Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Disembarking the Royal in Civitavecchia

Streets are narrow here in Lucca - one van is parked and the other can not get by

It was particularly hard for me to get off the ship.  Maybe because we were only on for a short time, but today I am on the verge of tears whenever I say goodbye to someone else.

We wake and we are showered and completely packed and out of the cabin just before 8.  Breakfast in the dining room this morning where we say goodbye to Felippe, and Silvio.  Both will be here in Jan so that is some comfort.

After breakfast we go to say goodbye to Michael.  And that is hard too!  

Disembarking was a breeze.  Here in Italy the ship gets cleared easily, they don’t require a zero count so in transit can go out and bing back in easily.   But sadly we are getting off.

We get our bags and get in the line for the free shuttle to the port gate.  The line is long but it moves fast.  The couple in front of us in the bus was not having a good day.  From what we heard (and those around us)  he had lost quite a bit at the casino on board.  They are mad taxis can't come right to the ship.  They aren't sure how to get to the train station.  We did not say anything -- there is no way I want to listen to them all the way to the train.

Once at the port gate we walk to the train station where we board the train to Pisa and then on to Lucca.  Easy!  But there is a shuttle bus for 2E from the port gate to the train station if you need it.  Also numerous shuttles, taxis, shared rides to Rome city, or airport at the port gate.  

We board our train to Pisa which is just under 3 hours.  We upgraded to first class train (nothing fancy but extra room and more room to store our bags between the seats).  

on train to Lucca they had this great up to date screen which showed speed of train, exactly where you were, next stop and connections at that next station.

Our train is late by 12 minutes and we only have 20 minutes between trains in Pisa but it runs very efficiently and when we get off in Pisa we just have to move one platform and catch the train to Lucca.  We also knew that if we missed that train there was another about 20 minutes later.  But we managed to get on the train with around 4 minutes to spare.

The ride to Lucca is short and when we get off we have to get orientated.  I pull out the paper map and try and figure it out, but street signs are not as easy to find in Europe so out comes the map app (make sure you download your map so you can view it off line) and we can quickly locate where we are and we are off in the direction of our Airbnb.

When we arrive at 1500 there is no one there so I open the Airbnb app and easily click on the contact host option and I am connected with Giorgia.  She arrives ten minutes later.

Note we have used Airbnb three times now and each time we have had to contact the host someway either by phone or email to let us in.  So having some free wifi or data plan and even phone plan in the country is necessary.  

When she arrives she apologizes thinking when I sent the message about when we would arrive at 1500 via the train she thought our train arrived at 1500 not that we would be at the door at 1500.  

She takes us up to the apartment which is located on the ground floor which is really the first floor in North America.

The place is HUGE - certainly bigger than our apartment at home.  Very nicely decorated.  Two bedroom, two bathrooms and very reasonably priced.  The kitchen has all modern appliances and omg there is a huge bathtub with rain shower.  The other bathroom has another one of those space ship beam me up showers.  

There is even a washer AND dryer!  

It is so nice to have this space and to make it feel like home.

We head out to wander the streets of Lucca, which are maze like.   We have a simple meal that starts with calpraise salad then we each have a bowl of bean soup and we share a plate of eggplant lasagna and of course a half litre of house red wine.  Total was 27 E.

We wander around some more and enjoy the ambiance.  Not many cars come into the walled city, most travel on foot and on bicycle.  

Roads are large boulders and the buildings ouze history.  If you look up you see the older ladies watching the sights of the streets below.

We need a few groceries for breakfasts and we locate a grocer using the map app.  Now these grocery stores are nothing like you would find at home.  These are small stores that carry most of what you would need.  But of course there are numerous stores for your baked goods (which we locate and buy some foccacia for tomorrow), wine, meats, cheese, pasta and well you name it.  

Back at the apartment we figure out the washer then dryer and we relax for a few hours.

Later on in the early evening we head out for our evening stroll walking arm in arm along the streets of Lucca.  Ahh life is good and I feel like I am in a movie - Under the Tuscan Sun, maybe?  

We check out some streets that lead to interesting spots.  We feel very safe here.  There are tourists here but nothing like many of the other cities we have visited like Rome, Venice, Florence or Barcelona.  Mainly locals and a few tourists.  

Of course what stroll would be complete without a stop for some gelato.  It is all in Italian and I don't know what the flavours are so I ask what her favorites are and I take that.  Ended up being hazelnut and marscapone.

The square we are in is called Piazza Amfiteatro - the old Roman amphitheater.  It use to be in this square (it actually sat 10,000) but was gradually cannibalized for its stones.  Now there are homes all around and on the main level stores, bars, restaurants and tourist shops.  The main floor here is actually nine feet above the original arena floor.  

We wander out and then Bernie comments "some wine would be nice" well low and behold a little wine bar (but also sells beer and cocktails) is there just calling our name.  We love these types of places.  Small, only a few chairs, most people stand, or take their drinks outside and enjoy their drinks.  The bar also provides little nibbles - like olives, bread, spreads, and other items, nothing big just to nibble on.

We each get a glass of red wine that is made locally and sip and enjoy the ambiance.

But we are beat, it has been a long day and we are looking forward to a few relaxing days here and the idea of sleeping in.  So we are back at the apartment early and I catch up on the blog.

I can hear the tv in the bedroom - but there are no Enlish channels so I can only hear Italian but he is watching it.  Hard to separate a man from his tv I guess.  He tells me later he was watching Pawn Stars in Italian!  Go figure.

Well good night everyone, thanks for following.

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