Sunday, April 25, 2004

My Class Goes to Ostia! (by Sarah)

SIENA (#45)

This Tuesday, I went with my class on a field trip to Ostia. It was really exciting for my class because last year, they didn’t have any field trips. So it was a big deal and everyone was totally psyched. See pictures from Ostia here.

We met in the parking lot near school at 6:30 am. I had to wake up around 5 so I could get ready and then walk there. I was pretty tired. Our bus left pretty much on time, and we were off to Ostia! It took about four hours to get there, so it was a great time to talk to all my friends, and just relax. We spoke lots of English and Italian. I had my music with me so I was able to let a lot of kids listen and I got to hear more of their Italian music. It was really fun. We only made one stop at a gas station where there was also a bar, so everyone got off and went to the bathroom and got food. Francesco had been complaining the whole bus ride about how hungry he was. We asked him why he didn’t eat breakfast, but it turns out he ate two sandwiches right before he got on the bus!!

We arrived at Ostia Antica at around 11. We met our tour guide (after kids got more to eat) and he started showing us around. He had a really strong accent and talked extremely fast, so it was very hard to understand anything that he was talking about. Even the other kids were lost by his quick speech. I asked them what a few things were, but they had no idea because they weren’t listening either! So I decided to listen as hard as I could and take pictures, and then do more research once I got home.

Ostia’s main function was acting as a seaport for Rome. Ostia was created in around the 4th Century BC. It's location was about 20 miles from Rome and in between the Tiber River and Tyrrhenian Sea. It was meant to be a military colony to guard the river mouth against seaborne invasions. But later on, practically all imports reached the Capital via the Tiber, and so Ostia gained prominence as the domestic landing for cargo boats. By the 2nd century AD, Osita was a thriving commercial center with over 100,000 people living in it. All of their homes, apartments, and shops are still intact today. When Rome fell, Ostia and it's port were also attacked. As time went by, Ostia was pretty much deserted until excavations of the ancient city began in the twentieth century.

When our tour of the ancient city was over, it was already around 2 pm! Of course everyone (especially Francesco) had been complaining for the past three hours about how hungry they were, so then we finally ate, We went to a bar that was part of the tourist side of Ostia. We all had our little “panini” (sandwiches) that we brought from home, and we all bought gelato (ice cream) from the bar too! So after the feast, everyone was basically satisfied, (except for you know who… yup, Francesco.) we got back on the bus and drove to Villa Adriano which is nearby to Ostia.

Villa Adriano is the ruins of the emperor Adriano’s house. Villa Adriano is said to be the grandest Roman villa that ever existed. Emperor Adriano (Hadrian) designed it and had it built sometime during the 2nd century AD. Unfortunately, we had to rush through the tour of Adriano, and saw only about one fourth of the planned visit. It was still absolutely gorgeous. See pictures.

On the way back to the bus, we ran into yet another bar where everyone had to stop and buy more food. We then got back on the bus (I think it was around 4:30 pm). Our estimated time to get back home was 8:30, and now it was looking more like 9:30, because we also had to stop at an Autogrill (which is kind of like a nice gas station for restrooms and food, of course!) on the highway and we had to go through traffic and so it was not looking too good. No one even thought about skipping the food and getting back on time; it was just unheard of! We stopped at the Autogrill and everyone got more food and had a little rest and then got back on the bus again.

I was feeling a little homesick. I brought a lot of my pictures with me, so I took them out and was telling my new Italian friends all about my friends back at home, which was totally cool.

We arrived back at the parking lot around 9:45 and I met dad and we walked home. I was totally exhausted. The field trip was interesting, although it was extremely based on food, which was hilarious to me, but a way of life for everyone else. I had a wonderful time, and lots of memories were made that day in Ostia that I will never forget!

COMMENTS from the original blog

2004-05-03 13:07:0645 markd
Re: My Class Goes to Ostia!
Are you sure this wasn't a ""food"" trip instead of a field trip?
Sounds like you are having a great time - I am enjoying the stories.


2004-05-05 14:01:03 stefano
Re: My Class Goes to Ostia and EATS OFTEN
Funny you should pick up on this, Mark.  Sarah calls it "food-o-centrism" as in the following sentence: "I wish this family wasn't so food-o-centric."  For a little while I worried that we were in danger of becoming hair-o-centric but -- even though Sarah bought an iron to straighten her hair just yesterday -- I think we have that under control.

What's the matter with being food-o-centric anyway????

2004-05-06 10:19:05 Barbara
Re: My Class Goes to Ostia!
Your account really makes me want to visit Ostia Antica the next time I go to Rome.  A friend with a strong archeological interest says Ostia is next to Pompeii in historical interest in Italy.  Your photos of Ostia and the villa were super.

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