May 17, 2009
Editor's note: During the Notre Dame women's basketball team's 10-day foreign tour of Europe, sophomore forward Kellie Watson is filing a daily diary with Michael Rothstein of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. Following are Watson's thoughts on the trip with a link to her entry also available on the Journal-Gazette's web site.
We were able to sleep in a bit this morning, which was perfect because we needed rest before our walking tour of Rome. We began with breakfast in our hotel: we saw scrambled eggs for the first time since France. We left the hotel at 10 a.m. and walked straight to the Colosseum to meet our tour guide, Giancarlo.
On our way to the Colosseum, we walked past a race for Susan G. Komen For The Cure breast cancer event. I have never seen so many people in one place. We saw people's race numbers as high as 40,000. It was amazing!
When we got to the Colosseum, Giancarlo began by walking us around the outside of the building, and told us a ton of fun facts. We learned that "Colosseum" isn't the actual name of the structure - it's actually called the Flavian Amphitheater. We also learned that it was a free show, but seating in the structure was according to class. The rich and "important" sat closest to the arena floor, while the poor sat close to the top. There was room in the facility for approximately 50,000 people. We were then set free to take pictures of the Amphitheater, and many of us scaled two flights of steps to get a better view of the arena floor.
Gathering us up to head out of the theater, Giancarlo took us to the Roman Forum. Apparently, many of the Roman ruins are buried 20 feet under the city. Giancarlo said that for every 100 years, you can account for one foot of dirt and dust. This would explain why we had to descend stairs to walk through the Forum, which had been excavated many years before.
Once we reached the bottom, we could see where Julius Caesar was cremated by the people of Rome, and where Marc Antony gave his famous "funeral" speech. We also saw a newer church, with its entrance door 20 feet above our heads, since it was built before the excavation of the Forum. Then, we climbed back up to the present and headed to see more ruins and the world's first "shopping mall."
After we were set free to explore Rome on our own, we went to see the world famous Trevi Fountain. It was so much bigger than I had imagined. Water was running over rocks and giant horses emerged from the water with riders on their backs. There were probably 200 people sitting on and around the fountain. According to tradition, you are supposed to throw two coins into the fountain with your right hand, but over your left shoulder. The first represents a trip back to Rome, and the second represents any wish you would like.
After that, we got lunch, which ended up being pizza again. Murphy McGraw (Coach's son) and I got a pizza that looked like a pulled chicken pizza. After about three bites, we realized it was tuna and artichoke. It was very, very good, but we both agreed it was a one-time thing. Then, after another bit of shopping, we headed back to our hotel to get a little rest before dinner this evening.
As we were about to head out to dinner, we made a pit stop in the hotel restaurant to celebrate Ashley Barlow's 21st birthday with a delicious cake. We then headed out to dinner, where we ordered lasagna and pizzas.
We had an extremely long day. All of our walking added up to around six hours all together. We are all extremely tired and need to rest and sleep in for our 7:45 a.m. run in Rome tomorrow morning.
I'll be writing to you about The Vatican tomorrow ... GO IRISH!!