Monday, May 22, 2023

May 7, 2023 – Civitavecchia, Italy - Partly Cloudy - 75F

I had a little trouble sleeping so I was able to get glimpses of our short cruise to Civitavecchia.  We arrived very early,

and I was up in the Oceanview Café when it opened at 6:00 AM.  It wasn’t crowded at that hour and all of the food items were still available on this disembarkation day.  A nice final breakfast accompanied by a beautiful sunrise.

I brought Ellen her breakfast and she would have sufficient time to eat it before having to leave the cabin.

After vacating the room, we waited for our group to be called in Café Baccio.  Group 34 was called pretty quickly, and we scanned out and headed down the serpentine gangway to the terminal.

I tried to say hello to Luigi, but he didn’t really see me (or maybe didn’t recognize me).  Found our bags pretty quickly and then found our bus.  We got our seats and put our backpacks up in the overhead racks.  As we were leaving Civitavecchia, I got final glimpses of Celebrity Beyond docked.

The ride took about an hour and took us through the countryside and parallel to the coast. In fact, I saw the train we usually take to Rome whizzing parallel to the bus and closer to the water.

We had a very good guide on board who tried to give us some info on what to do when we got to our destination – Ostiense Station. She said to only take the official White Taxi to the City.  The cab ride should run around 17 Euros.  She also took our name and Cabin number and told us she needed that to arrange for cabs to meet us at the station.

We got off the bus – there were a lot of taxis around – and grabbed our suitcases.  We were ushered over to a cab and got in.  When we looked at the meter, it already read 30 Euros.  We asked the cabbie what was going on and he said that he and the other cabs had to wait for us so the meters were running.  That seemed odd since the cruise line should have coordinated with the cab companies on the schedule.

We were about to exit the cab and look for another ride when the cab driver said it would only be 25 Euros.  For that price, we took the original cab. I should mention that the cab driver was very nice and understanding about the whole mess. 

The cab meandered around Rome and found our hotel, Hotel Isa, which is located on Via Cicerone.  The traffic was bad and the driver told us that there was a marathon today in Rome and many of the downtown streets had been closed.  He had to take an alternate route to get to our hotel.  He helped us with the bags, and we checked in and were told that our room was ready.  The hotel is very nice and quaint.  It has a vintage elevator (thank goodness) 

that took us and our bags to our room on the third floor, Room 307.  The room looks out on to the street and is about what you would expect from a metro European hotel room.  It had a double bed and a very small bathroom (no tub).  The room was very warm because it had a West exposure (just like home) so we tried to get the A/C to work.  Also, the sink drain plug was stuck in the down position.  The desk sent someone up to fix the drain as well as a fan to help with the room temperature. 

We were later told that the A/C doesn’t get turned on until June and so we asked for a different room.  We were shown a much smaller room with a single bed and a day bed but had decided to stay in the hot room for tonight.  The desk said to check with them tomorrow about room availability. 

Our hotel is about a block away from the Italian Supreme Court and the Tiber River.  We could see the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica from the roof top bar.  

We tried to take a walk around the neighborhood but there was no shade at the noon hour and we had to retreat back to the hotel to get out of the heat.  I got a picture of the Palace of Justice Supreme Court of Cassation (official name)

and the Piazza Cavour (named for Camilo Cavour, the first Prime Minister of Italy). The court played an interesting role in the history of Italy - this court made the final decision to not convict Amanda Knox for murder in a high-profile case years ago.

There was a movie theater on the corner of our street that played Italian movies.

For lunch, we had some of the snacks we snatched from the ship and stayed in the room with the fan blasting until it was time for dinner. We asked for recommendations at the desk and the nice woman told us to go to San Marco Pizzeria.  We did but the place was crowded, and the street was under construction, so we kept looking and wound up at Malaterra Roma Pizza.  I was looking for a salad as well.  The menu had both and so we decided to stay despite the name which means “bad earth”.  

The place was overflowing with atmosphere (the waitstaff was all in uniform including some interesting newsboy caps). The table settings were unique - the knife and fork were put on a little block of plexiglass - the dishes were interesting as well.

As it turned out, there was no salad available tonight, but we stayed and ordered a Margherita Pizza Buffa (Buffalo mozzarella instead of the standard cheese).  The pizza wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have a lot of Buffa cheese on it. Not the best. 

On the way home, we took the antidote for subpar pizza – gelato.  Again, the little cup was 3.50 Euros – I had an accidental mix of coffee and hazelnut (lost in translation) and Ellen had a hazelnut gelato.  They were a bit grainy and not as good as the gelato in Firenze.

When we got back, we spent some time in the roof top bar – much cooler up there.  There were quite a lot of people up there – I think some girls were having a party. 

We opened a window to cool down the room. The room seems quiet and perhaps the street will also be quiet tonight.

Not a lot of steps today but they were hot ones.

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