La dolce vita - Rome in a day

Trip Start Oct 18, 2007
Trip End Nov 20, 2007

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Day 10 (Rome) - 27 October 2007

Up early yet again and out on the front deck as we approach Civitavecchia.  Quite a few ships in port and another following us in.  Head into harbour and pass Galaxy.  Directly ahead of us is a Seabourn ship (name ??), Regent Seven Seas Voyager and one of the yachts of the Sea Dream Yacht Club.  The ship coming in behind is the new Arcadia.  Lovely looking ship.  Why is P&O the only line able to get funnels right on this generic Carnival hull?  But I digress...
Grab brekkie up on the lido but we're not off as soon as we're able like we said we would be and it's maybe 20 minutes after the ship is cleared.  No sign of a shuttle bus so we walk to train station along - a lot further than we thought. Although instructions say turn right we make sure by asking for directions. It was right. Get to stazione, buy our BIRG tickets for EUR9 each, train is of course on a distant platform so race to train and jump on only minutes before the 8:02am departure. Al's too busy planning the afternoon to look at the scenery.  Luckily the train goes through the station we need (although don't realise until we arrive at it due to confusion with it having three names), so saves us another transfer and some time.  We get to Ostio Antica and expect to have to get a transfer bus, but it was a 5min walk. Race in to the toilet and it is ... interesting  Pay 20euro for both incl. audio and map.  The audio is way too confusing but is interesting just the same.
It is an amazing place.  We walk down the main road that is paved with large stones. The ruined city is all around.  We head off to the left of the main path and for the next hour walk through houses and shops and temples.  There are fragments or full rooms of mosaic or marble on the floors of huge houses.  Al feels very guilty walking across the mosaics and feels that they should have more protection but I feel they've survived a couple of thousand years and appear to be holding up very well.  Speaking of wells, I go down underground in to one.  Just a little claustrophobic.  
Small portions of wall frescos remain around the site, most covered with small modern awnings or whole modern roof structures to give them some protection, although they are on the whole faded.  For the whole hour we don't see a soul.  The site is HUGE and we just don't have the time to do the city justice. Grab some lunch and then we need to head back to the station and Rome.
Short wait for a train and in maybe twenty minutes we are standing beside Circus Maximus. It is impossible to describe how it feels to be standing with this history all around you.
Head towards the Tiber.  It's nothing like either of us expected.  Al was thinking brown murky Brisbane River, me, shallow duck leg deep Avon River in Christchurch.  It is instead fast flowing and kind of glacial blue (although lots of rubbish on the bank). Head towards the Pantheon and suddenly it's in front of you.  It is way bigger than I pictured, and CROWDED.   Grab some snaps and try and absorb a bit of what it is about, and represents, and we're off again, but not before getting the hugest gelatis we have seen (so far).  Gigantic. We've decided to get the train back from San Pietro so that we don't have to go to Termini.  Because of that we were close to St Peters so headed there to grab some pictures at least from the outside.  Very close by is Hadrian's Tomb (Castel Saint'Angelo) that comes highly recommended in the guides.  We circle a building that we think is it but can't see any sign of a tomb/mausoleum and think it must be very well disguised.  Walk another few metres and realise we're been looking at the wrong building - it's right next door!  
Pay the few euro admission and enter the mausoleum.  It is an amazing building that was turned into the crypt for a number of popes and was also the Vatican treasury. Left aligned photo tag: View from the terrazzo on top fantastic.  Time is running short so head up towards St Peter's. Lots of nuns and priests everywhere - some very cute nuns in red and white habits and a group of young German priests that look like they're out of an Armani catalogue.  Stunning men.  Time's up.  To the station boys.  Find it no problems and with plenty of time to spare so get coffee (very good!) at the station café, and as they sell wine, buy another couple of bottles.  
A train pulls up on platform four and I ask someone on the platform at the same time as Al asks someone on the train if it is going to Civitavecchia (as the main board indicated).  Nope.  Lucky we asked.  It will actually be going from platform five.  Train ride only 55 minutes.  Less time than the HAL bus transfer and about $150 less. Jump on free shuttle that we didn't see this morning and Eduardo and Lester get on just after us.  They were on the same train.  My feet are killing me - blisters between my toes no less - and even Al's are hurting now. Had no need for our passports, a requirement to have with you when you leave a ship in Civitavecchia.  Boy it's good to back on board.
Straight up to Lido spa/jacuzzi to rest our weary feet.  Mary and Karen join us not long after.  They were waiting to get off the ship this morning and were on the 7.35 express and in Rome before 8.30.  They are amazing.

P&O Arcadia is docked behind us and we can see straught in to the main dining room.  She departs just before us.

I've had enough, so decide not to go down to dinner and will go up to Lido but it's all closed up.  Dinner only until 8.  No choice but room service so get a Thai chicken wrap.  Not bad at all.  Hit the sheets early.
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margotcu on

Your descriptions are fantastic ... what a great post! You sound like you are making the most of every minute of your holiday and making some good friends along the way.

Looking forward to the next instalment and keep your fingers crossed for me, because I have an interview tomorrow morning (Friday).


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