—1 May 2012—
Up, dressed and already at breakfast when we docked at Civitavecchio. A beautiful, sunny morning, but we took our rain jackets anyway. 🙂 The process for allocating tours to busses went much smoother than on Monday, and we were on our bus in less than 30 minutes with our guide Giulia and our driver Claudio. We were all out-fitted with wireless receivers for the audio portion of our Rome tour. We made the 1-hour plus trip to Rome with one stop at a highway rest stop. The women went to the “toilette.” The men pee’d and had time for a café (espresso).
On entering Rome, we stopped to pick up our guide, Barbara. We passed a few key sites on the bus before debarking. It was a labor holiday. Some streets were closed for a parade. There were masses of people everywhere.
We walked to Trevi fountain, where it was so crowded you couldn’t turn around.
Next, we walked a short distance to the Pantheon, where it was so crowded you couldn’t turn around. (Starting to get the idea?) Our guide never mentioned the signature hole in the dome
Finally, we walked to Piazza Navona, where it was so crowded you could barely turn around. 🙂
In Piazza Navona, we were given 45 minutes free time in which to find lunch. We followed Giulia to a corner where most of the group followed he in. We chose the opposite corner thinking to speed things up. We ordered pasta and wine, and as the wine arrived, so did the first sprinkles of rain. A couple from another NCL tour sat at the next table and we enjoyed chatting. The rain started to pick up, so the restaurant moved us, tables and all, into the bar, which was very entertaining. In the end, we finished our wine, had 5 minutes til rendezvous, and still had no food! We paid for the wine and dashed, arriving at the designated spot on time but no lunch. 😦 The rain was picking up and we had left our rain jackets on the bus (!!!), so Jerry broke down and bought another umbrella from a street vendor (which Barbara chastised him for since they were unlicensed – just before she, too, bought one!) for 3€.
The group headed for the bus pickup, which was several blocks away, and we at least arrived with dry heads!
Back on the bus, we headed for St. Peter’s Square. We were dropped about a block short and walked – in the rain – to a gift shop on the circle in front of the square where we could use toilettes for free – in hopes, I’m sure, of selling over-priced, mostly religious, trinkets. 🙂
Heading across to St Peter’s, we discovered a line to get in that circled the square and halfway back again. The rain was light and broken, so weather wasn’t a big issue, but it took us close to an hour to get to the security screening! We did finally enter St. Peter’s Basilica and enjoyed a brief tour of the main portion/main floor of the building before we had to make it back briskly to the bus.
Jerry and I squeezed in another stop at the free bathrooms in the gift shop and ended up bringing up the rear in getting to the bus. A woman, separated from another NCL tour and in some distress, joined us for the ride back to the ship. We arrived back about 6:00, in good time as the NLT time was 6:30. We went straight to the lounge and, while we drank and nibbled, I called Mama. She was surprised, but it was just like calling from home, and it was great to be in touch after being unconnected since leaving Barcelona.
We returned to our room, where we saw two vehicles race up and their occupants jump out and run for the gangway, which was removed immediately after. We learned later that two passengers were left behind – a very costly mistake for them.
To make up for the pasta we missed at lunch, we elected to dine at La Trattoria, one of the four specialty restaurants on board. We shared a lovely antipasto platter. Jerry had chicken parmigiana and I had seafood linguini. We each had caprese, but Jerry didn’t like the mozzarella. I had a rossini and Jerry a glass of wine. I finished with a flourless chocolate torte (not good) and Jerry had ricotta cheese cake. We returned to the room stuffed and very tired, and went to bed pronto.