Sunday, April 29, 2018

Via Appia Antica

On our 4th day in Rome, still struggling with the jet lag, we finally ventured out beyond the local supermercados and such. A veteran of four years of Latin (Vicki had two), first with Mr. Scott and then mostly with Mrs. Henry, and then listening rapturously to Respighi's Pines of Rome, and especially its "Pines of the Appian Way" (the Toscanini version always the best) from the 11th grade on (thank you, Rev. Bragg), I was keen to march a few miles along the Appian Way, the Via Appia Antica. The roadway is 2,300 years old, paved over innumerable times, no doubt, but still sports the incredible assortment of shrines, churches, tombs, catacombs, and such that make it famous, even in our day. It was the first Roman highway, "the queen of the long roads," enabling the legions to march south in a hurry if needed, begun in 312 BC and named for its founder, the Censor and later Consul Appius Claudius Caecus. On Sundays, the City of Rome limits motorized traffic to just residents and tour buses, and one can walk the Way some distance. Our fatigue and the heat of the day limited us to just the first three miles. Alas, beyond that point, the traffic really thins out and, I have read, the Way becomes nearly rural. Next time...
Prato Smeraldo, where we are camped, is on the far south
side of the city, on the Via Ardeatina, and thus it was
expedient, we thought, to take the bus cross-wise to the
Via Appia Antica, rather than the Metro into the city and
back out; and so it worked out, after an hour searching
for the transfer point between routes 720 and 218

The San Sebastian Portal on the ancient city wall; it is the largest of the wall's
portals; rebuilt five times over the centuries

And we're off

As elsewhere in Rome, free, clean water; bring your own plastic bottles; Appius
Claudius also was responsible for the first great Roman aquaducts

The first big sight along the Way is the church of Quo Vadis, where Peter, hoping
to make a clean get-away and not get crucified, ran into Jesus, who shamed him
into returning; "quo vadis" means "Jeez, what are you doing here?!"

The church stands on the spot where J and P met; the above stone, a replica, 
reputedly has J's footprints (size 9.5 wide); the original stone is at the Vatican 
Museum; several nuns were visiting,  photographing and then kissing the 
stone, sort of a Blarney Stone moment, I guess

Hugely symbolic interior decor

Random unidentified ancient shrine

Along the Appian Way

Pines of the Appian Way; actually there were more cedars than than pines; plus
three excellent garden centers

Cacti of the Appian Way; outside a large old building,
someone's incredible collection of perhaps a hundred mature
and varied specimens

Entrance to the catacombs of San Sebastian; we did the  catacomb thing back in
1979, we think; and still have our little clay oil lamp souvenirs (in a box in

Part of the villa and circus and mausoleum of the emperor Maxentius; had it
been Trajan or Hadrian or Augustus, or even Claudius, we might have gone in

Free admission this day, but we were fading quickly in the heat

Best of the mausoleums, that of Caecelia Metella, wife of Crassus' son, late


The Way ahead, largely pedestrian; but we were pooped

And mile marker III was as far as we got this

We lifted our spirits with a nice light lunch at the Garden of Giulia and Fratelli;
and then headed back

An ancient arch just inside the Portal San Sebastian

Christian graffiti

And a bit of the huge Aurelian Wall

Friday, April 27, 2018

Return To Rome, 2018

We celebrated P's actual birthday on April 23rd, and on April 24th, Lufthansa jetted us first to Hot Dog City and then to Rome, where we brought Le Duc out of storage and are camped once more at Prato Smeraldo, near EUR/Laurentina, our home in Rome. Le Duc had a dead battery, unsurprisingly, but everything else seemed fine. We'll spend the next several days seeing a few Roman sites, awaiting our appointment for some automotive work, provisioning, making a few improvements on the camper, and dealing with the usual jet lag. Our spring campaign in Europe this year will include southern Italy, especially the Bay of Naples, Sicily, celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary in Malta, and then the north when it gets warmer, the Dolomites or possibly Courmayeur or beyond.
Me and P, in her Lady Macbeth dress
(Will's birthday too); me in my retro
70s Joe Namath shirt; at Rick's Rich
Ice Cream in Palo Alto; everybody
comes to Rick's

And another departure photo; thank you, Rebecca and
Jeremy for the hospitality, and for sharing your
wonderful daughter

Disney History

Sadly, I keep trying to have a humanities experience at the various Disney Places...reflecting on the whys, hows, and wherefores. Few of the rides and attractions lend themselves to such things, but there were a few places where a bit of history breaks through...
At the Steakhouse 55, two large rooms of great old Hollywood photos; Will
Rogers with a very young Walt; Rogers died in 1935

Remember how great...?

Orson Welles and ...?

At the Soarin' ride, one of scores of great old aviation scenes

At a small arcade, nearly lost on Main Street, six of the earliest
cartoons on continuous display; P was fascinated with these

And at another arcade, mostly a gift shoppe, some more historical exhibits of

Helpful model of the original 1955 campus; a fraction of what is there now

Actually, there were rather few of us viewing the historical video; next time we're
in Middle California, in August, I plan to visit the Disney Family Museum at the
Presidio, where, I am told, all the history, and reflection, resides

Disneyland Scenes, 2018, 2

Continuing the documentation of our April visit to Disneyland...
We spent a good bit of one day in the California Adventure, me marveling at all
the Art Deco re-enactors


In case you can't make it to Yosemite, you can still enjoy all the majesty of
California's great national parks at Disneyland

The Soarin' ride had a great display of aviation history; here, Hitler's favorite
American; while in line, I kept wondering what (Soren) Kierkegaard would have
thought of Disneyland

Geyser land ride...wait a second, wasn't that Yellowstone, not Yosemite?

Art Deco street

They waited more than 30 minutes to get on this ride

Which lasted this long

On the Route 66 Cars ride

Through the American southwest



Mysterious new construction

More flora

Grizzly Peak

Art deco entrance to California Adventure


Waiting for the Pixar parade in California Adventure

Our campsite at the Anaheim Harbor RV Park

What it was all about