Aah, Roma! Buon giorno.... There, that just about exhausts my grasp of Italian other than makes of car, old Italian race drivers and pasta! We docked at Civitevecchia – the longest port name for the shortest city name a little earlier than expected. We noticed last year when trying to follow the bridge cam, that more often than not, the ship cruises into port at least an hour before the stated time, and this is to allow for customs and immigration clearance before any crew or passengers are allowed off, not to mention physically securing the ship and putting out the gangplanks.
Once again, Paula was up first and we had time for a bite before picking up our coach boarding tickets. I wasn't too sure what I wanted to eat, so I settled on a fresh waffle with maple syrup and cream – for breakfast!!!! The buffet coffee from their system is just too terrible to drink, so I had with me some Robert Timms coffee bags and used one.
Our coach trip for the day was a Rome city tour with about 50 minutes left to our own devices at St Peter's Square (Vatican). Assunta, our guide was one of the best so far as not long out of the port, she wisely left us to admire the scenery and also arranged for a comfort stop at one of the three Autostrada service areas, a few kms before Rome itself. For some reason, the traffic wasn't as bad as expected an d we had a good run in.
Assunta also asked the driver at a couple of places to go twice around the islands to give us better photo opportunities. This was good tour guiding. Rome appeared to be a lot more civilised and a lot less chaotic than Naples, with several wide streets and one way streets. The commentary was very informative without getting too bogged down with millions of instantly forgettable dates.
The 50 minutes on our own was fine for us and after a quick wander and an equally quick and productive shop, we asked for a slice of pizza. Now everywhere else we have been to, you buy a slice or a wedge. Not in this place. The pizzas were oblong and you paid for your slice by weight! (€1.90 per 100gm.) So nice we went for a second run! Not really cheap, but every tourist trap is going to be expensive. Rome has several Hop on- Hop off buses once you get there and rail into Rome is an option.
A good run back early enough to enjoy a dip, a nosh and the afternoon quiz. This time we were a team of two. Suffice to say we didn't win. The mob congregated on deck 12 again and whilst some were satisfied with a pile of nibbles and chicken wings, we opted for our own plateful from the buffet. Being an American line, there is a fair bit of turkey and tonight's roast was indeed tasty, tender turkey.
As it was Garry's real birthday, we made up a large dessert plate from the buffet and the kitchen staff kindly supplied half a dozen candles. All we had to do then was light them. Fortunately,. The smokers congregate in their own outside area and loaned us a lighter...
Afterwards, Paula and I headed to the theatre to see Dave Evans, billed as a comedian and singer. He also played piano, trumpet, clarinet and saxophone. He should probably stick to the music and forget about the comedy.
A hot chocolate whilst watching Alan and Alana rounded off an interesting day, the second of five port days. No doubt the other blogs will be more informative but a bit to catch up on.
Tomorrow, a Princess tour from Livorno to Pisa. A lightish day hopefully, but at least Paula is much better which is the main thing, though my shoulder is still causing me a major problem, so an urgent visit to a Chiropractor is on the cards for Nottingham.