Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Grumpy Cat and Thunderstorm

Ostia Antica, Italy

Ostia was the port for Rome in the time of the Roman Empire. The first thing you saw upon entry was the necropolis - where they kept their dead in tombs and in urns. The urns were long gone but the buildings remained, with the alcoves inside walls to keep the urns in. I decided I wanted a picture of this after the fact, but as you will see, we had to make a hasty exit from Ostia. 
It had all that every regular Roman town had, including a theatre for entertainment. 

It was very open and you could wander around most of the buildings. We walked up a staircase from the street into what used to be an apartment building and got a good second story view. 

There was a cafe on site with a bit of a grumpy cat who liked to sit on chairs and groom his fur. At one point a woman went into the gift shop and he made to go in after her, but she shut the door without seeing him. He sat and stared at the door gloomily. 

Some floor mosaics were very well preserved. Even where they weren't decorated, there were plain floor tiles as small as the ones used in mosaics. At one point we walked over what I thought was gravel, but it was a walkway of those little tiles, all stirred up. 

Of course they had baths, being a place for Romans, and there was the usual hot bath, tepid bath and cold bath. 

Much of the brickwork was visible, the plaster and marble facade being long gone in most places.

It was at about this time that we saw the clouds. As we were nearly finished anyway, we started to head back but took our time about it. We didn't want to rush, by any means. 

A temple with a mostly intact altar down the front and an off-centre swimming pool. (Or more likely decorative pool not for swimming in. I can imagine a Roman sign saying 'Do Not Put Feet in Pool'.)

This was the last photo we got before the rain began. A large set of latrines, well preserved because they were made of stone rather than the more typical wood.
We ran to the car, shoeless as our rubber jandals were sliding everywhere. We slammed the car doors shut and though it was pouring down, it was still very hot and as we dried ourselves with our towels, we began to sweat. Yannick had cut his toe in the maelstrom so we patched it up and drove like a bat out of hell (at least, as fast as a bat can go while blinking streams of water out of its eyes and taking utmost care not to be involved in an accident). 

We joined back up with the main road, and it was quite crowded with people trying to get away. The roads did not have proper drainage (tsk) and it was like we were driving through a very long puddle. 

Or you could call it a small sea.