Friday, June 8, 2007

June 8 ~ Avenches

Today was Avenches, or Aventicum as the Romans called it. There was a castle and an amphitheater (pic below). The castle is 12th century, I believe, while the amphitheater is 1st century. So the town is more of a mix of time periods.

After the tour of the theater etc we were taken by the guide about a mile outside the city to a quiet area of the countryside. There were ruins there from a Roman parliament, dating to about the time of Christ. There was a mini-theater there, where you could stand on this rock where the acoustics were still prime. You could whisper and your voice would bounce off of the steps 30 feet away, and echo back into both of your ears. It reminded me of talking into a P.A. with monitors. It was that loud. Really cool.

I'm learning with each town we visit that Switzerland was very central to the early European travelers. All European cultures have roots with, and most have had some ownership over parts of, the Switzerland countryside. Rome used this Aventicum area as a gathering place for its chiefs and leaders from the surrounding areas. So the ruins and artifacts are plentiful here. The farmers find really cool stuff, just from tilling their fields (just a few years ago they found an intact solid gold bust buried at an old site, one of only 3 in the world, or something like that). Our guide finds Roman coins and sells them to the students at a "discounted" rate. Whether or not that discount is legit I've yet to prove, but either way, I took advantage and bought a coin from him for about 15$ US. It's from the 300's and is a Roman coin giving tribute to the emperor Constantine (example photo below). Constantine was the "first" Roman emperor to be a Christian. He put a stop to the people letting the bears and lions tear Christians up in the coliseums. What a nice guy eh? So that was the coin that related the most to me.

Enough for tonight. For those that are emailing me, remember that I'm 8 hours ahead of you. When you get to work, I'm usually on a train ride home for the evening.

Tomorrow is Geneva, one of the most well known cities of Switzerland.

Castle and Coliseum
Last Standing Column

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