza (it is Italy), we decided to head off to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It was crazy to know that we were strolling through the heart of ancient Rome. The ruins of buildings and temples were ruins built by Romans! They were places that I'd read about in books. It was awe inspiring.

     I really enjoyed taking a break in the Roman Forum to read part of the "River of Time" Series by Lisa T. Bergren.
      One of the saddest parts of the Roman Forum to me was seeing an arch that was built to commemorate the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Part of the carving on the arch depicts the Romans carrying back the spoils from the temple. Seeing that, I realized that it wasn't a Greek or Roman temple or some other random temple for some other random god...that was THE TEMPLE, the temple built for MY God...and I know that by 70 AD Jesus had already died and rose again and the Holy Spirit dwelt inside believers (Acts really is an awesome book to read), but still, it was MY God's temple. That arch almost felt like a personal affront.

     After successfully exploring the Roman Forum, we set out to explore Palatine Hill. Our audio guide claims this was the birthplace of Rome. Apparently, Romulus and Remus were discovered here by the She-Wolf who then raised them. We explored some of the sights, but my favorite parts were getting to see orange trees...and palm trees...AND ROSES STILL BLOOMING! Everything was so green. Prague is dead and brown by this time of the year! Oh--and we also came across this amazing view of the Colosseum. It was quite lovely.

 By the time we left the forum and Palatine Hill, the sites were beginning to close down. We were also starting to feel worn out (from the combination of a busy week and travel and walking around all day), so we made our way back to the hostel to rest before finding a bite to eat. It really was a wonderful start to a wonderful trip!


  1. Looks like you had fun! When I was at the Colosseum, our tour guide told us that no Christians had actually been martyred at the Colosseum, that many had been killed in other amphitheaters in other cities, though. So now I'm curious if he was correct or not!

  2. That is interesting. Although, the audio guides we had were very Pro-Catholic, so I don't know if that played into it or not. Now I'm curious about that too...