Barbara had booked an excursion with Alan and will spend the day in Rome visiting the Sistine Chapel and other parts of the Vatican. I plan to stay on the ship, with a possible visit to the port, have “my port” beer, a pizza and just hang out.
Barbara has given me permission to post her journal entry for May 14th and her visit to Rome.It is extensive and deserves its own page so I will post it next.
Background at a Glance, provided by the ship:
“Just 45 miles (2 hour drive in traffic) from the Italian capital, Civitavecchia is the powerful maritime engine that fuels Rome’s Lazio region. Evidence of an ancient port settlement proves people lived at the strategic site even before human history was first recorded.
During the roman era, the harbor was known as centumcellae (‘100 warehouses’) – a rather impressive facility for the era. Emperor Traiano (98-117) ordered it to be rebuilt and expanded in 107 AD. Monumental buildings and statues reflected economic importance to the Empire, but most of the original architecture was lost in later years.
Tiny Civitavecchia’s contemporary harbor is fairly busy with shipping traffic. Italian rail service connects the port with inland destinations (one hour and 10 minutes). Cargo service connects directly to the piers, but the passenger rail station is a 20-minute walk from the pier along a pleasant shop and café lined seafront promenade.”
Some More Photographic Memories:
Our early arrival alongside the cruise terminal caught a lot of folks sleeping – not me – since we were docked starboard side to, I was on our verandah with a front row seat of the incoming cruise ship traffic. I was amazed at the number arriving that day. In our previous ports we were pretty much the only cruise vessel in port.
It occurred to me later as I watched our ship being replenished by truck after truck after truck, that for the cruise industry that sails the Western Mediterranean, Civitavecchia must be sitting in the “Cat Bird” seat as a resupply port, and this industry contributes significantly to the economy of the Lazio Region.
Several weeks before we began this grand adventure, Barbara and I became good friends through Cruise Critic, with Connie Palmer from Corvallis, Oregon and Cathy Palmer of Pullman, WA. They were also sailing “with Alan”, so met them face-to-face in the lobby of the Hampton Inn near SeaTac the evening before we flew to Ft Lauderdale. They both became very much like family. Now I must tell you that much to our surprise, these ladies are not related, but how they came to have the same last name is a curious story, however to learn that story, you must become their friends as we did!
Both Connie and I wanted to go into the port and just hang out and find a pizza and beer restaurant. Cathy had other commitments on board so around 10 AM Connie and I found the “free” shuttle bus to the shore side “Promenade” in town. It was a short ride and we soon found our selves immersed amongst Saturday morning shoppers in the local street markets. One of the stalls had these luscious looking strawberries and I was tempted to buy the lot and take them back to our stateroom.
By now our tummies were calling out for “pizza & beer” so we found a non-descript doorway on the “people street” with a very small red sign indicating this could be just the “place”. Although the place was deserted, the owner assured us we could get what we came for and presented us with two menus. For me, the pizza, the beer and the company of a good friend made it a great day.
After wandering through more of the street markets (see last three photos in link) we decided it was time to “find our bus back to the ship”. It was a bit confusing at the pickup point because the other ships in port had contracted for their own shuttles. We were surprised as we were looking for the one we rode in on had been replaced by a different bus. When we found the correct one, it was fairly packed but the driver did manage to squeeze us onboard with me sitting in the drop seat normally reserved for a tour guide.
After hearing how crowded it was in Rome, I was glad I made the decision to stay “in town’.
Since we were scheduled to sail at 5 PM, I started to get a little anxious around 4:30, as I watched for Barbara’s bus from the Promenade deck and they were still gone. I will leave the ending to this bit of drama for the next post