Ah, Rome. The eternal city. A feast for the senses. Where some of the greatest minds, hands, and hearts lived out their wildest dreams. Where marble and bronze come alive to breathe faith into the souls of the holy, and weave tales in the eyes of the historians. It is also the city where we spent nine days in June after our first year of teaching. Why Rome, you ask? Need you ask? Well, to begin, Sean has a Classical Humanities major, which deemed him the ultimate tour guide—telling stories, recalling dates, and naming names that allowed the historic part of Rome to become fascinating to me.
Another reason we went to Rome—this reason more a subconscious afterthought (if there can be such a thing)—is that Rome stood for in many ways what we were missing in Kuwait. Sure there’s food in Kuwait, and lots of it—I mean Kuwait is in the top five most overweight countries (after the United States). But you cannot stroll along cobblestone streets in a sundress, kissing the cheek of your loved one, and nibble on aged cheese and sip a glass of wine whenever you want to rest a while. In Kuwait, you burrow away in your air conditioned apartment, then walk through the stifling heat to the bus/taxi/car, then arrive at your destination, the restaurant. You stay there for a few hours, then return home. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kuwait (really, I do!), but in Rome the stroll, the sundress, the cheek, IS the destination. You can make a day out of walking around the city and simply stopping at a trattoria for a antipasti, a plate of olives, or even a slice of pizza (or whole pie if you’re truly Roman). Rome screamed romance. It whispered love, sensuality, affection. It wasn’t just the naked statues everywhere either—it seemed like everyone in Rome was a little more in love than anywhere else in the world. (Or was that just Sean and I?)
Besides from the food and the love, (I’m starting to sound like Julia Roberts…) there is the history and the accessibility of it. You don’t have to enter a single museum to find history in Rome, it surrounds you. From the fountains that used to provide water from the aqueducts to the citizens to the memorial plaques on doorsteps in the Jewish quarter remembering those who were taken from their homes during the Holocaust. Kuwait’s history is more shifting and ephemeral, like the sand dunes that change shape and can never be pinned down. Like a bundle of cloth tied to the hump of a camel. Rome’s history is permanent, solid, a Jenga tower that will never fall and that any and all can see. (Which begs the question, did Rome really ever “fall”? I’ll let the audience at home decide…)
But I digress. If you are still reading, you are a worthy follower of Aloha Kuwait, and I thank you. I also apologize for not posting in so long. This summer came and went like bolt of lightening. Now, sitting in said air-conditioned apartment in Kuwait, sipping caffeinated tea and munching on hummus, I am ready to write. I promise you another year of scintillating tales from both the sandbox and abroad!
On to the pictures of Rome…. I must forewarn you that the captions will be limited, seeing as the quantity of pictures exceeds any other blog post thus far. Well, it is Rome… which seems the perfect opportunity to use the cliche that pictures speak louder than words : )
Our first afternoon in the city. A meal of an entire pizza per person, and nice cold refreshment!
Looking at St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican. You can see the place where the Pope speaks weekly! Do you recognize it from television?
The Swiss guards inside the Vatican. (Yes, they really are Swiss!)
A morning market near the Vatican area, where our bed and breakfast was located.
We took an official tour of the Vatican (note the yellow sticker and lanyard), which was totally amazing. Here I am inside the Vatican walls!
Sean and a statue of Augustus.
An ancient Roman statue inside the Vatican. (One of thousands!)
A bronze statue of Hercules inside the Vatican.
Beautiful floor mosaic inside the Vatican.
A courtyard inside the Vatican walls.
An entire hallway of old maps of Italy inside the Vatican.
St. Peter’s Cathedral.
Gelato with our good friend Blaise! We were so lucky we got to spend a week with him before he began a master’s course on Roman architecture.
Italian espresso every morning!
Can you guess where the obelisks were stolen from? Hmmmm…
Blaise and I outside of the Scala Santa. It was unfortunately closed for the afternoon : (
Sean by one of his favorite ancient Roman status of Augustus as Pontifex Maximus.
A wall in Livia’s villa (1 BC). The wife of Augustus.
Blaise contemplating life…
A small street in Rome. One of millions…
Sean next to a bronze statue of Constantine.
Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf. (Sean says, “May not be Estruscan…”)
The Roman Forum!
Inside the Capitoline Museum.
Looking inside the Pantheon : )
Blaise and Sean strolling the Piazza Navona.
The Trevi Fountain! (Yes, we made a wish!)
Coffee break by the Tiber River…
A place where the gladiators practiced for the Colosseum competitions.
The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine!
The Circus Maximus!
Cannoli and Cappucino. Hungry?
The Borghese Gardens.
Lunch outside the Villa Borghese.
Looking out over Rome.
The ancient city of Ostia.
A floor mosiac preserved in the ancient city of Ostia.
Theater in Ostia.
Public bathroom in Ostia. (Maybe this is where women got the idea of going to the bathroom in pairs?)
Looking out from Janiculum Hill over Rome.
Sean relaxing by one of the many fountains in Rome.
Stay tuned for the next blog post, which will be in the near future, where Kim and Sean are back in Kuwait!