Our time in Rome has been a whirlwind. Yesterday we spent some time in the centro storico area of Rome, and it was definitely our favorite part of the city. We saw the Pantheon, which has the largest unsupported concrete dome in the world, and we also visited Piazza Navona, a plaza with three beautiful fountains, street artists, and musicians. Both free things, which makes my inner-thrifter oh so happy! And the neighborhood was beautiful and fun to explore. We ate lunch at a delicious restaurant, Cantina e cuchina, and had the best food we have eaten in Italy so far. I had pasta carbonara, and Zac had a Quattro formaggio pizza. We also had the most amazing fries (potato wedges with hunks of some sort of crumbly cheese, and pepper, yum!).
We also went back to the board game store where I was a very good wife and let my husband drool over the board games again for about an hour and we bought several to somehow take home with us. (Ask me how that goes when Z needs to fit them in his luggage tomorrow morning before we leave for Naples.) We played one of our new games, Finca, a fun farming game, and again Z kicked my butt. So gaming and I, at least in Rome, are not getting along right now.
Today we made the mistake (joking, I jest) of going to the ancient Roman port city of Ostia Attica, an hour by public transportation outside of Rome. I brought it up last night that instead of going to a museum today, we could go see this site. Z agreed, and off we went. For 8.5 hours (including transportation, but still). My feet hurt and it was around 92 degrees today. This place was the largest site I’ve ever seen (except maybe a site in Israel we visited). I’ll emphasize again that this is an entire city you can see and explore. Unlike our travels in Israel though, this time though we were not with a group, and Z was thrilled to play Indiana Jones all day. And I mean ALL DAY.
We explored every passage, doorway, and room for the first few hours. But then, we had a mission: to find the Mithras baths and the hidden away (sort of secret)underground area when you can see a Mithras shine. Exciting right? For those of you who have no idea what that means, it was an ancient mystery cult (yup, cool as it sounds) that had a baths area in this city with a shrine. So we spent about 45 minutes searching every square foot of one area to no avail. We finally we’re ready to give up and leave, but I checked our map once more. Oops- I had mistaken the building we meticulously searched on the map, and the Mithras baths building was actually nearby. So we backtracked and after much less searching, we found the entrance to the underground area!
It was pretty cool. D was actually scared of the large statue at first and stopped halfway down the passageway, and just stared at it. But eventually, he decided it was good enough to try to eat some of the rocks he found near the base of the statue. Z said maybe D is now iniated into the Mithras cult. So, at least he can claim he’s a member of something and we can look into discounts. Or at least college connections. Kidding.
We considered the day conquered and eventually made it home. We enjoyed some delicious pizza at a nearby restaurant and decided to leave packing for the morning. Which was a good plan until the host of the place we are renting said new people will be here by 10, so can we please be out as soon as possible in the morning? Yeah, that’s fine. Sigh, it’s always an adventure!