What a day! Well I should actually begin by saying our night was a restful one with a solid 8 hours from most of us. Aaron slept, as near as I could calculate, about 20.
I was up around 7 AM and took a walk around our neighborhood to snoop and site see. It is definately a working class place with not much in the way of culture, but it was fun to people watch. Anyone that has traveled with me knows that my method includes getting lost and making new and interesting discoveries. Well, I did not happen upon anything covert or particularly noteworthy, but I did find a morning market selling fresh produce. I saw some of the biggest asparagus ever.
Following a light breakfast of toast and apricot jelly we boarded the local bus and took a twenty minute ride to the city center. All I can say about seeing Rome for the first time is – wow. (yes, I know that is not a very academic word coming from a guy that is suppose to be on a study leave, but…well, wow!)
We wandered around Rome for the next six hours just trying to understand how the streets are laid out and its patterns – there are no patterns in Rome. We enjoyed a great lunch of pasta dishes and pizza followed by the great European dessert – gellato!
At 4 we joined Dr. Michael Scwartz, another faculty from Augusta State University and nine college students and toured several churches, including the great Pantheon. I have read and studied Carvaggio, Raphael, Bernnini and other great Italian artists, but to see their works in person is an indescribable experience. After spending time in the Pantheon, for example, it was very clear that the talented architects who designed our sanctuary were very indebted to this inspiring structure.
Michael Schwartz is in his element making Rome his classroom. What is interesting is that he takes us into churches that no one would think to look and around the corner we are staring at a beautiful work above the altar (or on the ceiling, or some nook or cranny).Clark has participated heartily in the discussions and Aaron has been indulgent. When boredom gets the better of him he finds a seat in one of the pews and prays (or maybe he is sleeping, but either way it works for him).
We have done much walking today and this is only our first full day in the city. Hopefully we will work off some of this gellato. We got back to our apartment at ten and in a few minutes I am going to call this day over.
I am grateful and inspired to be in the city that I have studied and longed to see. Each day is an inspiration and each day reminds me the blessing of being part of First Baptist Church.
Peace be with you,