These are the ports for Pisa/Florence and Rome. As we have explored Pisa and Rome in the past, and more particularly as no wheel chair tours were in place (more about that later), we decided to investigate the ports further.
Livorno is in Tuscany and is Italy’s third largest seaport. It has had a troubled history. The city has been razed to the ground numerous times over the centuries and during the Second World War it suffered badly. There are now some dramatic newish piazzas
and a “New Market” constructed 70 years ago, but Livorno does not rank far from the bottom of the list of our favourite places.
Civitavecchia ranks near the bottom of the list as well! Both of us had a recollection of a market and a modernised traffic free area, but we couldn’t find it. The shuttle had dropped us off at an area we did not recognise and our explorations failed to locate the promised land!
Tonight the ship will be full of very tired passengers who have been on tours to Rome. Our four dinner companions are on tours so will be able to regale us with stories of their activities. They are great fun.
John and Alan are from Whitstable in Kent. John retired aged 53 some 19 years ago, after working as an engineer for the Electricity Generating Board (wrong description but I recall that it changed hands many times!). Alan was in the licensing trade for many years and ran Golf Club bars. He is a Scot, which means that I sometimes don’t understand him, but he has a wonderful sense of humour.
Ken and Tracey are from Preston. Ken is a policeman and for the last 5 years has been seconded to the Met, travelling down to London every week for some very important work, that I ought not talk about. The spell with the Met has just come to an end so he will be returning to the Preston force. I think Tracey and their two sons will be pleased to see more of him. Ken lets us in to all sorts of stories!
Two things I meant to mention. The celebrity speaker on board is Lord Digby Jones. He gave one talk last week on a sea day – about his life. I haven’t yet had a chance to speak to him, but I will. He is a brilliant orator and his life story parallels mine. Except that he made senior partner of a very large law firm, Edge Ellison in Birmingham at age 35 – I was somewhat older than that when I attained a similar position in Southampton! He was a Knight and then a Lord. I am still waiting to hear from the Lord Chamberlain. But you can see the parallels.
The other thing I forgot to mention was that while on the waterfront in Toulon we spotted Captain Inger having lunch ashore with the Hotel Manager, David Stephenson and his wife. As they were all in civvies, few passengers recognised them, and when the Captain travelled back to the ship on the local shuttle boat, she sat amongst the passengers and queued up with them to leave the boat. No pulling rank there.
Today (Thursday) is a day at sea as we sail to the west from Italy to Spain. Last night we sailed through the Bonifacio Strait which divides Sardinia and our old holiday island of Corsica. We had five summer holidays in Corsica with Mark Warner and those spent at Club Marinca were, without doubt, some of the best summer holidays the Smith family had.