Monday, April 6, 2015

Why Ostia Antica is Epic

About a thirty minute train ride from the main train depot in Rome, lies an almost unused station.  This station is a stop or two before a much nicer and well policed station for Ostia, which is an awesome little tourist/beach area that allows for people to take a quick dip to escape some of the summer heat.  If the beach is the playground for any sane person during a hot Roman summer, Ostia Antica is where the history nerds conglomerate.  While most of the train system in and around Rome leaves a lot to be desired, Ostia Antica station takes the cake.  Nothing says public transit like crumbling bricks, random dogs, and an abundance of plants growing where they probably were not intended on the architectural proposal.  

Besides the absolutely crappy greeting, you are met with one of about two people you will see on your day trip to this location.  The first will be an overly surly ticket taker.  This person only exists to charge you a small amount of money and get mad if you do not have the exact amount needed.  They have realized that they have reached their pinnacle in life and have decided to take it out on the dozen or so tourists that venture into their realm daily.  The second is the depressing graduate student who hovers near the entrance offering tid-bits of knowledge to try and get you to buy a tour.  I am sure the tour is very enlightening, but when you have to start a conversation with some sort of teaser and then leave a person hanging for the answer unless they pay you, you are just an asshole.  It felt like those infomercials out of Starship Troopers that always ended with "would you like to know more?" 

After you meet these two people, paying off the first and ditching the other like a chump, you are free to do anything you want.  There are no rules.  It is basically free access to an open archaeological pit, where everything is still exposed, the ruins date back 2,000 years, and no one is there to yell at you for running.  If you have ever been scolded in a museum or display for wanting to touch an object, this place is your chance to get even.  Touch everything!  Climb shit!  Sit on everything!  Why not?

Totally Touched Everything!

Sure, you should probably not touch everything, but no one is going to yell at you!  It is your chance.  This is your moment, live!

Just do your best to not go too nuts on touching things.  There are a multitude of reasons to keep your hands a bit in check.  The first is that you totally can wander into an old Roman communal bathroom.  I do not care if it has not been used for 2,000 years, no way in hell I am going to be touching that!  I highly doubt they had bleach back then.  The second is that most countries really lack in a few safety codes.  Now of course, you are walking around old ruins, so parts of them might be a bit dangerous or just on the slightly unstable side normal.  Much like the author of this blog.  Slightly on the unstable side or normal.  Sorry, I digress...

  Seems Safe...

Also, take note of the fact that open archaeological pits do exist.  Yes, they are calling for you to play with them.  Enjoy.  

Also Seems Safe

Besides all of the amazing things you can see explore, you can also get some feel of how people lived a few thousand years ago.  Explore an amphitheater, walk through a few houses, explore some alleyways, and realize that people back then were not much different than we are today.  Smellier, yes, but other than that, just the same.  Also, just like today, people loved leaving major appliance that they were no longer using in the front yard...

First Century Slobs

So, the moral of the story is this, clean up your damn yard.  Two thousand years from now, do you want your house to be remembered by some asshole college grad students for being the place that has two rusted cars, and an old washing machine in the front yard?  If you are reading this blog, that answer is obviously yes.  Welcome to the club.