Saturday, September 7, 2013

a day in augusta raurica

(note: this is the second of a series of posts I'm writing about Switzerland and the places I've been. Solely for the purpose of having fun (and to exercise my travel writing skills) I'm going to write about it in second person. Which means you, the reader, are semi-virtually coming with me. bring good shoes.)

You've just come from dance class, and your host mom wants to know whether you'd like to visit some Roman ruins tonight. To be completely honest, you aren't particularly enthusiastic about the idea. Instead, you're tired, hungry, and ready to sleep... but Switzerland waits for no man, and you don't want to miss a thing here. So you dig out your Converse and your trusty camera. Augusta Raurica, here we come!

Augusta Raurica is the oldest known Roman colony on the Rhine (according to all-knowing Wikipedia, that is) and was founded around 44 BC. The entire colony encompassed all of Canton Basel and a bit more, but it was significantly damaged by an earthquake and some other Roman troops. The parts you're going to are the theater and the main forum.

 Later on your host parents will take you to an Italian pizza restaurant. You'll eat some really delicious pizza, because of course no one makes pizza like the Italians, and you'll have your first drink of Rivella. It's like soda, but with the faint tang of Smarties and the fizziness of sparkling apple cider. (Your enjoyment of this drink will dip slightly once you read the label and discover that it's made of milk serum--what IS that??--but it's pretty delicious.) Meanwhile, you've got all the Roman ruins to explore.

You walk around, take pictures, pose in front of the baths, do all the normal touristy things that touristy people do in touristy places. And then the sun starts to go down and everyone leaves. So it's just you, with the stones and the ivy and the thoughts in your brain.

The fact that you're standing in something so big and old... walking on stones that were laid way before your time... touching the same walls that people touched thousands of years before... it's crazy. Something so long ago and far away.

And yet standing in the half-light of dusk, the night beginning to settle around your feet and the hum of the city lost... you feel so close.
And so you close your eyes.

and you listen to the stories around you.

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