At the end of our journeys through Europe, we finally arrived in rome, where I was able to fully indulge my passion for history by visiting the ruins of the Palatine, the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, and Pompeii. Given the extreme heat through which we tramped to see all this, the kids were remarkably decent about these forays into the past, with only a little complaining. Much of our time was spent seeking out the water faucets that the Romans obligingly station throughout public spaces, not just to fill our water bottles but to wet our heads and feet, soak our hats and shirts, and do anything else that might keep us cool.
I’d like to say that my fascination with ancient Rome came from a good grounding in the classics in my youth, or even from the many years I’ve taught Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in school. But really, it was awakened in the most low-brow way — by the HBO TV series Rome, which really made me eager to come here and see the traces of this great civilization. Oh well, we can’t pick and choose our sources of inspiration, but whatever inspired me, I’m glad I finally got here!