Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mediterranean Adventures - Part 4 (Civitavecchia)

We finally had a morning of relaxation in Rome. With our luggage arriving, I was relieved to know that I wasn’t going to be washing my underwear in the sink.
After a breakfast of cappuccino and croissants (it totally felt European but I realize that it actually isn’t all that exotic), we headed over to the train station. I soon found out that dragging luggage over cobblestone streets sucks. I vowed to get better all-terrain bags.
Once at the train station, we found out our platform was the FARTHEST one out. It was seriously a mile walk. We were heading to the port city of Civitavecchia where all the cruise ships dock. We were seated on the train when a big bloated white couple in their 40’s or 50’s walks in. They are shouting at each other because neither is sure this is the right train. Oh yeah, they acted just like the stereotypical obnoxious American tourist. Dana and I were so embarrassed. They started to freak out and scream at each other assuming no one else spoke English. We finally stopped them by admitting we were American too (followed by a lot of angry glances in our direction). We told them to follow us because we were heading to the cruise ships too (well we assumed they were going to Civitavecchia because of a cruise). They went on and on about those filthy Italians and how they missed home back in Florida.
At the port station, you have to walk a couple of blocks to the Michelangelo Castle to catch the cruise ship shuttle bus. We immediately ditched the Florida couple because they started arguing about their luggage (apparently they too realized rolling bags and cobblestones don’t mix).
The cruise ship was amazing. I mean truly AMAZING! I cannot describe how luxurious it was. I wouldn’t doubt that it was the nicest new ship built. I was in absolute awe of it. My single previous cruise experience was awful, but this ship blew the other out of the water. Our room was stylish with a spacious bathroom that was larger than some in New York. The ship had 14.5 floors, five restaurants, two buffets, six hot tubs, and a partridge in a pear tree. They even had a lawn...yeah real GRASS...on a boat! My favorite “show” on the ship was the hot glass show. I seriously caught half a dozen shows. I mean blowing glass was fascinating AND one of the blowers was super fine. Yeah, he was totally my cruise crush. Sigh. Dana can vouch that I totally stalked him on the boat.

The boat had a party as we were pushing off. Mingling with the guests, I figured the median age was around 65. That proved to make things real interesting during the rest of the trip.
The cruise was scheduled to take us around the Mediterranean. I had prepared myself by sampling various Greek, Israeli, Mediterranean dishes. I had figured out what I liked and what I didn’t like (grape leaves). I was so excited to spend the next two plus weeks immersing myself in the culture, food, sights, etc. Imagine my surprise when I found the cruise ship was packed with cheeseburgers, French fries, onion rings, and nachos. The main chef also specialized in classic French dishes as well as steak, fried chicken, and spaghetti. I guess when you cater to American retirees; you cater to their appetites as well. I can’t complain because Dana and I loved to snack on French fries while lounging next to the pool.


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