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Roaming the Roman and Ancient Worlds

Kat and I are back from a four week-long vacation: We spent one week in London, one week in Rome, one week sailing the Isles of the Aegean Sea and one week recovering from jet lag and reverse culture shock. I’m just emerging.

A confessional from a church in Rome: Extraordinary craftsmanship using hand tools

A confessional from a church in Rome: Extraordinary craftsmanship using hand tools

Traveling is one of those activities where there’s a lot of Yin and Yang (which, by the way, translates from the Chinese words “shadow” and “light.”) It’s both invigorating and exhausting. It’s relaxing and tension-filled —like when you think you’re stranded in Istanbul. It’s good to get a break from the day-to-day routine, yet you realize you sort of like that routine. Sometimes being immersed in other cultures make you think the American Dream isn’t all the dreamy, while other times you feel there is truly no place like home.

Salvaged from an ancient shipwreck, these clay amphoras were designed to cleverly stack in the curved hull of a boat

Salvaged from an ancient shipwreck, these clay amphoras were designed to cleverly stack in the curved hull of a boat

When I travel, I usually keep one eye open for amazing things crafted from wood; jewelry boxes, cathedrals, chairs—everything is fair game. I found lots of amazing wood things—more on that in later posts— but the thing that struck me on a more general level was the incredible craftsmanship and artistic eye our ancient relatives brought to things both great and small.

I’ve included a few outstanding examples.

The design and proportions of the Celsus Library in Ephesus blew me away. Built in 117 AD, it once contained 12,000 scrolls (making it the third largest library in the world at the time). The city is surely a testament to our changing world; once a seaport, it's now 6 miles from the sea.

The design and proportions of the Celsus Library in Ephesus blew me away. Built in 117 AD, it once contained 12,000 scrolls (making it the third largest library in the world at the time). The city is surely a testament to our changing world; once a seaport, it’s now 6 miles from the sea.