30 Sep At sea, 1 Oct Mt vesuvius/Pompeii, 2 Oct Rome

30 Sep 2014 At sea
Met Peter for breakfast then off to boot camp at 10am. A few more crazy people turned up for it this time. Thought I’d be late as I still get lost on this monster ship. The class didn’t seem as hard this time although time will tell tomorrow!

Straight up to the Lotus Spa for a body and foot massage with facial special. After that off to the shop sale! Not great stuff, very junky made-in-china jewellery, scarves and clothing. I did get an el-cheapo watch with a massive face and a wind cheater at half price though.

Peter was watching a cooking demonstration while I was getting pampered then we had lunch together. Bit of relaxation time now before our second cocktail formal night.

I squeezed in a pilates class before getting dressed for tonight. Off to dinner at Symphony again. The waiter, Rinaldo, is very funny and gives us extra food to try. More formal portraits tonight. Only three before we go to the show ‘Spectacular’. They have two shows a night and they are both packed. We also went to see couples game show that was a bit of fun.

1 Oct 2014 Naples (Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii)
On the way to Mt Vesuvius we stop at Giovanni Apa who make cameos and jewellery from shells. Very elaborate and very expensive!
The bus continues to halfway up Mt Vesuvius then walk the rest of the way to the summit. It is very steep on rock and ash, so very slippery. Peter struggled a bit and I was stuffed coming down too. It is a spectacular view over the Bay of Naples. You can see steam coming out of the top of the mountain in the big crater. It is very barren with not much growing in the ash.

Back on the bus to see Pompeii. It is a massive city only unearthed in the 1800s. It was a working city in 79 AD. There is one long main street that held shops and houses. You can still what some of the shops were – a baker, a brothel (with pictures to show the services). Also a rich person’s house with garden and mosaic tile entrance. The men’s bath house still has a roof made of bricks and ornate ceilings. Most of the roofs were made of wood and were burnt by molten lava. Houses had two storeys so the tops were destroyed but the bottoms were preserved. Pompeii had running water that the inhabitants collected at communal wells. There was a massive town square that overlooked Mt Vesuvius and an arena. The street that led from the sea had marble chips imbedded in it to act as reflectors for seamen coming in at night! It is a fascinating place. We only saw a small portion of it. It was a very big day.

Perhaps too big. We had dinner in the buffet, went to see a violinist show (he was very good), I got a headache and went to bed about 8pm. Peter went off to the casino.

2 Oct 2014 Civitavecchia (Rome)
Boarded a bus bound for Lake Bracciano in the Etruscan countryside. Unfortunately the mike didn’t work so we had to get a replacement bus, which put us a little behind. Stopped to see the castle that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married then on to the lakeside resort of Anguillara, a medieval town that overlooks Lake Bracciano. I walked up to the clock tower for the views over the lake and Peter went around the lake to take the opposite view. We had coffee and ice-cream at Il Gabbiano on the foreshore. Then off to Tuscia wine country and Casalo Centi Corvi winery for some wine tasting, cured meats, cheeses, breads and olive oil. Wished we could take some home. The sauv blanc was very good! Back on the bus and back to the ship.

I took a side trip by shuttle into Civitavecchia for a quick look around. It was easy to remember the street to come back to – xvi settembre (16 September, my birthday!). I got closer views of the port and the medieval walls. Unfortunately the shops are closed until 4pm but I did find a wifi cafe close to the pick up point.

Off to dinner around 6pm then listened to Sail Away Tunes with the Emmanuelle Blanco Band at the Fountain pool with exotic cocktail, of course! Pub night trivia was a lot of fun. Not the usual trivia though. All the correct answers went into a bucket – or the funniest wrong answer. At the end one gets pulled out, and guess what? – we won a bottle of wine. I stayed for the Ye Olde Pub Night which was bawdy British singing and clowning around.

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