Our next stop on the cruise was Civitavecchia. We docked at the port and took a train to Vatican City.
It was packed, as I expected, and not open to the public for a while because the pope was leaving or had an appearance, I’m not exactly sure which. When we finally entered St. Peter’s Basilica I realized it was entirely worth the wait. It is one of the most beautiful, ornate structures I have ever seen. The photographs and videos I’ve seen of it cannot compare to the experience of standing in it and seeing it directly…it is magnificent!
We then went to the Basilica’s museum which had some lovely examples of Christian art and paraphernalia. After that, we decided to forgo the Vatican museums (and the Sistine Chapel 🙁 ) in order to visit Rome and its sights. We took a bus to the city and our first stop was the Fontana di Trevi which was much larger than I expected and absolutely stunning.
It was packed with Barcelona FC fans who were in town to watch the Barcelona-Manchester United game for the Copa Europa happening that day. They were all over Rome, in fact. We then went to see the Pantheon, which was also gorgeous
and then to eat fantastic (and I DO mean fantastic) gelato – I had melon, chocolate and frutti di bosco, the melon was out of this world…
Then we saw the Capitol, the Forum, and the Piazza Venezia on our way to the Colosseum. It was enormous, beautiful, and everything I had imagined it would be.
We didn’t have enough time to enter, though, and took a cab back to the Roma Termini train station to board the train back to Civitavecchia. We asked the conductor how long the train would take and he said: “One hour.” Almost two hours later we were still on the train, praying for a miracle so that the ship would still be docked and we could board it. When the train doors opened at the Civitavecchia station we literally bolted out and sprinted across the human obstacle course that was the station, the three blocks to the port entrance, and nearly the entire (loooong) distance to the ship. I’m a runner and I was in pain, so I cannot imagine how Monica was feeling! We were almost there when a taxi driver saw us running and picked us up. As he drove us the short remaining distance he mentioned that they had already lifted the anchors (AAAAAHHHH!!!!!). We barreled out of the car to find the ship still there but completely closed up and ready to depart and Monica’s passport in the hands of an Italian customs official. They reopened the gate, set up a ramp and let us into the ship even though we were an hour late. We got our miracle: one of the ship’s maritime pilots had been late and they had waited for him. We made it!!!
After all that stress we decided to rest for a while before dinner, which was wonderful, and during which we told our adventure to all our table friends to their great awe and amusement. We then continued our fun routine of going to the High Notes bar to listen to La Bamba Band until 100 and then to The Vault to dance all the stress away!
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