The sun rose rudely over Trastevere. Fourteen people—seven ladies, six gentlemen, and one Teddy Henderson—reluctantly rolled out of bed to prepare their apartments for their subsequent departure from Rome. Two tram stops and seventy-six steps later, we arrived at Stazione Trastevere where we were met by Professor Ulrich, his wife, and his daughter. There, we watched as our transportation arrived right on time. This moment would later be fondly recalled by Professor Ulrich as the undisputable best moment of the day.
The now seventeen of us raced to the back of the bus, eager to put our suitcases in their places and claim our precious choice of seats. Once on the bus, we were introduced to none other thanLucio our mysterious bus driver. His shaggy gray hair, silent demeanor, incredible English, and cigarette on the occasional rest stop served only to increase his enigmatic demeanor. It was as if James Dean had moved to Italy, aged like a fine wine, and resolved to drive buses.
Our first stop was Alatri, the classic hilltop Italian town. After traveling through a picturesque Italian town, it was directly in front of us: the acropolis wall circuit. Erected in the late fourth century this wall stood for centuries preserved for us to see. There at the acropolis, we observed some incredible vistas of the Italian hills which the Romans surely gazed upon themselves.
The next stop was Ferentino, again, an all-Italian town. There, we climbed and climbed, stopping only once to marvel at the Roman markets. In a manner that surely would have elicited a chortle from M.C. Escher, there were barrel vaults in barrel vaults. Farther up the hill, we learned to marvel and munch as we ate our lunch overlooking the Italian countryside. Perhaps the most interesting sight at Ferentino, though, was the bastion that overlooked the medieval town. Three walls, or at least portions of walls, dated to different times were visible to the onlooker. For those skilled in Latin, there was a particular treat available: a long Latin inscription describing the site.
The real treat for all the students, however, was Terracina. The famed site of an oracle, many students—led by one, more handsome and daring student—put their ears to the hole where the priests reportedly received their prophecies in hopes of hearing something interesting. The most stunning part seemed to be the substructures of the terrace. All were taken aback by the interesting, functional, and very beautiful barrel vaulting used to support the large structure.
That night, many bright-eyed and excited students waded into the wine-dark sea to watch the sunset and quite literally get their feet wet. Soon after dinner came and went and one young Italian-American wrote this blog. Meta.
Photos (alla Jiyoung):
Kathleen and Bridget-Kate are excited for the first day of the road trip!
Francesca is a lucky girl.
The beautiful view from Alatri
Jin and Teddy enjoy some downtime on the playground.
Prof. Ulrich leads the group onwards without even looking back to see if we are following him
Classic Italian backyard. Looks like Mr. Teddy Bear is getting some air after a nice bath.
Brett is displeased with the photographer. Aaron wears a flower crown, most likely Bridget-Kate's.
After a long and winding road, our bus parks at the foot of the archeological site in Terracina.
Jin takes notes on the Temple of Jupiter Anxur.
Lucas casually poses on a wall of opus incertum.
Cara is in love with this view of the Mediterranean
Liz feels adventurous on the top of the cliff in Terracina.
Thomas stops to gaze into the horizon
Our home for the night. Beach hotel!
Jiyoung and Cara walk along the beach and enjoy the sunset before dinner.
Bridget-Kate walks off into the sunset.