Friday 18th Jan
18.01.2013 - 18.01.2013
View 2013 on Claire.Miller's travel map.
I decided to go into Rome today (we docked in Civitavecchia) as I had never been there before. Everyone else had so I was by myself, although Alicia and Gary did do Rome but by themselves. The tour started with a drive around to see some of the mainssites from the bus such as the Colosseum, the Forum, Caeser's Palace, and the Victor Emmanuel Monument in addition to the area where they did the chariot races. It is very strange when you consider how old some of these buildings actually are, makes you feel very, very small! I found it different to what I expected in terms of the lack of space around these monuments, I was kind of expecting them to have all this empty space around them but the are surrounded by buildings and infrastructure.
We then went to St Peter's Cathedral. I decided to go up the Cupola, 551 stairs later... But it was a great idea as it went in around the dome at the top of the cathedral so you got a look down into the cathedral and a better view of all the decorations around the top of the dome. The only thing was it was damn windy when you got outside! I had taken an extra jumper but inside the bus had said 20 degrees and so I thought I would be fine but umm turns out it meant 20 degrees in the bus as it was like 5 degrees outside! We only had an hours free time in the area and so by the time I had got through the queue and up and down from the cupola there was only 15 minutes til meeting time. So I did a quick 5 minute run around the inside of the cathedral, I was like speedy tourist gonzalas running around trying to take a photo of everything. Then when I got back to the group we were there for another 10 minutes.
At this point we went back to the boat, which was annoying as we still had about 4 hours in port. I had misunderstood the information about the tour in that I thought we would have the whole afternoon to wander around the vatican rather than just an hour. Although I was a little relieved as by this point I was starving! Unfortunately we got back at 2:30 which is when lunch ended. I just pigged out at high tea instead.
Karen, Pete and Fiona were already back and we were sitting in the lounge reading when a group of Americans who had obviously just boarded sat behind us. Sorry I mean rich old Americans. We were then unable to not hear one of the ladies life story. This consisted of her reminiscing about being voted prettiest in school, how very difficult it was for her to have two kids AND work four and a half days a week, stories about all these boys that were in love with her but she had to turn down because she didn't love them, how she didn't love her husband when they were first married but he told her to just put on the ring and it would happen... And so on. This whole time I don't think anyone managed to read a single page, it took all my concentration not to burst out laughing. The funniest bit though was when Karen got involved in a conversation with the other lady about clothing on the cruise. According to this lady one must always match ones shoes to ones underwear. This posed a real problem to her as she did not have space to pack many shoes. The only solution was to bring mostly black panties. I believe this is the epitome of first world problems.
Alicia and Gary got back just before we left the port, which was annoying as I think I would have seen more going with them than going on the tour. We had our last dinner on the boat which was very sad. I don't think I have mentioned our waiters yet but they were pretty awesome. We had an italian girl and indonesian boy. At the beginning we thought that the girl was going to be really proper and judge us, but she chilled out after a bit. She was hilarious because everyone time someone ordered and it included the special they would get a perfecto and if they didn't get the special they would get a condascending mmm. Today I may have ordered the special just so I could get one last perfecto. The guy was hilarious because it was his job to give you bread and he would always give you one more than you said you wanted. It was also his job to give us our butter each night, there was a different flavour every night such as truffle, paprika, pink pepper, pecorino, etc. Every night this became a big presentation. The funniest night was when he brought out a meal too early and got this look and was honestly shooed away by the girl the way you would shoo away a dog. My meal that night was a crispy guinea fowl, tempura cod, eggplant and cheese dish, veal shanks, and blueberry sorbet.