I’ve been to Rome three times .. for free…by speaking on a ship. And I’d go back if selected to give one of my award-worthy talks. In fact, we are leaving soon for a trip Rome-Greece-Istanbul.
I took my sister there last time since you can take another person and my wife was working. You don’t dock in Rome…the port is called Civitavecchia. This about a 2-hour bus ride to Rome. I was picked as an escort so even that tour was free. The job as an escort is just to count heads on the ship. Once we arrived, we were free to be normal tourists.
We were quite pleased in that all the good stuff is a short walk apart. We didn’t take a cab anywhere and saw the best sights. St. Peter’s Basilica lives up to its reputation. Pure opulence. A tip when visiting the actual Vatican – get there at noon – tourists get hungry and the line was acceptable.
When you walk thru it, it’s hard not to wonder why the church that preaches – “help the poor” does not sell all those works and donate.
The Coliseums and the old senate site: the Pantheon are well-preserved and worth a stroll. The catacombs were neat also. There are seven hills, but I could not really see them. The Tiber River runs through the city.
IMHO, one of the dumbest things was the walk to see the Trevi Fountain. It was in a famous movie last century. Toss three coins in the fountain…Zzzzz.
Watch out for the traffic. I once rented a car and drove thru the city – worse than Boston!!
Tune in for more fables.
My trip last week as a cruise ship speaker from Montreal to NYC was a blast. Cold but fun. We stopped at Quebec, Halifax, Bar Harbor,Boston, Newport and ended at New York. Saw the new One World Trade Center in Manhattan. It’s up and looks great. The beveled sides reflect the sun from every angle. Freedom Tower is the common name.
Seeing it and thinking of the disaster in 2001, makes you very sad that other humans could have done this. I recall the images of the towers falling and the huge dust clouds. As we sailed up towards the Hudson river, it made you proud to see it. Everyone of the 900 passengers was fixated and clicking shots. I took mine at 12 Megapixels, but had to shrink them to work on this WordPress site.
One reason I really like speaking on cruise ships is the exposure you can get to parts of the world you may have only read about. On a cruise last year, my wife and I toured Israel. The stops included Bethlehem. This current Christmas season reminded me of our time there. It was almost surreal to travel by bus and arrive at the Palestinian controlled Bethlehem. As we approached the town, our bus was boarded by an Israeli army person. Passports checked. The whole town is surrounded by a 30 ft high steel wall. Really.
We were told that the Israeli’s got tired of dealing with the covert bombings that originated from within, so they built the wall. It was no problem once we were inside. All of the religious buildings and artifacts from the birth of Christ were all open to us and there was no uneasiness. The guides presented a clear picture of what we were seeing and the events that occurred there over 2,000 years ago.
This trip was special and we really enjoyed the education and learning of the realities of today’s world. As a cruise ship speaker, this was all opened up to me.