We debated long and hard about traveling into Rome today. Our port in Civitavecchia is about a 1.5 hour trek from the ship. That's a 15 minute walk to the train station and a 1.25 hour train ride. After our Athens bus fiasco, we didn't know whether we wanted to deal with it. In the end, we opted to give it a go. If nothing else, the train ride itself would be our excursion! We were very glad not to be the people ending our cruise here. What a pain in the butt it would be to have to drag your suitcase from the ship to the airport. Surprisingly enough, the entire day went smoothly...except for the rain...oh, and that little issue with train ticket validation. Just like the buses in Athens, the trains in Rome require you to validate your tickets BEFORE getting on the train. We purchased our BIRG ticket from an information booth just beside where the cruise shuttle drops you off outside the port. We were charged 13 E for the 12E train ticket (I guess they add a 1 E convenience fee, or perhaps service charge?) and we took note of the big sign advising of the requirement to validate. Off we went to the train station, and upon arrival, found ourselves in a flat out run to our train sitting on the platform. Where in the heck were they hiding these validation machines? I asked the conductor upon boarding where we validate. He looked at my ticket, grunted and turned on his heel and walked out of the car. So, we proceeded to take a seat. On the way to the seat a local was telling a tourist to sign and date the back of the ticket, so we did the same. Sure enough, the conductor came through the car to check tickets, and ours weren't validated. He didn't say much to us, other than to be sure to validate immediately when we arrived in Rome. We exited the train at the San Pietro Station because we had heard nightmares about Rome Termini, the main central station. It was the best decision we made all day. San Pietro Station is quite small and within a few blocks of the Vatican. There we picked up a hop on, hop off bus tour. It was a 1.5 hour circuit where we saw almost everything that Rome is famous for, then hopped off, found a pizza restaurant for a taste of some Italian pizza and a beer. Picked up a few souvenirs, including some Pope player cards. Nope, I don't mean "playing cards", I mean "player" cards...sort of like baseball cards, only with pope-stuff on them. And strolled back to the San Pietro Station for the return trip.
The biggest surprise was when we were heading from the port to the train station and walked by a huge statue
All in all, one of the easiest and most relaxing days we've had. Who knew you could have such a relaxing time in such a huge city!
It's deja vu...all over again!
Saturday, October 05, 2013
Civitavecchia, Lazio, Italy