How Rome Does Revenge

The Disaster

Publius Quinctilius Varus, a noble from a Patrician family who wasPublius Quinctilius Varus related to the Imperial family, was a general and an experienced administrative official. He was assigned to consolidate the new province of Germania in the autumn of 6 AD.

Then nearly half of all Roman legions in existence were sent to the Balkans to end a revolt. Due to this massive redeployment of available legions, when Varus was named Legatus Augusti pro praetore in Germania, only three legions were available to him.

Varus’s forces included his three legions (Legio XVII, Legio XVIII, and Legio XIX), six cohorts of auxiliary troops and three alae. Most lacked combat experience, especially against Germanic fighters in the unique local conditions of Germania.

The Roman forces were not marching in combat formation, and a large numbers of camp followers were traveling with the soldiers. As they entered the forest northeast of Osnabrück, the road became narrow and muddy. To add to the problems, a violent storm had also arisen. Among other errors it appears that Varus also neglected to send reconnaissance parties ahead of the main body of troops.

The line was now stretched out between 15 and 20 kilometers, which made it ripe for an attack. Germanic warriors armed with light swords, large lances and narrow-bladed short spears took advantage at this moment. The tribesmen surrounded the entire Roman army, and showered all sorts of weapons down upon the vulnerable Romans.

After taking heavy losses, the Romans had managed to set up a fortified night camp. The next morning these Roman survivors broke out into the open country north of the Wiehen Hills, again taking heavy losses. As torrential rains pounded, a further Roman attempt to escape was attempted by marching through another forested area. The rain prevented the legions from using their bows because the wet sinew strings had become slack, and their waterlogged shields rendered them virtually defenseless.

The Romans undertook a night march to escape, but marched into another trap that Arminius had set. A sandy, open strip was left for the Romans to march on, constricted by a hill, with a gap of only about 100 meters, the woods and the Battle of Teutoburg Forestswampland. The road was further blocked by a trench, and an earthen wall had been built along the roadside by the forest edge. This all permitted the Germanic tribesmen to attack the Romans from cover. The Romans made a desperate attempt to storm the wall, but failed.

The highest-ranking officer next to Varus, Legatus Numonius Vala, abandoned the troops by riding off with the cavalry. His retreat was in vain though as Vala was overtaken by the Germanic cavalry and killed shortly thereafter. The Germanic warriors stormed the field and slaughtered the crumbling Roman forces. Varus committed suicide, and Praefectus Ceionius dishonorably surrendered, later taking his own life. Praefectus Eggius was the only one to die heroically as he attempted to save his doomed troops.

Roman casualties have been estimated at 15,000 to 20,000 dead, and many of the officers were said to have taken their own lives by falling on their swords in the approved manner. Tacitus wrote that many officers were sacrificed by the Germanic forces as part of their indigenous religious ceremonies, cooked in pots and their bones used for rituals. Others were ransomed, and some common soldiers appear to have been enslaved.

All Roman accounts stress the completeness of the Roman defeat. Around 6,000 pieces of Roman equipment were found at Kalkriese, with only part of a single Germanic spur, clearly indicate minimal Germanic losses. The victors, more than likely, removed the bodies of their fallen and buried their warriors in battle gear per their religious practice.

The victory was followed by a clean sweep of all Roman forts, garrisons and cities east of the Rhine. The pair of Roman legions left in Germania, commanded by Varus’s nephew Lucius Nonius Asprenas, remained content to try to hold that river. One fort, Aliso,Teutoburg Forest fended off the Germanic tribes for a few months. After the situation became untenable, the garrison under Lucius Caedicius, accompanied by survivors of Teutoburg Forest, broke through the siege and reached the Rhine.

Upon hearing of the defeat, the Emperor Augustus, according to the Roman historian Suetonius, in De vita Caesarum (On the Life of the Caesars), was so shaken that he stood butting his head against the walls of his palace, repeatedly shouting:

“Quintili Vare, legiones redde!“ (Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!)

Give Me Back My Legions

The legion numbers XVII and XIX were not used again by the Romans, unlike other legions that were reconstructed. Augustus’ Tiberiusstepson Tiberius took effective control, and prepared for the continuation of the war. Legio II Augusta, XX Valeria Victrix, and Legio XIII Gemina were sent to the Rhine to replace the lost legions.

Arminius sent Varus’s severed head to King Maroboduus of the Marcomanni, the other most powerful Germanic ruler, with the offer of an anti-Roman alliance. Maroboduus declined, sending the head to Rome for burial, remaining neutral throughout the ensuing war.

The Retribution

Though the shock at the slaughter was enormous, the Romans immediately began a slow, systematic process of preparing for the reconquest of the country. In 14 AD, just after Augustus’s death and the accession of his stepson Tiberius as heir, a massive raid wasGermanicus1 conducted by the new emperor’s nephew Germanicus.

In a surprise attack, Germanicus went after the Marsi. Other Germanic tribes were incited by the Roman attack and ambushed Germanicus on the way to the winter quarters. This was a bad decision for these other tribes because all were defeated by Germanicus and all had heavy losses.

With a large army of between 55,000 to 70,000 men, backed by naval forces, two major campaigns and several smaller battles came about in 15 AD. In the spring, Legatus Caecina Severus invaded the Marsi a second time with around 30,000 men, causing mayhem and destruction.

Meanwhile on Mount Taunus, Germanicus’s 30,000 some troops had built a fort from where they marched against the Chatti. Many of the Chatti fled across a river and hid themselves in the forests. Germanicus next marched on Mattium and burned the place down.

After initial successful skirmishes in summer 15 AD, including the capture of Arminius’s wife Thusnelda, the army visited the site of the disastrous Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. According to Tacitus, they found heaps of bleached bones and severed skulls nailed to trees, which they buried, “…looking on all as kinsfolk and of their own blood…” A Roman Legionary Standard from the lost battle was also recovered.

Roma e i barbari a Venezia

Skirmishes with the Germani were constant but the Romans could not draw them into open battle. Germanicus launched a massive assault on the heartland of the Cherusci. Arminius initially lured Germanicus’s cavalry into a trap and inflicted minor casualties.

Successful fighting by the Roman infantry caused though the Germans to break ranks and flee into the forest. This victory, combined with the fact that winter was fast approaching, meant Germanicus’s next step was to lead his army back to its winter quarters on the Rhine.

Germanicus2In spite of doubts on the part of his uncle, Emperor Tiberius, Germanicus managed to raise another huge army and invaded Germania again in 16 AD. He forced a crossing of the Weser River and then met Arminius’s army at Idistaviso, further up the Weser.

This engagement is called the Battle of the Weser River; it has also been referred to as the first Battle of Minden or the Battle of Idistavisus. The battle marked the end of a three-year series of campaigns by Germanicus in Germania.

The Germanic tribes generally avoided open large-scale combat but by repeated Roman incursions deep into Germanic territory, Germanicus was able to force Arminius the Germanic coalition, into response for one final battle fought at the Angivarian Wall.Germanicus

Germanicus’s leadership, command qualities, and superior tactics were put on display as his better trained legions, along with their Chauci auxiliaries, inflicted huge casualties on the Germani army with only minor losses.

The many Germanic fatalities once more forced the tribes to flee. Arminius and his uncle, Inviomerus, evaded capture and fled with the remnants of their army into the forests. Germanicus then withdrew behind the Rhine for the winter.

The Outcome

E0702 PILOTY WAF771Although only a small number of soldiers died it was still a bad ending for a brilliantly fought campaign. After a few more raids across the Rhine, which resulted in the recovery of two of the three legion’s aquila lost in 9 AD, a feeling came that Roman honor had been avenged.

Tiberius called an end to the costly military campaigns in northern Germania. Germanicus was ordered to return to Rome, where he was granted a Triumphus by Tiberius on 26 May 17 AD. Arminius would be later assassinated on the orders of rival Germanic chiefs.Germanicus Triumph

The Romans took any assault on themself, or on their Empire, quite personally. So it was no shock that after a massive defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest there would be a price for their enemies to pay. That price was paid to Germanicus.

We hope you enjoyed this bit of history and may have even learned something new today. From all of us here at Rome Across Europe, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!



Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar

Bosnia has been inhabited since at latest the Neolithic Age, with the earliest of people here known as the Illyrians. Historical evidence for this period is scarce, but it appears the region was populated by a number of different peoples speaking distinct languages. Conflict between the Illyrians and Romans started in 229 BC.

In what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rome fought one of its most difficult battles since the Punic Wars. This Roman campaign was known in history as the Great Illyrian Revolt. This uprising of the Illyrians against the Romans was a revolt against Tiberius‘s attempt to recruit them for his war against the Germanic tribes.

The Illyrians put up a fierce resistance to the most powerful army on earth at the time from 6 AD to 9 AD. This was when Rome finally completed its occupation of the region. In the Roman period, Latin-speaking settlers from the entire Roman Empire settled among the Illyrians, and Roman soldiers were encouraged to retire in the region.

Following the split of the Roman Empire between 337 and 395 AD, Dalmatia and Pannonia became parts of the Western Roman Empire. By the 6th century, Emperor Justinian had reconquered the area for the Byzantine Empire. Evidence of Roman occupation was discovered beneath the present town of Mostar.

Till we visit our next Worl Heritage Site, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Arch of Augustus – Susa, Italy

The architecture of the ancient world has been an inspiration that has lasted throughout the centuries. The styles, shapes, and reason a piece was built have modern-day people gather to see these pieces that paid homage to the ancients. Come join Rome Across Europe today as we venture to Italy and examine one such lasting design.

Susa was founded by the Gauls, but it voluntarily became part of theThe city of Susa, Italy. Roman Empire in the late 1st Century BC . Remains of the Roman city have been found in the excavations of the central square, the Piazza Savoia. Susa was the capital of the province of Alpes Cottiae . According to the medieval historian Rodulfus Glaber, Susa was “the oldest of Alpine towns”.

Arco_di_Augusto-SusaThe Arch of Augustus, the best preserved of all Augustan arches in Italy, is an important monument found in the city of Susa. It is located in the Piedmont province of Turin on the road leading to the Alpine crossing to Gaul. The arch was created to record the peace between Emperor Augustus and Marcus Julius Cottius. The arch, together with other remains from the period, underlines the importance that the city of Susa had during the Roman Empire.

From above, the arch forms a rectangle of almost 12 meters longSusa_Roman_Arch_of_Augustus and about 7.5 meters wide. Constructed with white marble from Foresto, it rests on two large bases. There is only one archway. The arch has a unique arcade, in which the archivolt is supported by pilasters. The entablature rests on four Corinthian columns placed at the extremities of each corner, such that a quarter of each drum is embedded in the monument.

A of AThe lowest architrave is composed of three bands. Above the architrave, a frieze composed of a bass relief which stretches around all four sides. Above that is the cornice which has 22 corbels on each face and 12 on each side of the arch. The corbels’ panels are decorated with roses. On top of that rests the attic, which displays an inscription on both faces.

The following dedication is recorded on the attic:


CIL V 7231

Marcus Julius Cottius, son of King Donnus, leader of the communities which follow: the Segovii, Segusini, Belaci, Caturiges, Medulli, Tebavii, Adanates, Savincates, Ecdinii, Veaminii, Venisamores, Iemerii, Vesubianii, and Quadiates, and the [aforementioned]communities who were under this leader [dedicated this arch] to Imperator Caesar Augustus son of a god,Augustus as Pontifex Maximus Pontifex Maximus, awarded Tribunician Power 15 times and acclaimed Imperator 13 times.

The frieze represents the sacrifice of the suovetaurilia. The scene has a great number of symbolic meanings, but above all indicates that the sacrifice is the focus and nothing else. On the western side some representatives of the Cottian communities Augustus with personifications of land and seamentioned in the inscription are depicted. On the southern side a second sacrifice, officiated by Cottius, is depicted. On the eastern side the scene has been completely destroyed by the ravages of time.

On the two thousandth anniversary of the death of the Emperor Octavian Augustus (63 BC – 14 AD), a conference was held in Susa to highlight the achievements of Arch at Susarecent survey excavations and interventions carried out on the Arch of Augustus.

Research and studies on the Susa Valley company and the Town of Susa aimed to check the particular theme of Augustan political propaganda through the reading of his architectural and historical monuments in Italy and the western provinces at that time.

The leaders of Ancient Rome were never against people celebrating them, or their achievements. Apparently that is simply part of the human condition for it seems a trait that is still around today. We hope you had as much fun reading this article as we did writing it. Til next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

The Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs

the four tetrarchsThis is a variety of igneous rock sculpted of four Roman Emperors dating from around 300 AD. Since the Middle Ages, it has been fixed to a corner of the facade of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy. The statues probably originally decorated the columns of the porch of the Philadelphion in Constantinople. They were plundered by the Venetians when Constantinople was sacked during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 AD. In the 1960s, the heel part of theHeel_portion missing foot was discovered by archaeologists in Istanbul close to the Bodrum Mosque. This part is housed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

The Roman Empire was, for a time after 293 AD, ruled by a Tetrarchy due to its Diocletiansize. This was instituted by Emperor Diocletian, a military general from the cavalry that was elected by his troops. He believed the Tetrarchy, Greek for “Rule by Four”, should consist of two Augusti (senior emperors), one in the west and the other in the east. Each would have a junior emperor, Caesars (younger emperors) to serve underneath the seniors. The model would allow for the junior emperors to succeed their senior counterpart upon their death, and appoint a new junior emperor. This would continue the smooth transition of power.

Rather than providing four personal portraits, each Tetrarch looks the same. That is without any individualized characteristics. The portraiture symbolizes the concept of co-rule and cohesiveness Beard & No Beardinstead of the power of the individual. There are two, probably representing the older Augusti, that have beards, and the other two do not. The group is divided into pairs, each embracing, which unites Augusti and Caesars together. The overall effect suggests unity and stability as the figures are stiff and rigid. Thus four men are working together to establish peace and stability throughout the empire. The very choice of material, the durable red porphyry, symbolizes a permanence of the kind reminiscent of Egyptian statuary and the early Kouros figures.

Piazza San Marco - Venice, ItalyThe Procurator of St. Mark’s made an exact replica of all Four Tetrarchs in Venice and the foot found in Istanbul. The fragments were combined in one perfect piece. The results have confirmed that indeed the same material was used for the Venice Tetrarchs and the Istanbul foot fragment. The findings from the study were also discussed during a meeting in Venice with various professionals. Typically both Roman and Byzantium history are best understood through art and monuments.

After Diocletian and Maximian retired in 305 AD, internal strifeMaximian Herculius erupted among the tetrarchs. The Tetrarchy was short lived and very quickly became unstable, as the four emperors sought to take power for themselves after Diocletian and Maximian retired or stood down.

Stylistically, this portrait of the Tetrarchs is done in Late Antique style, which uses a distinct squat, formless bodies, square heads, and stylized clothing clearly seen in all four men. The Tetrarchs have almost no body. Instead of their clothes molding to the form of their bodies underneath, the clothes of the Tetrarchs form to their bodies into chunky rectangles.

Some art historians believe that this portrait seems contrived and awkward. Though there are those who also view the statue as a contradiction. The four emperors are embraced, yet grasping their swords ready for war.Clasping Swords

Details such as the cuirass, skirt, armor and cloak are highly stylized and based on simple shapes and the repetition of lines. Despite the culmination of this artistic style, the rendering of the Tetrarchs in this manner seems to fit the connotations of their rule and need for stability throughout the empire.

Despite the stylistic changes in sculpture, the style of Roman architecture continued to be based on classical models and forms. Diocletian's palaceDiocletian’s palace demonstrates the Roman use of vaults in the substructure and the use of columns, peristyles and entablatures to create monumental spaces. The central court of the palace demonstrates the stylistic and monumental use of these architectural elements. The central court was also sunken and a flight of stairs enclosed the court and lead up to the decorative Peristyle and surrounding rooms. This increased the feeling of monumentality while emphasizing Diocletian’s imperial power. Members of the court would have had to stand several steps below the entrances to the temples, mausoleum, and court rooms.

This Tetrarchy lasted until around Licinius324 AD, when following Licinius’ defeat and execution. It was then that Constantine suspended the tetrarchy system to rule the empire alone.

The age of Constantine marked a distinctconstantine_the_great_of_byzantium turning point in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself. It would later become the capital of the Empire for over one thousand years.

Later, the same reliefs are to be found on the Arch of Constantine inArch of Constantine Rome. It took 810 years for the official confirmation that the group of sculptures known as the Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs originated in Constantinople. It was designed to emphasis the union of the four emperors and their uncompromising stance in the face of internal and external pressures.

Each of the Tetrarchs has a different story to tell. Each can be looked upon as a champion or villain. That is not the point of this article. Rome Across Europe simply wants to share something wonderful from history that has been preserved. Hopefully this was a new experience or provided some new information for you all. In any event, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Paris…A Modern City Built By Ancient Romans

It was around the middle of the 3rd century BC when the ParisiiCeltic Languages 3rd Century inhabited the Paris area. This was a major north-south trade route which crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité, serving as a meeting place of land and water trade routes. As is typical with major trade routes, a town gradually formed and then became an important trading center. The Parisii traded with many river towns as far away as modern-day Spain. Because they had such a far reaching trading area, the Parisii minted their own coins.

In 52 BC, Julius Caesar led the Romans and conquered the Paris-Julius Caesarbasin. After making a garrison camp, the Romans began extending their settlement in a more permanent way to Paris’s Left Bank. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia Parisiorum. It became a prosperous city with a forum, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.

The Arènes de Lutèce is among the most important remains fromArènes de Lutèce the Gallo-Roman era, in what is now Paris’s Quartier Latin. Constructed in the 1st century AD, this amphitheater is considered the longest of its kind constructed by the Romans. The sunken arena of the amphitheater was surrounded by a podium 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high, with a parapet placed on top. The presence of a 41.2 m (135 ft) long stage allowed scenes to alternate between theatrical productions and gladiatorial combat. A series of 9 niches aided in improving the acoustics. Five cubbyholes were situated beneath the lower terraces, 3 of which were animal cages that opened directly into the arena. Historians believe that the terraces, which surrounded more than half of the arena’s circumference, could accommodate as many as 17,000 spectators.

Slaves, the poor, and women were relegated to the higher tiers. The lower seating areas were reserved for Roman male citizens. For comfort, a linen awning sheltered spectators from the hot sun. Think of this as today’s modern stadium with a retractable roof. From its vantage point, the amphitheater also afforded a spectacular view of the Bièvre and Seine rivers.

The Thermes de Cluny are the ruins of Gallo-Roman thermal baths Thermes de Clunylying in the heart of what is now Paris’s 5th arrondissement. They are partly absorbed by the Musée national du Moyen Âge and another existing feature in today’s Paris. The best preserved room is the frigidarium, with intact architectural elements such as Gallo-Roman vaults, ribs, consoles, and fragments of original decorative wall painting and mosaics is entirely incorporated within the museum and houses the Pilier des Nautes.

It is believed that the bath complex was built by the influential guild of boatmen of the 3rd-century Romans, as evidenced by the fact that the consoles on which the barrel ribs rest are carved in the shape of ships’ prows. Like all Roman Baths, these baths were freely open to the public, and were meant to be a means of romanizing the ancient Gauls. As the baths lay across the River Seine on the Left Bank they were unprotected by defensive fortifications. This left the baths as easy prey to roving barbarian groups who apparently destroyed the bath complex sometime at the end of the 3rd century.

The bath complex is now partly an archeological site, and partlyNational Museum of the Middle Ages incorporated into the Musée national du Moyen Age. Although somewhat obscured by renovations and reuse over the past two thousand years, several other rooms from the bath complex are also incorporated into the museum, notably the gymnasium which now forms part of Gallery 9 (Gallery of French Kings and Sculptures from Notre Dame). The caldarium and the tepidarium are both still present as ruins outside the Musée itself and on the museum’s grounds.

When Lutèce was sacked during the barbaric invasions of 280 AD, some of the structure’s stone work was carted off to reinforce the Compagnie Générale des Omnibuscity’s defenses around the Île de la Cité. Centuries later the surrounding neighborhood had retained the name les Arènes, Then Théodore Vaquer during the building of the Rue Monge (between 1860–1869 AD) this is when the Compagnie Générale des Omnibus sought to build a tramway depot on the site.

Spearheaded by the author Victor Hugo, a preservation committee called la Société des Amis des Arènes undertook to save thela Société des Amis des Arènes archaeological treasure. After the demolition of the Couvent des Filles de Jésus-Christ in 1883, a third of the arena was uncovered. The Municipal Council dedicated funds to restoring the arena and establishing it as a public square, which was opened in 1896.

After the tramway lines and depot were dismantled in 1916 and Line 10 of the Paris Métro was constructed, the doctor and anthropologist Jean-Louis Capitan (1854–1929) continued with additional excavation and restoration of the arena toward the end of World War I. Standing in the centre of the arena one can still observe significant remnants of the stage and its nine niches, as well as the grilled cages in the wall. The stepped terraces are not original, but historians believe that 41 arched openings punctuated the façade.

By the end of the Roman Empire, the town was known simply as Parisii. Christianity was then introduced in the middle of the 3rd Saint-Deniscentury AD. According to tradition, it was brought by Saint-Denis, the first Bishop of Paris. When he refused to renounce his faith, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as the “Mountain of Martyrs“. His burial place became an important religious shrine. The Basilica of Saint-Denis was built there and became the burial place of the French Kings.

It is hard to think of a modern city as anything else as is it is today. Things change and places evolve. An ancient city might evolve into a major, modern city of today. Paris happens to be one of those places. As you venture out amongst ancient cities, remember to Keep On Rome-ing!

Book: 1; Thought: 16

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn my father I observed mildness of temper, and unchangeable resolution in the things which he had determined after due deliberation; and no vainglory in those things which men call honours; and a love of labour and perseverance; and a readiness to listen to those who had anything to propose for the common weal; and undeviating firmness in giving to every man according to his deserts; and a knowledge derived from experience of the occasions for vigorous action and for remission.

Historic Centre of Brugge

The Historic Town of Brugge is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble. Archaeological excavations have shown evidence of human presence in the area of Brugge from the Iron Age and the Gallo-Roman period. It was the military and administrative centre of the region, and commercial links with Scandinavia started at the same time.

The Belgic confederacy in Gaul attempted to oppose Julius Caesar’s conquest of the area, resisting until 54 BC, but could not hold out. In 57 BC, Caesar and his 9,000 men were victorious. In 58 BC the Belgic confederacy supported the Veneti against Caesar, and was again defeated. The first fortifications were built after Julius Caesar’s conquest, in the first century BC, to protect the coastal area against pirates.


Bruges received its city charter on 27 July 1128 AD, and new walls and canals were built. This led to the city’s “Golden Age” from the 12th to 15th century AD. Trade was prosperous, the world’s first stock exchange opened here (1309 AD), and a city militia was maintained as a permanent paramilitary body.

Brugge, Belgium

Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain

Hello and welcome to another adventure on Where To? Wednesday. Today’s guest happens to be a friend from California that I have known since 2009. She is not our first California guest, but the first that is my own friend (2014 had my grandma as our first interview from the Golden State).ECV

Ok Rome-rs please join me in welcoming Mrs. Emily Collisson Valines!

Rome Across Europe: Hello Emily and welcome to Rome Across Europe.

You are our first friend from California to be interviewed. How do you like that?

Emily Collisson Valines: Feeling privileged!

RAE: Well thank you. We appreciate you being here.

I know you have relatives in Spain, and you have been there as well as Portugal and Italy. So for today’s Where To? Wednesday where are you taking us?

ECV: I think we should revisit my first trip to Spain to visit family. That was much more of a well-rounded, off the beaten trail kind of trip.

RAE: That sounds very fun.

Whereabouts in Spain are we going?

ECV: We started in Mallorca, where my cousin is a chef. Very spanien-mallorca-strand-54quintessential vacation spot. For Germans especially. Gorgeous beaches and Bogatell Beach, Bacelonawonderful weather. Quick 45 minute flight to Barcelona, which was next.

RAE: Nice. What time of year was it? How was the weather?

ECV: Summer. Very mild.

RAE: I can see why all the romps to beach locations.

Seeing as how this is our first visit to Spain please share some more about Mallorca.

ECV: It’s a nice taxi drive from the airport through the hills. I westkueste_mallorca_2honestly can’t remember where we stayed, but we did have fun at an English pub and almost ended up missing our flight the next morning. We were there only 2que-ver-en-palma-de-mallorca nights or so, so we didn’t have a chance to do much. But there is an old town that offers historic influence.

RAE: Very ‘Home Alone’ of you rushing through the airport to catch a flight.

Mallorca is in the Balearic Islands, correct? Is your cousin still a chef there?

ECV: It’s next to Ibiza… Not sure on the exact coordinates. Yes, it’s at one of the hotels. José Rodriguez is his name

RAE: I will make sure to look him up for our site.

When you went to Barcelona, what happened there?

ECV: Well thank you for that.

In Barcelona we did the touristy stuff. Visited La Sagrada Familia, a church designed by [Antoni] Gaudi. Also, did a Hop-On, Hop-Off tour around the city. Went to Park Guell. Another of Gaudi’s masterpieces.

RAE: Hop-On, Hop-Off tours seem to be the most popular, and easiest, way to tour well tourist sites.

Was there anything in particular that remains as something that really stood out? Like in the church, park, etc?

ECV: They were doing construction on the church so we couldn’t go La Sagrada Familiain. But the detail on the edifice is so intricate, that you can stand there for an hour and find new things. The park is a trip. The very root of Gaudi’s work is that he forgoes normal architectural dynamics and warps the walls and spaces to look like they are either melting or sideways…He uses mosaics and color in a fun, almost juvenile Wonderland sort of way.

RAE: Wonderland is a great description. I am sure our readers would be familiar with that.

I know you are a chef. How would you describe the food?

ECV: I wasn’t then, but I definitely love eating anyways. I can’t quite remember it being overwhelmingly good. It was just the concept of tapas that appealed to me. Small plates of everything, as saying…OMG OMG Earthquake! Hold on.

RAE: Are you ok? Is everything alright?

ECV: Ok. I’m fine. It’s over now.

RAE: Having been born in Southern California too, if it’s not over 7.0 then it’s no biggie. Am I right?

ECV: Yeah, but at 8 months pregnant it’s a little more concerning these days.

RAE: Congrats on the pregnancy and you are completely correct in the concern of any sort right now.

ECV: Sharing small plates as a table was great. The favorites are always patatas bravas, tortillas, olives, bread, and morcilla.

RAE: Way to jump right back into the interview. Kudos to you!

Would you describe the food as more of appetizer-style where one eats more with hands than silverware?

ECV: We definitely needed silverware but it’s more of the casual familiar environment in which the food is consumed. It’s loud. Everyone’s drinking wine. It’s like pass this, give me that. There is much more of a fine dining element that one could experience. It was just that we were in a large group and we never really did that.

RAE: I understand. Fine dining can be found everywhere, but knowing places have more family-style or casual habits is good to know also.

Where did you end up going to meet with your family?

ECV: Christopher Columbus Square there’s a ton of those places to go.

We went North to the beach city of Salinas, which is in Asturias.

RAE: Is Asturias farther north of Barcelona, on the Mediterranean sitll, or somewhere else entirely?

ECV: Not sure. [It’s in North-West Spain on the Bay of Biscay.]

RAE: So what happened there?

ECV: Mostly condos for retired peeps. Sidewalk cafes to grab a beer and a quick bite. We went to [my cousin’s] wedding there and didn’t stay long.

RAE: After the wedding was it back to Barcelona or home to the states?

ECV: LOL. We are going to need another hour!

RAE: Alright then. Of all the things you did or saw or experienced what would you say stood out the most?

Like if you were to tell someone not to miss “THIS” what would it be?

ECV: The arts of Barcelona and how metropolitan it is. Barcelona was definitely a favorite. All the rest was cool, but you can really feel like a local in Barcelona.

RAE: Do you need to be able to speak Spanish or do most of the folks there also speak English?

ECV: I think it depends on how deep you get in. Some English is ok, but I always find it courteous to do some homework on the basics.

RAE: Of course. Even speaking the native language, as horrible as one may be at it, is appreciated.

ECV: Oh, and watch out for siesta time. Shops and businesses are closed. [The siesta for shops and businesses is from approximately 2pm until 5pm while bars and restaurants close from about 4pm until about 8 or 9pm.]

RAE: I am quite jealous of how that all works. More places should operate that way.

This has been a wonderful interview. Any last thing(s) you would like to share or care to recommend?

ECV: Stop and look up from the map once a while and just let life happen around you.

RAE: That is a great parting sentiment.

Thank you for your time. And also thank you for being the first, and maybe only, interview to be done during an earthquake!

ECV: Right?! It was good talking to you and reliving some old memories of the trip. Take care and I hope 2015 is good to you and your wife.

RAE: Same to you and your hubbie. Oh, and let’s give plenty of blessings and good will to your baby in these final months of your pregnancy.

This has been a fantastic adventure on today’s Where To? Wednesday. We hade our first visit to Spain and our first interview during an earthquake. Both of which are very exciting. Again we would like to thank our guest, Mrs. Emily Collisson Valines for sharing her experience and steadfastness during a natural disaster.

Thank you to you, our readers, for your continued interest. We will see you again next week. In the meantime, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

History: After the Second Punic War, Carthage lost all of its overseasPollentia, Spain possessions. The Romans then took over the island of Mallorca. It was occupied by the Romans in 123 BCE under Quintus Caecilius Metellus Balearicus. Mallorca flourished under Roman rule, and its soldiers were valued within the Roman legions for their skill with the sling.

Barcelona, legend has it, was founded by the mythical Hercules. Around 15 BC, the Romans took what was once their simple (well simple for the Romans) and made it into an official town. Centered on the area which is the modern-day city hall, the Roman colony of Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino was created.

Like Roman ruins in Barcelona Town Squareother larger European cities, Barcelona still uses the original Roman grid pattern in the heart of the city. Ruins of some Roman structures are on display under the town square.