Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Quick Visit to The Eternal City - Rome

On October 26th, I got up before dawn and went to the deck with dual purpose - walk off some of the pounds I was gaining on this trip and to watch our ship, the MS Ryndam, enter the Port of Civitavecchia. I saw the lights of the huge port , stone breakwaters and lighthouses and towering modern cranes in the pre-dawn darkness. Then the boat marked "Pilota" drew up close to let the port pilot on board to guide our ship into the harbor.  We were alongside by 7:30AM.  This was a big port with lots of cargo, ferry and cruise ships. Rome was 44 miles away, more than an hour by bus.

This was the end of the first leg of our two week cruise and for about 500 passengers of the MS Ryndam, it was their final disembarkation point.  We also were to pick up about 400 new passengers.Here is our Cruise Log from Piraeus (Athens) to Civitavecchia, Italy:
The pleasant warm temperatures and smooth seas exceeded all our expectations

We knew it was impossible to do justice to this great city with only 8 hours in port.  To get a quick overview (with the promise to return in the future), Ron and I had booked the Easy Rome Excursion which promised a drive-by of Rome's highlights by bus with an hour and a half stop at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

Arriving in the outskirts of Rome about an hour and a half from port, our on-board guide began to describe the sites. I took blurry pictures through the window of our bus as we drove by ancient Roman ruins, fountains and squares, parks, and statues.  Too fast.

We stopped in Vatican City at the entrance to St. Peter's Square.  It was very crowded with groups of tourists and families who were there for the Day of the Family and to meet the Pope.  Ron decided to wait for me while I did a quick walk about St. Peter's Square which was much smaller than I had imagined.

Ron had been here before so he just rested away from the madding crowds

The Basilica of St. Peter

It was a National Day of the Family and groups of families awaited an audience with the Pope

Waiting for the Pope (but he never appeared)

I purchased some souvenirs from a Vatican souvenir shop
 Leaving St. Peter's Square and Vatican City, we walked along the Tiber River for about 20 minutes to get to our tour bus.
The Tiber River 
We returned to our ship and set sail at 4:30PM for our next port of call - Palermo, Italy - on the island of Sicily.  Ron looked forward to his first visit to Sicily!

1 comment:

  1. Rome, one of the most beautiful places on earth which needs to be visited despite the fact that is one the crowded tourist attraction.