A Travellerspoint blog

Italy

At Sea - Monday, 8 April 2019

semi-overcast 13 °C
View To London, To London, To Visit The Queen on gaddingabout's travel map.

Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047
Gala Evening - Mariner's Ball

A relaxing sea day today, sailing to Barcelona.

There's quite a cool breeze blowing and it's 14 degrees.

After breakfast, I went for an appointment with Marco, the gym instructor, re working on my metabolism. I will join a gym when I am back home to receive some training in how to use weights properly.

I then went to a lecture by John McCarthy, who spoke about his 1,943 days as a captive in Beirut by the Islamic Fundamentalists. It was rivetting and will be continued in a couple of days. The theatre was almost full.

We are having room service for lunch.

We had a lazy afternoon and Phil slept, trying to recover from his cold and I finished reading another book.

It was another gala evening, so we dressed for dinner and after dinner we went to a show. We thought it was going to be Phillip Browne again. It was, but prior to his performance, the ship's dancers and singers put on a show. They were very good and then Phillip Browne came on and only sang a few songs this time, which was a shame. His first show was a knock out.

We have an early rise tomorrow for our shore excursion to Tarragona in Barcelona.

Posted by gaddingabout 01:09 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Civitavecchia, Italy - Sunday, 7 April 2019

Visit the undiscovered City of Bagnoregio

semi-overcast 13 °C
View To London, To London, To Visit The Queen on gaddingabout's travel map.

Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047

Today we went on a shore excursion to the Undiscovered City of Bagnoregio. Curious name - if it's "undiscovered", how can we find it??!!

Well, we found it. How could you miss it? It is a stunning medieval city, perched on top of a plateau, overlooking the Tiber River valley.

It was founded by the Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago. It was the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure who died in 1274. The locatiion of his boyhood home has long since fallen off the edge of the cliff. By the 16th century, Bagnoregio was beginning to decline and by the end of the 17th century, the municipal government was forced to move due to a major earthquake that accelerated the old town's decline. It is now known as The Dying Town.

The city is much admired for its architecture spanning several hundred years. The population today varies from about 7 people in winter to more than 100 in summer.

The town was placed on the World Monuments Fund's 2006 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites, because of threats it faces from erosion and unregulated tourism.

Early rise this morning as we are going ashore in Rome. We had to turn our clocks back one hour and for some reason, this proved quite difficult so we set three alarms and they all went off at different times; one at 5 am, one at 5.50 am and one at 7.00 am, when we were aiming for 6 am! Anyway, we were up and dressed and ready for our breakfast at 6.45 am.

It is very overcast, quite cool and pouring with rain. This ship has different paintwork!

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By the time we went ashore, the rain had stopped, but there is a very threatening sky. We have three bus loads going to the undiscovered city of Bagnoregio, where only six people live, the oldest being 103.

It took about two hours driving to get there - 100 kilometres but on back roads. At least being Sunday is a help - not much traffic.

The Italian countryside is green and beautiful. We passed through lots of small towns and villages, oozing charm. I have always loved Italy. Crumbly and falling down, but oozing charm.

We arrived at Citiva di Bagnoregio, in the Viterbo province of Lazio, along with several other tour buses but definitely nowhere near the amount that were at Petra. We queued for a while, waiting for a shuttle bus to take us to the ticket office, where we would then commence our walk, up and down and then up, up, up to this magnificent medieval city on top of an enormously high rock.

Our first glimpse of Bagnoregio was jaw dropping. It is simply magnificent. Watching people slowly walking along the path to the top, reminded me so much of the Great Wall of China.

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It was quite an effort to walk to the top. The new, strong cement and iron bridge was constructed in the 1950s - before that there was just a ricketty old wooden bridge and when the wind was blowing, it had to be closed.

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The town is about 300 m wide and 200 m long so it is impossible to get lost, even for me. There is a town square, with a church and a few streets radiate off it.

It was built in the 13th century by the Estruscans. They chose such a high place to avoid being attacked. Well, let me tell you, no self respecting enemy would have the strength to climb that high and then launch an attack!

We had about three hours on our own to wander around this fantastic place. It also reminds me a lot of San Giminano in Tuscany. There were photo opportunities everywhere you looked.

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We found a lovely B&B called Trattorio Antico Forno and went in for lunch. We were the first there and Phil chatted with the owner who then provided us with some of his home made red wine. Just delicious. Then we ordered several different types of bruschetta, some sausage and a coffee. There is nothing quite like a genuine Italian feast in a genuine Italian village. Belissimo! They even had free Wifi which turned me into a rude person, emailing at the table, but I had to reply to a couple of urgent emails. The bill was 37€, so we gave them 40, for a most enjoyable experience.

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All too soon, it was time to leave for our "climb" back up the hill to the top. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but Phil suffered a bit with his breathing because of his cold. What a fantastic trip this was. It is one of those places that you will never forget and will tell everyone who are visiting this area, that it is a MUST to visit.

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Because it is Sunday and the roads are very quiet, we were back at the ship before 4 pm, so time for a nice cold beer, sitting on the balcony, sun baking and writing my blog.

Thank goodness it didn't rain today. It was cool but that was a blessing for all the walking we had to do. The sun came out mid afternoon and it is even quite warm.

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Posted by gaddingabout 01:03 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

At Sea - Saturday, 6 April 2019

overcast 14 °C
View To London, To London, To Visit The Queen on gaddingabout's travel map.

Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047
We woke to a grey, dreary day with quite a swell, but this ship is magnificent. Can't feel a thing! Wind force 8.

Today is another sea day en route to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. We are enjoying the sea days - total relaxation, though the weather is getting much cooler.

This morning after breakfast, I went to another lecture by Professor Margaret Cox on Health and Disease in the Graeco-Roman World. Very interesting.

Then I attended a lecture in the CanyonRanch Spa Club on the Secrets to a Flatter Stomach. It was a light bulb moment for me. Marco talked about how to speed up your metabolism by doing weights in the gym. Now, I absolutely HATE going to the gym, but I am willing to give the weights thing a go if it will get rid of my stomach, because nothing else works. Watch this space. I am going to book a complimentary session with him to see what it's like.

The sun is trying to come out and land has come into sight. It is the boot of Italy.

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Spent the afternoon watching Bohemian Rhapsody - the story of Queen and Freddie Mercury. It was great to see it again.

Our next door neighbour on the ship told us that there is a man sitting next to him in the dining room who told him he was Freddie Mercury's confidante and tried to stop the release of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody because it wasn't a true reflection of Freddie and his life. I am thinking he must have been Paul who was sacked by Freddie for not passing on a message from Bob Geldorf about LiveAid, because Brian May and Roger Taylor were collaborators on the movie, so I think they would get it right.

We went to a show before dinner tonight and sat with Yemi and Fiona. It was the magician Jamie Raven and he came second in Britain's Got Talent. He was beaten by a three legged dog by two per cent of the vote! He was very, very good.

We are entering a new time zone and have to turn the clocks back one hour tonight.

Posted by gaddingabout 00:36 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

At Sea - Friday, 5 April 2019

rain 16 °C
View To London, To London, To Visit The Queen on gaddingabout's travel map.

Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047
Gala Evening
It is decidely cooler this morning. No sunrise as such and it is a rather grey and cloudy day. We are sailing to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome and are off Crete at present.

Have had a very lazy day in our cabin, reading and watching movies. It's overcast and has rained a little bit. No one much out on deck today. We even skipped lunch which our waistlines were very happy about!

I went to a lecture this afternoon by Professor Margaret Cox entitled "Old Bones Tell Tales: The Work of the Forensic Anthropologist". It was very interesting and in a few days time she will talk about the work she is doing for the Australian Government in identifying the bodies of Australian soldiers killed in Fromelles in World War One. Should be interesting too.

It was a Gala Night tonight, so after dinner, all dressed up, we went to a show to see Phillip Browne performing. Very, very talented with a fabulous voice. He has starred in West End productions of The Lion King, Showboat and Porgy and Bess. The standard of the performers just gets better and better.

We are sailing through a Force 8 storm or sea or something, BUT this ship is as smooth as anything. I can't feel a thing!

Posted by gaddingabout 13:28 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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