Day 4 - Rome

On Day 4, we docked at Civitavvechia and took the train into Rome. We got off the train, and took the metro to the Coliseum. (We had gotten a pass so that we could take any bus, or metro in the city, and one round trip train ride.) After we got off of the metro, we walked to the Forum, which was right across the street. At first we could not find how to get into the Forum, because we did not know that we had to get a ticket. We finally found where to get the tickets, and there was a line so we had to wait.

Inside there were ruins and a lot of temples. The emperor would make his father a god after his death, and build a temple to him. This progressed until they would make anyone who died a god, like the temple to Romulus was built by his father when Romulus died. The first thing we went to was the Senate Building, which was where the Senate met, and the senators made oration. Next we went to an arch, which was dedicated to Servetus, who was a successful general. The Romans tried to terrorize their subjects, so on the side of the monument there were carvings of people being taken away by Roman soldiers to be executed. When he fell out of political favor, the government decided to rewrite history, and so on the arch they crossed out that it was dedicated to Servetus, and put instead that it was dedicated to the basic principles.

After that, we saw the place where the common people went to discuss things, as opposed to the place where the Senate met. After that we saw a swamp where people would throw in their offerings to Julius Caesar when he was a god. They had a memorial there to a knight who drowned in it with his horse while trying to get a piece of gold for the emperor. There were a lot of stones all over the place from the buildings that have fallen down. We went to the place where Augustus Caesar was buried, and there is an the altar there. Around it were flowers and money, which people had throne recently, because the religion of Rome has not changed. People still worship the emperors, just like they did a long time ago.

After that we walked up to the royal gardens, and the emperor's house. It was built under the gardens so that it did not mess them up. Just one room, for example the dining room, was as big as our whole house! On the same hill, archaeologists had found and dug up where they think Romulus first started the colony.

That was the end, and the exit was blocked so we had to find another exit, which we did, but that one was blocked too. We finally found an exit, and there were a lot of stairs to get down because we were on a hill. After we got down, we had to wait for Daddy, because he had rented an audio tour to tell him what things were and what happened (there were literally only 2 interpretive signs) and they took his drivers license to make sure he gave it back. After he got back we went to a sandwich booth to get lunch.

Almost as soon as we were done with lunch it started to rain. It started to downpour, and we went into the Colosseum. Our grandparents were tired of walking so they did not go through the Colosseum with us. In modern stadiums they use the same design that the Romans used because they could empty thousands of people from it in 20 minutes. Even though we might think that the Romans were primitive people, they were not. They had pulleys to raise the stage, and if they wanted to they could flood it, and then stage a sea war. After we went through the Colosseum, we got back on the metro, then on the train, and back onto the cruise ship.

Some of the pillars from the temple of Saturn

The arch dedicated to the Roman General

Zoomed in so that you can see where it was edited (4th line down on the left)

The temple that Roman Catholic churches are modeled after (notice the three rows)

Daddy talking about the place we were at

The arch the Romans built to commemorate the fall of Jerusalem

The Colosseum(this is not how it would have looked; this is the "basement" of the stage)

Day 3 - Livorno, Italy

On the third day our port was Livorno, Italy. When we got off the ship we rented a car from a place that was right next to the cruise ship. We had to rent two small cars because they did not have any vans for 7 passengers. We decided to drive to through the Tuscany valley. Daddy, Mommy and I were in one car and Grandpa, Grandma, Rachel and Stephen were in the other. We had a GPS. They were following us, but we got separated when we were driving through a tunnel because Grandpa was looking at the map. After waiting for them to catch up with us and deciding they took the wrong fork coming out of the tunnel, we started driving into the Tuscany valley. In the Tuscany valley they grow olives and grapes. We stopped at a town called Volterra, because we saw a castle on top of a hill. It was a midieval village and when we got to the castle, we could only walk around it because it is used as a prison. We walked around the village, then decided we should head toward San Gimignano, since that is where we told Grandma we were going. When we got there, we saw Grandpa parking the other car! They did not remember that we were supposed to meet them there, but providentially they had asked someone about a castle, and they said that this was a good one. They had been lost for awhile and kept stopping to ask directions. Once they pulled into a driveway to turn around, and then the gate closed behind them! They had to go ask the owners to open it, in Italian (Grandma knows a very little Spanish and even less Italian.)

San Gimignano is a walled midieval town. It had 72 towers at one time, but now less than 20 survive. We first ate lunch in a "real" italian restaurant and most of us had spaghetti bolognese, but Stephen tried pasta with wild boar sauce. We all like Mommy's spaghetti better! Then we walked around the town, and saw the towers and the medieval castle. We also went in some of the shops. After awhile we started driving back. We wanted to drive by the leaning tower of Pisa, but when we got there we did not have time, so we stayed on the highway. We did get a picture of the top though.

Castle at Volterra

The countryside

Towers at San Gimignano

Us in the medieval castle

Day 2 - Cannes, France

Our second stop was Cannes, France. After breakfast we got off the ship and onto a small boat called a tender to take us on the short trip to shore. After we arrived Daddy and I left the others at the port and began walking to the rental car place to pick up the car. After about a mile walk we found it. We then drove back and picked the others up. We wanted to drive up to the French Alps. Unfortunately, we were having problems with our GPS, so we had to figure out how to get there on our own. After wandering around for some time, we finally got on the right road. The Alps were very nice. We kept driving on a windy road through the Alps until we saw a castle on top of a hill, so we decided to stop there. It was a midieval town and castle named Entrevaux, which means "beginning of the valley". We climbed up the hill to the castle while Grandma and Grandpa stayed at the bottom. After a very steep walk we finally we arrived at the top. It was a fairly nice castle, and there were good views of the surrounding countryside. We did not have time to walk through the town, but we did get a good view of it from the castle. Finally we went back to the car and drove back to Cannes. We dropped off everyone but Daddy and I at the port, and then we looked for a gas station. Finally we found one, and then went to drop the car off. The gate was a foot from the ground when we arrived because they were closing when we got there, but they let us in. Then we walked back to the cruise ship.

The Alps

The Castle

Rachel and Stephen walking up to the castle


The back entrance of the castle

The town from the castle. The cathedral can be seen on the left side of the picture.

Memorial Day 2009 Flyer

Click here for more information

Day 1 - Barcelona

The cruise left from Barcelona. At Barcelona, there is a monument to the discovery of the New World which has Columbus on top of it pointing out to sea. The monument had four murals on the sides, and four statues on the sides. Then we went to the Maritime Museum, which was near the monument. The maritime museum was inside the old covered shipyard (about the thirteenth century), which the King had built to build his royal ships. Some of the building was modern, but there were parts where you could see the original timbers. Out in the courtyard, there was a recreation of the first Spanish submarine from the 1860's. It was shaped like a fish, and had two lookout holes on the sides. Inside the museum, was a history of the Spanish navy and fishing boats. They had many models which they made in the back part of the museum. It had exhibits on each of the capabilities which a ship needs, the designs which were used, and how they were modified to work better. They also had a full sized model of a galley, which was a ship that was propelled by oars, and the oars were usually manned by slaves and convicts. They also had a lot about the discovery of the world, and copies of the maps which the explorers made. It was interesting but it was large, and by the time we were done my feet were tired.

Cruise Update

We are now on the cruise ship. We have gone to a lot of places. We have seen Rome, Pompeii, and many castles. We are enjoying it. We do not have time to write long post, but we will try to when we get back.

Yesterday we were docked at Malaga, Spain, and we rented a car. We drove to the castle where Ferdinand and Isabella drove back the Moors from Spain, and also where they commissioned Columbus to go to the new world. It was a nice castle, but they only let you go on a few walls and towers.

Here is a picture of us walking in Pompei.