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24 April 2024
Tiber river & Rome.

On day 4 of my cruise around the Mediterranean, I arrived at the Port of Civitavecchia in Italy. From here I took a full day's excursion into Rome.

Rome, Italy.

Despite a late night last night, I woke in time to see the sunrise as I sit on my veranda as we approach Civitavecchia where I will leave the ship for a day trip to Rome. I get breakfast before heading to deck 3 from where I will leave the ship to get my coach to Rome. When I have passed through security I find my coach & climb aboard.

The lady on the coach who is our guide for the trip is the most disorganized person I have ever met. She is obviously very clever as she speaks multiple languages. One of the problems is she keeps mixing up the languages mid-sentence, meaning no one understands her. She tells us we are stopping for a comfort break & tells us we have 10 minutes to use the toilet. The problem is there are around 5 full coach loads of people all wanting to use the one toilet.

Unsurprisingly we leave the rest stop late. Quite why we had to stop less than 1 hour into a 1 1/2 hour trip is beyond me. We arrive in Rome & pick up our local guide Michael. He is very good as we do the coach part of the guided tour. He is very interesting, clear & very knowledgeable. Unfortunately, the female guide keeps talking so loudly on her mobile phone he has to keep stopping. In the end, he has enough of her & tells her to be quiet & to stop using her phone whilst he is talking to us.

The driven part of the tour takes us past the Colosseum, Circo Massimo, across The Tiber River & past the Castel Sant Angelo toward the Vatican.

After the driving part of the tour, we begin the walking part. We walk through Rome & enter the Vatican state to visit the square outside St Paul's Basilica. Michael, our Rome guide tells us all about the area & points out many interesting buildings & monuments. We have a short time after to buy souvenirs in a nearby shop & I buy a very nice hoodie for only €20, which I think is a great price as the shop is situated right next to Vatican Square.

When we leave we rejoin the coach & are driven to a local restaurant for a meal. Incredibly I have been to the restaurant before. When I was here in 2013 with my friend Paul Dunne we stopped at the Peperoncino restaurant, on the way back to our hotel. We were quite drunk but stopped for a pizza & more beer. Despite having already closed they made us a pizza & gave us a beer. When we left we struggled to climb the very steep set of steps next to the restaurant but we did make it.

Lunch was quite nice, like a typical Spanish Menu del dia that I am used to at home, it had a pasta dish, a chicken dish, a pudding & was served with wine. After lunch, we reboarded the coach & we were all taken to our next drop-off point & the 2nd part of our walking tour.

We walked to the Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps. The steps were built to link the Church with the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom of them where we saw the Fontana Della Barcaccia or Fountain of the boat. We then continued on through Rome to many of the popular tourist spots, Piazza Navona, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, the Panteón de Agrippa, & the Fontana di Trevi, before being picked back up by the coach, outside the Supreme Court of Cassation to return our ship at Civitavecchia.

As we left our guide, Michael, I thanked him & gave him a €5 tip. I noticed that out of all the people on the 55-seater coach, I was the only one that did. He was terrific & deserved a lot more. We all reboarded the coach for our trip back to the ship. The journey took about an hour without stopping so I still can not see a reason for stopping on the way to Rome.

The guide for the tour who was with us all day from the ship received no tip, she was terrible & I pointed this out on the online app questionnaire she asked us to fill out. She kept speaking multiple languages in one sentence, which got everyone confused. She passed around paper & asked us all to fill in our names & room numbers despite already having this info, but gave out no pen to be able to do it. When she handed out the radios for the tour she gave out some on the wrong channel, some that didn't work & generally didn't seem to know what she was doing or what places that we were looking at actually were.

This evening I again watched several singers on board after having my meal with Susan & Bryan, & Linda & Michael.

I went to bed at around 11:30 pm tonight after having many pain-killing cocktails for the pain in my very swollen right leg.

  My photos from Rome.