Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 15: Civitavecchia

Just a quick note: "Day 12: Toledo" does exist, it just didn't get posted for some reason.  It should be available now.

Sometime in the night we arrived in Civitavecchia, also known as the Port of Rome.  Rome is actually about an hour away by train or bus, but Civ is the closest major port and cruise terminal.  Since it's a holiday here (some Saint's day) the Embassy didn't feel like coming out and giving a Diplomatic Briefing so we went off the info provided in our logistical pre-port last night.  This is a unique port because most of the action is in Rome and there's not constant transportation.  In addition, most people want to see as much of Italy as possible so there's a lot of optional travel around the country occurring.  To make things even more complicated the ship will sail to Naples in a few days to change ports (and create a customs nightmare for the staff).  I'm keeping it pretty low-key (and hopefully inexpensive) since I did the major sites in Italy two years ago.

For that reason I tried to find the most obscure trips to take and started off this morning with a tour of the Taurine Baths and a Civitavecchia walking tour.  It was a great tour; I can honestly not think of a better way to enter Italy.  Instead of battling the sweat and crowds of Rome, I was in a group of about 25 that visited the ruins of the Roman Taurine Baths just outside of town here in Civ.  It is a very small operation and I think we were the only tour that day.  The Baths were typical ruins and neat to look but the guides and people were incredibly friendly.  After walking around for a while, they set up a tent and had samples of all kinds of typical Italian drinks and different foods.  It was really relaxing to sit around, sample, and chat for a few hours with a nice ocean breeze. 

We later took a bus back into Civ for a walking tour.  The town is small and gets a lot of criticism for there being "nothing to do," but I really like its overall feel (it's also one of the safest cities in Italy).  It's so much less touristy and does have some interesting sites like buildings designed by Michelangelo and a cool little (free) museum of Etruscan artifacts.  We had a great and hardy Italian lunch (most people thought the antipasto was the actual meal...they were a little surprised three courses later) and we let free to roam.  Since most of the people I typically hang out with are off on longer Italy trips I was proud of myself and actually socialized with other people and found a good group to get lost in Civ with.  We walked for a few hours, got the necessary gelato, and made the trek back to the ship.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled for a service visit of a youth transition home outside of Rome.  It should be an interesting experience, I'll let you know how that goes.  Thursday I'm hoping somebody cancels a trip to Orvieto so I can pick up a free ticket and tag along.  If that doesn't work out I'll probably find some people to explore Rome with.  Friday I'll also be in Rome with a group and Saturday the ship will arrive in Naples.  I have a tour of the city and the Teatro San Carlo (famous opera house) lined up there.  We're still fleshing out details on the Venice excursion but that should happen Sunday and Monday.  That's all I have for now, I definitely could use some rest.


Anonymous said...

Great hearing your voice this morning. You're cruising Italy and I'm at work- something is wrong with this picture. PO

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your success with hand motions! It's good to hear that you're socializing and stepping outside your Clarkins "bubble." Sounds like you are having a great time! Eat some excellent gelato for me! -K