Monday, 30 May 2016

NCL Epic - Western Med - Day 8

Day 8 - Civitavecchia


 The port of Rome is as busy as ever. Ships bustle for space on the docks making what appear at times to be impossible maneuvers to squeeze sideways into any available space - its always fun to watch. We arrived early and we are up early this morning as we have to be meet up in the Atrium with our small pre organised group for the 'Not going to Rome tour'. Once we are all gathered together we are whisked off by car from ship side to a waiting mini bus just outside the port (The port of Civitavecchia is closed to the public and taxis unless they have a licence to enter)


We are soon driving through fertile green countryside that reminds me of Tuscany and its a lovely morning, clear and warm. Our first stop is the Etruscan Necropolis complex at Tarquinia . A large complex of underground burial chambers each uniquely decorated for its occupier. There is a lot to see here; the UNESCO site is beautifully well maintained  and set in a lovely quite spot. It also has a tiny little cafe in one corner that serves the most wonderful coffee.


Your ticket also gives you access to the museum in Tarquinia  a small medieval town just a little further down the road of lovely stone buildings. Our driver first takes us to the lovely little church and convent of [insert name]  and a short walk from here also takes you to a beautiful little outlook over the entire valley.


I would recommend seeing the necropolis before the museum as it gives you a great overview of the cultures that lived there and has some great displays of the artifacts discovered.


It is soon lunch time and the driver has a friend in the town (don't  they always) who just happens to have a little trattoria hidden down one of the little side streets. Its simple and excellent and reassuringly full of locals (though a few wouldn't be out of place in a Francis Ford Coppola movie)  - Italian food at its best (and the house wine isn't too bad either).

In the afternoon we head inland towards Lake Bracciano and the Castello Orsini-Odescalchi which wikipedia informs me was the castle that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes chose to get married in - not a great Omen for any future brides then.  It is a beautiful spot though perched high up and overlooking the volcanic lake and we practically have the place to ourselves. Afterwards we travel down to the lake for a walk on the shore.


It was a great day and many thanks must go to Karen for organising the whole thing through the roll call on the CC forums.


That evening we dine in the MDR where the food is great though we are seated just that bit too close to the band. Quite why they have to  use a speaker stack setup on the stage is a bit odd. It means in order for the back of the dining room to hear it has to be uncomfortably loud for anyone near the Manhattans dance floor - they surely must have the facility to pipe it through the dining rooms system at a comfortable level for all.

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