Posts Tagged With: Rome

Archeology and Stuff

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So, I emailed the kids’ teachers today for the first time since we left. I wanted to check in to see how what we were doing compared with what they were doing. Because if I’m honest, I don’t feel like we’re doing much. Weeks where we are on the road, nothing really gets done, and even now we are settled in one place for a few weeks, it’s hard, somehow, to make the time to do “school”. Yes, I know travelling is an education in itself, but as I think I may have mentioned before, I don’t want them to return to school feeling lost in any way. Hence the need to check in.
One teacher got back to me almost immediately with a pretty detailed run-down of what they were doing, and he happened to mention that they were doing an archeological dig in class tomorrow using rice as soil, and with real artifacts supplied by Parks Canada so they can learn how we discover information about the past. Excellent idea – what an exciting hands on lesson for a grade five class!
It occurred to me as I finished reading the email that we had been to the “Dig” archeological museum in York where our own little students had a similar experience. They were able to dig up real artifacts from York’s Roman occupation, it’s Viking era, and it’s Tudor period. I was pleased to make the connection, so I started to tell the teacher about it in my response email. Then I remembered we had also been to the current Roman excavation of Vindalanda near Hadrian’s Wall. Then I thought about our brush with The Acropolis, our tour of The Roman Colosseum, and finally our visit to ancient Akrotiri in Santorini where we actually walked on the streets that had been buried in volcanic ash for the past 3,500 years.
Then I stopped writing the email because it sounded braggy. I just deleted it and said instead that she was familiar with archeology from our trip, so she should be ok for social studies.
The great revelation for me, though, was the fact that even when I think we aren’t doing any “school”, we are, of course, doing all kinds of it. It’s just not the kind where we are in a classroom or sitting at a table. I need to make sure I remember that more often. The experiences our kids have had with just that one topic in the past two months are more than many will have in a lifetime. It reminds me how lucky they are. How lucky we are. What an amazing gift to our family and to each other this year is, despite it’s ups and downs. In fact, there aren’t really any downs, are there?

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Lot Less Luggage

My very well travelled and worldly friend Kim emailed me just as we were leaving for this trip to tell me never to leave anything we valued in the car. Well, that’s pretty difficult when your car is kind of your home, but we have tried to be careful. But now we are travelling lighter.
Our flight from Athens to Rome was delayed on Saturday, so instead of being able to go into Rome to visit the Colosseum and The Vatican, we had to stay at our airport hotel for the evening. Because of this, we decided to leave the hotel early in the morning, and see the sights before we began the drive to Nice. So, we did some research, and asked the hotel staff, and the plan we came up with was to drive as far as the outermost Metro stop (where, according to the map, there was parking), and then take the metro into the city. Hotel staff thought this was a good plan – not driving into the city avoids massive congestion charges, and we would only be leaving the car for a couple of hours. The expected parking lot didn’t actually materialize, but there was some parking on the street outside the station, so off we went.
Unfortunately, while we were touring the Colosseum and getting our picture taken with very overpriced gladiators, someone was smashing our car window and making off with the vast majority of our luggage. When we returned to our car, quite jubilant from our visit to such an amazing site, and proud of ourselves for having navigated the metro without a hitch, still in good time for the long drive to Nice, we found the back seat of the car full of glass, two out of three of our suitcases gone, and the kids backpacks too. The really heavy suitcase full of math books remained. The irony.
Now, the really bad part of this is not our clothes, cosmetics and toiletries, vitamins and medicines, shoes, bathing suits, masks and snorkels, address books, netbook, iPods, all our chargers, and all the bags, although all this is mighty inconvenient. The really bad part is the kid’s journals that they have been keeping faithfully since we left home, and their teddies that they have had since birth. This is what makes me most upset and angry. How dare they mess with our children’s security? And what use are teddy bears and journals to a thief? They could have at least thrown them out nearby so we could get them back. There were many other little things in the kids’ bags that were important to them, the things they chose to bring on this trip, as well as souvenirs from their travels so far, but because we had just returned from our “backpacking” holiday in Greece, the bags were heavy, and we didn’t want them to have to cart them around Rome. And as it was 8:30 on a Sunday morning, it seemed like it would be ok. Not so much.
We have been trying very hard to focus on the positives. It’s just stuff. We are all ok. We had the ipad, wallets, passports and cameras with us (although we can’t charge them now anyway…). The window that was smashed was a small one, and we were able to patch it up and get on our way with only a couple of hours delay at the police station. We did not lose the car. We did not lose a child. There are so many positives.
But I’m still angry sometimes. And I’m still sad sometimes. And I’m so sorry for the girls’ losses. Although, again, these are not losses compared to those they could have been. But if I could get one thing back, it would be a $20 teddy bear, not an ipod touch or my new sneakers…
Moving on.
When we finally got to Nice and found our apartment, it was about 10:30 pm and it was a dirty smelly hole. We slept with the kids, and in the morning, we left. Despite the fact we were supposed to stay for two nights. It was gross, and it wasn’t as if we were going to have fun looking around Nice in our car with the window out wearing the same dirty clothes we had on all night and the day before. We didn’t even have a toothbrush. That made the dirty apartment seem even dirtier.
So, what have we learned? What wisdom can we impart to future travellers? I’m not exactly sure, but I’m thinking, don’t go anywhere unless you can get secure parking, cover all your stuff with a blanket so it looks less tempting(?), and I’m guessing having a car without foreign plates would be good. Although that may be tricky. And possibly illegal.

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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