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Independence of the Seas Cruise – Day 7 – Civitavecchia and Rome

Finally arrive at the ‘Port to Rome’ today-Civitavecchia, a small little fishing port on the coast of Italy, at 7:30. Get woken up by the most annoying ring tone in the whole universe (aka the phone on my left, I tried blocking the noise with some of my fluffy toys but it didn’t help much) and doggishly got out of bed in preparation for the day’s events.

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A close up shot of Emerald Princess

As we get driven out by coach to the bus station (where we then take another bus to the train station, where we wait for thirty minutes before it arrives) we pass by numerous other cruise ships also docking here today, including Emerald Princess (which we met back at Southampton), Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (I think), a MSC cruise liner and also a couple of other big yachts, including Sea Owl and Force Blue.

When we eventually reach the train station believing to be late, we actually arrive just shy of an hour early, so we end up waiting on the platform in the scorching hot sun praying for the train to arrive. When it does, I find it very interesting: the smallish train has room for three levels of seats and a rather stinky toilet with an almost always locked door; we take second level seats and prepare ourselves for the journey ahead: that is, by eating Percy Pig’s (courtesy of my teachers, came from my end of school party) and watching Brooklyn-Nine-Nine with my brother Lews. (Watch it, it’s good.)

When we reach Rome Centrale Station, the last on our line, we spend about ten minutes walking just to the tube-it’s a straight long line that goes right down to the tube, and takes a lot of walking as well. Get on the tube and go to the Vatican station, where we are immediately bombarded by scammers and cheaters who try to make us go the wrong way/buy stuff/go on tours etc. as if the stuffed tube wasn’t enough. (Full of staring children. Ahhhh.)

The Vatican square itself is smaller than had imagined, from countless videos on the BBC screening live events there with so many people crowded into that one space I expected it to have a larger circumference than it did, although it might have been due to construction work (as ever) on some of the pillars closest to the Vatican.

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‘construzioni’

 The queue to go in went round more than half of the whole square and was growing by the minute, so we decided not to go in.

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The Vatican square

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If you look closely, you can see the queue on the left reaching right back past the middle of the Vatican square. The queue came from the Vatican, for people trying to get in. Have fun.

So we walked around the city, hopelessly trying to reach the Roman Collosseum.

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One of the many churches around the city

We passed massive lime stoned castles with moss everywhere making it look like Sleeping Beauty’s castle, churches, bumpy roads and seagulls (what would Rome be without its seagulls eh?) before reaching another square with a sprouting fountain with mermaids riding dolphins and spouting water from their mouths. Unique, right?

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The sproutin’ fountain

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The seagull stare

After visiting an open air church (forgotten the name) we eat some deliciously refreshing ice cream: I had pistachio and hazelnut flavours. Unfortunately because of eating the ice cream we had to miss out on the horse-drawn tours around the city, which meant we couldn’t go to see the Spanish Steps as there wouldn’t be enough time; we had spent about two hours just wandering around aimlessly going in circles, taking advise from two people who said to go two different ways in order to reach our originally proposed destination; the Roman Collosseum.

So we ended up trundling along, and we slowly spread out across the very long street, with my Dad at the front, hurrying to get tickets so as not be late and run out of time, me and Lews in the middle trying to take pictures here and there of the many scattered Roman ruins around the street as well as catching up with our Dad, and my Mum, my friend Catherine and her mum at the back, hiding underneath trees and umbrella stands; anything to get out of the sun, she hates getting tanned.

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One of the many Roman ruins nearby the Collosseum; sadly we didn’t have enough time to walk through it but you can watch my video on YouTube on walking down the street to the Collosseum, shaky camera though.

The Collosseum, built around 70-80AD for the Emperor Vespasian/Titus (The Roman Collosseum, Wikipedia) is a truly phenomenal landmark and is one of the Wonders of the World and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was truly a wonder when we finally caught sight of it, a great, looming object in the hazy distance. When we got up close I could see the inevitable builders doing construction work as ever but it was still a grand sight with its concrete and stone walls, although earthquakes and robbers had looted the Collosseum of some its masonry, though not its pride.

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Inside the spectacular Collosseum (sorry no pictures from the outside, we didn’t have enough time to dawdle there long)

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Black and white picture of the Roman Collosseum

Luckily, my Dad buying tickets early got us through the two-hour long queue in less than ten minutes-a miracle. With not much time left to spare we hurriedly walked round the circumference of the Collosseum, before heading out back to the tube station to go back in time to catch our train to Civitavecchia.

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The Collosseum shown in full here, with the construction site just below it

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You’re getting none of it

We get back in time to still go to our allotted dinner time with Jesus, Gheorghe and Lancellot, before heading to Studio B on Deck 3 right next to the Romeo & Juliet Dining Room where we ate to go ice skating with Catherine. True, I’m no professional and probably never will be, but I was certainly better than that last time in China where people were falling left and right, part of the rink was occupied by ice hockey trainees being harshly mentored by their tutors and little kids were flying past us at such horrendous speeds it hurt hitting the walls of the ice rink. That was just a killing zone for newbies such as me.

News and Announcements

That concludes the Day in Rome. Next up: Florence and Pisa! Also, just as a bit of late news we have reached over 50 posts! Thank you to my blogging friends who like, follow and reblog/share my posts. It’s much appreciated and I hope your blog goes far! –MoonlightWalnut (aka Elayne Snowhawk)

Where’s Lews Therin, I hear you ask? Want to know where else he went in Singapore and the world beyond? Well don’t worry, he has been busy recently but since it’s the holidays he’ll be able to post a couple of posts before the holidays are over. I hope you’ll enjoy them, and mine too of the cruise. Thank you for reading!

Want to suggest a post idea, improvement or just comment about my post? Please feel free to reply to this post, I love having good people to talk to about good natured things. If you have nothing to say, just like my post if you…liked it. And if you didn’t, comment why, and I’ll try my best to make things vaguely more interesting for you in my next post.

I’d also like to make a tribute to Robin Williams who apparently committed suicide in his home yesterday in California. He was a great and funny actor who could bring life to any room just by being in it, I’m sure that we’ll all miss him and that he’s in a good place right now.

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R.I.P Robin McLaurin Williams

1951-2014

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