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Italy: Rome (March 2, 2002)

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We are now in Rome, the capital of Italy. There are a lot of Roman ruins around here, but that is probably because Rome was also the capital of the Roman Empire. The house that we are staying in is really big, so big that I got lost a lot. There is a piano here too, and (even though it is off tune) Joss now keeps bugging me by continually asking me if I want to learn how to play the piano. We have a great view of the river here, and it is very nice. Unfortunately, the lights in Joss and my bedroom don't work and one of the windows in the living room doesn't close all the way.

We went out to buy some groceries the day after we got here. We walked along the river and I saw lots of ducks. We looked for a long time for a grocery store and finally found one -- inside the basement of a clothes store. There was an entire aisle with only pasta noodles in it. We also got some boxed gelato to eat.

We went on a walk around Rome (we had found an excellent parking space right next to our building and we weren't going to move it if not necessary) and discovered that the streets were covered with crowds of people all bearing banners. Mom guessed that it was a reunion of all the different Catholic Churches. As we had no idea where we were going, so we just followed them.

We ended up at the Circus Maximus. The Circus Maximus used to be a chariot racecourse shaped like an oval, with decorations, such as a stolen Egyptian obelisk, in the center. Today, however, the circus was filled with many people. We avoided the crowds and walked along a street. As we looked up at the sky, we saw…

…Bats. Thousands were in the sky, making it look like they were having their own parade. For the most part, they only traveled along in a line, like a black river, but occasionally, a group would brake off and fly along the river like a sponge, and it would turn inside out and squish inward at different points, as if they were saying "we're the best bats in the neighborhood and we have the best stunt."

We went to St. Peter's Cathedral, one of the biggest in the world. It is actually in a different country than Italy, but is in the middle of Italy. I don't understand why. The cathedral was so protected that we had to pass scanners before going in. Inside the cathedral, there were lots of statues and sculptures. The cathedral was really big, so the sculptors did something clever. You know how when something is far away, it looks really small? Well the sculptors made the statues at the top of the cathedral bigger, so a statue at the bottom that is four feet tall would look the same size as a statue at the top that is six feet tall.

After we were done, Joss and I chassed pigeons outside on the square. Then we went on the long walk back to our apartment.

We then went to the National Museum of Rome. Again, Dad read to us from out of his guidebook about the sculptures and paintings. We looked at busts (a small sculpture of somebody from their shoulders up) of different Roman emperors, Renaissance paintings (for some reason I keep seeing a painting of this guy that is tied to a tree and is full of arrows), and Greek statues (and some Roman ones). The difference between Greek sculptures and Roman ones is that Greek statues are perfectly balanced, and Romans couldn't figure out how to balance statues, so they just had them lean against stumps or logs.

The next day, Dawn, David and my nephew Keegan arrived!!!!!!!!!! They arrived at 9:00 p.m. (unfortunately), but it was still fun. They will be staying with us for two weeks. Keegan is a weird baby: his eyes are green with blue around them, and he has almost no hair. He makes up for it by drooling, though. When he laughs he squeaks and drools, and when he's mad he squeaks and drools (making it very hard to tell whether he is happy or angry), so I am going to call him the Squeaker. He is very fun.

On the last day in Rome we went on a tour. We met our guide at a small cafeteria and began our tour at the Colosseum. The Colosseum wasn't always called the Colosseum. It used to be just a normal amphitheater. The 100-foot high golden statue next to the Colosseum was called the Colosseum. There was a Roman prophecy that when the Colosseum fell, Rome would fall. Guess what happened. When the Colosseum (the statue) fell, they re-named the amphitheater the Colosseum.

Then we went to see old columns, Julius Cesar's death place, an old church, archeological sites and lots of other things. The next day we left Rome and are headed for more Italian adventures.


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