22.11.2010 - 23.11.2010
Day 68 Monday 22 November - “Cruise Day 9 – at Sea”
As predicted, despite there being no port to visit, we had a very eventful day. After breakfast I had to have the password reset on my Internet account and Jenny visited the library to check out some reading material.
At 10:30 we attended an Asian Fusion cooking demonstration and tasted the results. The Chinese Chef prepared and presented Kung Pao Chicken, even the sauce was prepared from scratch. Both the appearance and taste were excellent. Then the Sous Chef prepared a Shabu-Shabu on one of the restaurant tables that has a hotplate built in. An interesting and very tasty combination of vegetables, tofu and beef.
We stayed around the vicinity of the restaurant and a short time later joined a crowd in the Tappanyaki room where the Japanese Chefs displayed their skills. Again all the dishes were passed around for tasting. We almost didn't need lunch.
After lunch we joined Gabby in the Stardust for a talk on how to get the most out of the visit to Rome. She presented a number of excellent tips for those of us who were planning to do our own exploring. As she said, the guide books recommend from three days to a week to explore the city, we are only going to have about eight hours and the train trip will be about two hours each way.
I attended a gathering of Veterans for a while, I was the only Australian and spent some time swapping yarns with a US Navy type who had been to Vietnam. All the others looked to be much older.
Caught up with Gary in the Spinnaker for a very amusing lesson on how to communicate in Italy without knowing more than about 6 words. His advice – carry a map and a pen and write your questions or point to places on the map.'Mille grazie' and 'Mi scusi' were two phrases I think I'll use frequently.
After diner we skipped the 'show', seen it and didn't think much of it. So we went to the Spinnaker and played Trivia. Twenty questions with a choice of four answers each. We scored 13/20 – the winners made 17/20. The game was fine but the Russian MC didn't do much for us.
By the time I finish this it will be past 9 PM and we have an early start tomorrow.
Day 69 Tuesday 23 November - “Cruise Day 10 – Rome”
Up early this morning and ready to step ashore even before the gangplank is in place. It doesn't look good weather wise, there's thunder and lightning and horizontal rain. The weather gods must have decided that enough was enough and the storm passed and the rain stopped as we walked ashore.
Shuttle bus to the entrance to docks and then a brisk walk to the station. Arrived with ample time to spare and when the 8:41 hadn't shown up we took the 8:51 from another platform. The train is a suburban service and could do with a bit of spit and polish. Despite appearances she rocketed along at 145 Km/Hr. The train became very crowded as it stopped and picked up commuters along the way.
With a map of Rome in hand we stepped off at a station some distance to the South of the Vatican and amazed ourselves in finding the place. Huge courtyard and people from all parts of the world. Joined the queue to check through the security scanner and walked into St Peter's Basilica. The place is like a small city with chapels and little nooks on both sides. Some areas were closed off including a considerable area near the main altar.
There are so many sculptures, statues, paintings and other works of art that it is difficult to focus on this being a 'church'. There is an attached museum (6 € each – no photography permitted) containing many of the treasures of the church. There was also the inevitable gift shop to help lighten your pockets. By about 12:30 we started wandering towards a Metro station just North of the Vatican. Without guidance from anyone we found the station but then had to ask someone which direction we needed to go. The Metro trains are quick and frequent and quite crowded.
Before long we'd arrived at the 'central' station and must have walked close to two Km to get from the Metro to the surface trains. What an enormous station. Our train was to depart from platform 27. We found 1 to 23 and were wondering if someone was having a loan of us. But we found the sign “Lines 25 to 32 400 meters”. So another half kilometre and we found our train.
An uneventful trip back to the ship and we had time for a short nap before diner. When we sat down there was hardly anyone in the dining room, many were still on their way back from Rome. The Starlight show tonight was an aging comedian – Lenny Windsor. He was for many years a writer for the Benny Hill show. As you can imagine he was most disrespectful of anything and anyone. A hilarious hour as he managed to take the 'mickey' out of everyone that caught his eye.
The ship's a bit lively tonight and if there any typos or other errors, put it down to the fact that my keyboard is moving beneath my fingers.