Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ostia Antica

Above is Saint Maggiore last night.  There was a huge protest march in Rome today to let the government know that the people feel that too much money is spent on the wealthy!   Yesterday they had a one day strike on transportation, including about one hundred flights that were canceled at the airport.   All in support of the protest today.   Police everywhere in riot gear; helicopters circling all day long.  This evening they are coming over our Hostel about every two minutes as the area of the protest march is about six blocks away.  We are safely tucked away in our Hostel for the evening.  I tried to get my sister Mary to cross the lines to attend six o’clock mass at Santa Marie Maggiore; we got within two blocks and she would not go any further.  We returned to the Hostel and had our dinner as we listened to the helicopters overhead.   Hopefully, this will be over long before it’s time to tuck in for the night.
We based our plans today on the fact that the protest march would affect most everything; especially transportation.   At first we planned to go by Bus to the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere; but the bus to that area wasn’t running today because of the Protest.  So we changed plans, hopped on the B Metro Line and headed towards Ostia Antica.  It was an easy half hour trip to the ancient ruins that were covered for centuries by mud and sand after the area was deserted because when the course of the Tiber River changed it became a swamp and became infested with malaria carrying mosquitos.  
  It had been a busy port town at the mouth of the River that had sixty thousand residence. 
In recent years they excavated the ancient city and it has become a tourist attraction.   One of the main attractions are the beautifully preserved mosaic tile floors.  We really enjoyed our visit this afternoon; it was several hours of walking on the ancient large stone that they used to construct their streets.
Before three o’clock we headed back for the train into Rome and decided to stop along the way at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.  One of the four churches that are considered “in the Vatican” here in Rome:  St. Peter’s, John Lateran, Maggiore and St. Paul; when in any of these buildings you are “in the Vatican”.  
One of the reasons we wanted to visit this church again was to check the number of ovals that are still empty.  There is a mosaic painting of every pope since St. Peter along the top of the walls in this church.  There are only six more ovals that are empty after they add Pope Francis who is still not up there.  Pope Benedict is in place with the exception of the date of his death which is under all the other popes.  There is also a hallo around the heads of those popes that have been named a Saint by the church.  Not many of those except for the very early years. 
They will be adding two hallo’s next spring:  Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. 
Back on the Metro we sped through the city, without stopping at some stations that were in the area of the protest; soon we were at Termini and only a short few blocks to walk home.
It’s been a busy afternoon with everyone excited about everything that’s going on around us.  It’s now after seven o’clock and the helicopters are still flying over every few minutes.  I do hope that this is over before ten o’clock; otherwise it will be a long night.
Bonnie and Jane are still out.  They spent the afternoon at the Forum and are having dinner before they return home this evening.   Hope you enjoy the slideshow:

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