Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 6: Ravenna

Before we left for Italy, we had a family gathering with the Asplunds in Orem for Father's Day. As we visited, John's sister, Kirsti, told us that we couldn't go to Italy without visiting Ravenna. It hadn't been discussed on any of our family emails when we were planning where we wanted to go while there, so I wasn't sure we'd be able to fit it in. At our family meeting, I brought it up and Mom said that our trip to Italy wouldn't be complete without going to see the mosaics in Ravenna. So it was decided that we would go on Monday. We met in the lobby after breakfast (I had the same thing every morning--croissant with Nutella and a mango/orange-type juice) and left for the train station (the picture taken of the piazza on Days 4 and 5 is us heading off to Ravenna).
The train was great--a double-decker with awesome air conditioning. Most of our trips were about an hour long, and this was a pleasant ride.

Isaac entertained us with his mask from Mexico a la Nacho Libre.

Ellie took a turn as well.
The streets were beautiful and clean, some of our favorite on the trip.

We took off walking to see the Basilica of San Vitale, an amazing Byzantine church completed in 548 A.D. It is the only major church from the period of Emperor Justinian to survive virtually intact. No pictures that we took can capture even a smidgen of what our eyes took in, but here are a few.
We went from the Basilica to the Mausoleum which was maybe 50 yards away. This was completely dark inside except for a few very small lights and the natural light coming in through a few marble "windows" in the entryway walls.

As it was lunch time, we took off for a little eatery on the way to our next stop, the Baptistry. We got separated from the Clawson group, thinking they would be following right behind. As we were eating and I stepped away to have Pat talk to Isaac on the phone, Maggie got a bit of a surprise. John noticed out of the corner of his eye a slug that had crawled out of her sandwich and onto her plate. Needless to say, her appetite was immediately diminished and she gave up her sandwich for a pre-packaged ice cream cone!

The walk to the Arian Baptistry was noneventful except for a couple making out in the little park by it. Ellie kept muttering under her breath, "Get a room!" and Griffin kept talking about how disgusting it was, trying to cover my eyes the whole time. (He does the same thing in movies and I can't figure out why he thinks he has to cover my eyes.) This building was so peaceful that I could have stayed for a while, but we had one more stop to make before catching our train home.

The Palace of Theodoric was our final stop. I'm sad to say that the majority of our pictures from here were blurry, so I've pulled some pictures from some other family members.

If we had the opportunity, I think John and I would spend a week just in Ravenna. Again, a camera can't capture what your eyes and brain can hardly comprehend. As Kirsti said, the trip wouldn't have been complete with this trip to Ravenna.

If you want detailed information on these structures, they are all listed in Wikipedia by typing in "Ravenna" and looking under the "Main Sights" heading.

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