We arrived in Italy a few days ago but I couldn't post until now. Why? Well, our room doesn't have WiFi so I would have to go to the lobby to access the internet. Why didn't I do that? Because that would require me to put on a bra and I just couldn't face that. Why couldn't I face that? Because of the heat. It turns out that Rome is hot. Very hot. Like "fires of hell" hot. I'm fairly certain that the Ancient Romans died of heatstroke. The history books don't reflect this because then the tourist industry would collapse. We spent our first day here wandering around in a jetlagged haze, sweating out every ounce of fluid in our bodies. We did make it to the Trevi fountain which was gorgeous...and cool. Miguel dunked his head in which I'm pretty sure is frowned upon by the Italian police because someone else put a body part in the fountain and the police came and I told Miguel, "See! That's what happens to people who don't follow the rules." I might have also said that they cover children in honey, put them in Piazzas and let the ants eat them. I can't be certain if I said that or if I was delirious from heat exhaustion.
The second day we headed to the Colosseum. I don't want to ruin it for you but it is hot there as well. Zeca was extremely interested in anything located in the shade. She'd say, "Look mom! Come here!" She would then drag me down some corridor to look at a bump on the wall. Had I been in my right mind, I would have caught on before the 7th or 8th shady corridor. The Colosseum was impressive - even the parts in direct sunlight. After that, we headed towards the Forum. Fortunately, that area was filled with fountains that you could put your head in and the kids did that repeatedly. The fun thing about the Forum was realizing that Miguel knows more about history than I thought. He knew about Romulus and Remus and Augustus and told us all sorts of stories. I have no idea if they were true because history has never been my thing. But, they seemed plausible - there were no flying people or anything so I'm taking it all as fact. We then saw the house of the Vestal Virgins (partially pictured above left). Luisa read the happy tale of a Vestal Virgin's life and the kids refused to believe the part about them being buried alive if they indulged in a little hanky panky. They insisted that they could have escaped and that's how I found myself shouting, "WHAT PART OF BURIED ALIVE DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?!" in the Forum. We then went to Palatine Hill and saw more ruins. Zeca and I had a little disagreement about her use of the camera after she almost dropped it and then she needed to sit and weep for a bit. When that was done, we went to see the Circus Maximus which is basically a big grassy nothing now. I had to see it though. In high school, my friend Lisa and I built a replica of it for Latin Class. At the time, I didn't think we did that great a job but now, seeing the real thing, I think I judged us too harshly. Later in the evening, Zeca wanted to go back to the Trevi fountain so we did and the Italian Navy band was playing which was festive...and hot.
Yesterday, we went to Ostia Antica and saw some more ruins. Then, we took the train to the beach and spent the afternoon in the Mediterranean Sea and you know what? It was not hot when we were in the sea! Also - no sweating! But, alas, we could not stay in the sea forever and had to dry off and put clothes on so that we could sweat our way back to the city.
Today, we went to the Gardens That I Can't Spell and can't look up because this internet connection doesn't like it when I have multiple tabs open at the same time. From the Gardens That I Can't Spell we headed to the Vatican to hang with the Pope. En route, we realized the downside of the children being raised without a religious education - they have no context for things like a trip to the Vatican. We told them we were going and they asked what the Vatican is and we told them the Pope is there and they said, "What's a pope?" So, we had to explain Catholicism and nuns and priests (with omissions of the newsworthy parts) and bishops and cardinals and blue-jays (just checking to see if you were really paying attention) and Popes. Let me tell you a little something about St. Peter's Square - it's beautiful and filled with people and also hot. There was also a dead, eviscerated pigeon by one of the fountains and Miguel wanted to take a picture of it and I told him that we must honor the dead...even dead pigeons. Then, I gave him a lecture about dignity in death and the sanctity of life and blah blah blah. Mostly, I didn't want our vacation pictures to consist solely of a dead pigeon in St. Peter's Square. We then headed to the Trastevere neighborhood (which is also likely misspelled for reasons previous cited). We met up with our friend Maya (who is coincidentally here at the same time) and her friend, Matt. We hung out at a cafe for awhile and then Luisa was heading to a shop when she ran into another family from our kids' school. Seriously. The world is small.
Everything is going well. The kids are walking everywhere without complaint. We are all sweaty and stinky and a little sunburned but there is wine and gelato and pizza and pasta and that is apparently more than enough to keep the four of us happy. More to come.