Ciao For Now!

Well, we made it to the end of our Roman holiday.  Today’s post details the last day of our trip before we boarded a couple planes for home!  But, it was definitely a full and exciting day!  We finally made it to so many of the sights we’d heard about in Rome (especially those of us who grew up with the heavy influence of The Lizzie McGuire Movie), and we wasted no time getting started on our day!

I’m sorry, but don’t you kind of wish you drove a car small enough that you could do this legally?  I’m jealous and also not at all.

Our first stop was a reserved tour of the Colosseum, and while Georgia was inside grabbing our tickets, we had a MAJOR photo shoot!  We just couldn’t get enough of the beautiful background and morning light!

Chaperones’ turn!

To keep track of all our students on this trip, we put them in groups ahead of time and assigned each group to a chaperone.  That way, when we needed to do a quick head count, we each only had to count four or five people.  Heather was pretty attached to her group!

Group 2, throwin’ up deuces.

Leanna had Group 1…

…and Robert had Group 3!  Somehow we missed getting pictures of Groups 4 and 5, but they’re well-represented elsewhere!

Our local guide, Krisztina, was actually Hungarian but had lived in Rome for 20 years.  She said she had wanted to complete a doctorate in anthropology and Italian Studies at the University of Rome, but it was just too expensive.  She’s been giving tours at the Colosseum and every other museum in Rome for about seven years now!  And, she has children about the same age as our students, so she knew what she was getting into. 🙂

She explained which parts of the Colosseum are part of renovations and which are original.  You can kind of see that about halfway up this wall, the bricks are less smooth.  Those are the originals!  Everything else was added later.

We were standing approximately where the middle class would have sat during a show at the Colosseum.  The upper class (and the emperor) sat down low, the slaves sat higher, and women and children were on the top rows.

Here’s the Arch of Constantine!

And our view of the Roman Forum from the Colosseum.

As we made our way over to the Roman Forum, Krisztina explained how the Romans kept building the ground up higher and higher, essentially covering things up as they went along.  It’s taken a long time to excavate all of that!

Here is where Julius Caesar was cremated.  Every March 15 (the day he was assassinated), there is a remembrance celebration held here.  Sometimes, people lay flowers here thinking this is his tomb, but he’s not buried here.

On to some free time!  Most of us were pretty hungry at this point, so we headed to lunch!

I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of my Caprese salad before I nearly finished it… oops.

Somehow I managed to wait until the last day to get Italian gelato!  But I picked caramel cream, and it was SO GOOD.  It was pretty much just like birthday cake ice cream, if you’ve ever had that!

About a third of the group had signed up to do the extra excursion to the Roman Catacombs, so I accompanied them for that little trip!  We passed by the United Nations on the way…

…and stopped at the Basilica of St. Paul before the catacombs as well.  I actually really enjoyed seeing this church, because Paul is one of my favorite apostles.  It’s been really neat to be so close to all the cities for whom he wrote letters we find in the Bible!

Here is the tomb where Paul is buried.

Paul was imprisoned for a large portion of his life, and I believe these chains were used in his imprisonment (but I don’t remember exactly)!

As is the case with most churches in Greece and Italy, the church is shaped like a cross, withe the apse in the center and smaller chapels on the sides.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures in the catacombs, because it’s so dark and the ground is so uneven that it’s dangerous to be distracted by a camera.  But it was pretty fascinating!

Afterward, Georgia took us to the Trevi Fountain!  We were fortunate that it’s been reopened, because it’s been under reconstruction for quite some time.  You’re supposed to turn your back to the fountain and throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder.  If you throw one, you’ll come back to Rome, you throw two if you want to get married, and you throw three if you want to get divorced.  Most of us just threw one!

After visiting the fountain, we had some time to spend near the Pantheon, where we shopped, got snacks, and spent some quality time with each other before dinner!

Dinner that night was SO GOOD!  When we arrived, they already had our salads ready, and they brought out four pizzas per table.  We had ham, cheese, and two mushroom pizzas.  All were amazing and so fresh!

Pretty much how Chris greeted all the Italian girls (just kidding… maybe).

Before we took our Rome by Night tour, we stopped back by Piazza Navona to explore what we hadn’t seen the day before.  And of course, we took time to all get pictures with our favorite tour director, Georgia!

It is impossible to express how amazing she was.  She handled all of our logistics effortlessly, all while being kind and sweet and mothering to our kids.  They can all impersonate her now, too!  I’m pretty sure that, given the opportunity, we all would have followed her home to Crete for a few days!

The last thing on our itinerary was a Rome by Night tour!  Seeing these monuments during the day is already something amazing, but seeing them all lit up just adds so much more to the experience.  It was the perfect way to cap off our trip!

And that’s all she wrote!  I’m so glad that all of you have enjoyed these blog posts and that so many of you have been kind enough to mention it to me!  It’s my pleasure not only to document these amazing trips that Leanna and I are privileged to coordinate, but to help give you an inside look to what our students are up to!  I hope you felt like you were there!  I’ll be uploading all of these pictures to a separate gallery (including the ones I didn’t post) in case you’re a parent or student and want to download them or order prints.

We’re already looking forward to our trip to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England in 2017!  If you’re an HHS student and want to come along, email me!

Ciao!

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