When we stepped out of the car along a roadside overlooking the Roman Forum and ruins, I could hardly believe my eyes. I’d seen pictures of these places in history books, and watched movies like Gladiator that showed these scenes, but nothing quite compared to the standing there and seeing it with my own eyes. I was in awe. I’m still in awe as I look at some of these pictures we snapped that day.

 

 

I stood there quietly for several minutes overlooking for the site and then began to recognize the enormity of the Forum as I noticed tiny people walking on the dirt streets below. It was truly amazing.

 

 

The Roman Forum, which for centuries was the center of Roman public life, is one of the most visited sites in the world today, attracting more than 4.5 million people annually. In a time before Christ, this was a place for processions and elections, a venue for public speeches, and the site where criminal trials were held.

 

The Forum was also the center for most commercial affairs. Statues and monuments commemorate the city’s great men and it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history.  What a privilege it was to stand there and admire such a site. The next day, we visited the Colosseum in the city center of Rome.

 

A view from inside the Colosseum.

The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering ever. Construction began on the amazing site in 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD. It is estimated it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators.

I’m amazed to think that it took fewer than 10 years to build this huge structure of travertine on the outside and tufa and brick in the interior. The main pedestals were built of marble blocks.

 

 

The Colosseum was used for staging various events, including gladiator fights, wild animal displays, theatrical entertainment, executions, religious ceremonies, mock sea battles, and re-playing famous Roman victories. We paid 12 Euro to visit the inside of the Colosseum and see this historic place where Christians and criminals were executed as midday entertainment. It’s daunting to think that more than 700,000 people died over the years in this bloody arena in the name of entertainment.

[well]This blog post is part of a series about the “20 Things We’ll Remember Most About Our Summer Vacation.” Up next: The Joy of Sidewalk Cafes. [/well]

 

  • This house-made carrot cake at the Williston Brewing Company in @visitwilliston, @NorthDakotaLegedary tastes even better than it looks! Who wants a bite of this moist cake, three layers high with fresh strawberries and caramel sauce? Um, we do.
  • One of the quirkiest stops we've ever come across is Carhenge, near Alliance, Nebraska. Over a couple of weeks, a family decided to recreate the world-famous Stonehenge out of junked cars. Using farm implements, they constructed a replica that even has a heel stone...errr...car. In so doing, they created a must-see roadside attraction for anyone traveling across the United States.
  • Ann stands next to one of the huge rocks at Toadstool Geologic Park in Nebraska. The unique geology of this park happened because a hard rocky layer sat atop a soft under layer. As the soft layer erodes, huge rocks are left standing in unique positions.
  • You gotta start somewhere...⁣
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In all journeys in life, you must start somewhere. Here we were at Mile Marker 0 in Key West about 70 pounds (between the two of us) ago. Our journey isn't over, but we're on our way to a healthier lifestyle. @noom
  • These cucumber-salmon bites were a perfect taste treat for a bridal shower Ann hosted recently. She started with a slice of cucumber, then a bit of salmon topped with a dollop of cream cheese and dill.
  • ...Why don't you come with me, little girl, on a Magic Carpet ride...⁣
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One of the most unique features of the new @celebritycruise Edge is the Magic Carpet, a platform that moves up and down the side of the ship and serves different purposes at each stop. There is something truly special about sitting directly over the sea and looking back at the ship while you sip a delicious cocktail.
  • This prosciutto pizza served overlooking the Amalfi Coast is the stuff dreams are made of. The homemade crust, hand tossed before being baked to thin perfection in a wood oven. The sauce and cheese were so fresh it brought tears to our eyes. And the prosciutto was sliced thin enough to be translucent. This is what pizza is supposed to be.
  • Cookie, cookie, cookie start with "C."⁣
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This is what we found when we walked into our beautiful room at @thepioneerwoman Boarding House after dinner at the Merc. As part of turn down service, they gave us a couple of Ree's delicious cookies, which made for a perfect end to a great day.

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