"" Writer's Wanderings: The Port of Rome - Civitavecchia

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Port of Rome - Civitavecchia

The Queen Mary 2 cruised across the Mediterranean and past the pointy toe of the Italian boot. Just north of Sicily, there is an active volcano, Stromboli. It is an island unto itself and inhabited by what I feel are some very brave souls. The volcano puffs smoke every so often making it look as though someone is sending smoke signals. It was a treat to have Commodore Warner slow the ship a bit and circle the west side of the island so we could get a good look. Then we sped up for our port destination, Civitavecchia.

Civitavecchia is pronounced differently by almost anyone you meet who attempts to say it. I’m still not sure of its correct pronunciation and if I could get an Italian to slow down as they say the name, I might be able to come a little closer to what it should sound like. Maybe that’s why everyone just says “the port of Rome.” Indeed it is the port connected to the great city of Rome which is actually about 45 miles away easily accessible by train which is a short walk from the cruise terminal.

We chose not to go into Rome this trip since we have been there before and felt that Rome deserved more than a day trip. On a previous stop in Civitavecchia, we had also toured the ancient Etruscan community of Tarquinia which is about a half hour north of the port. So we set out to explore the streets of Civitavecchia.

We walked for a bit and enjoyed the shops along the way and stopped to sit a few moments and take in the beauty of the redbud trees that were blooming in a small courtyard we found.

Hoping to find a couple of sweatshirts at a reasonable price for our transatlantic crossing, we decided to ask at the information booth if there was any large department store or perchance, a Walmart or Kmart. The girls at the information booth were our entertainment for the morning. While they seemed to speak English well enough, their directions were a bit cryptic. To find “cheap” clothes we should shop in a Chinese store.

She began directing us to an area we had been to already and had her English left and right mixed up. Then, in order to figure out where we were on the map, we pointed to the McDonald’s that was across the square from us and to the map asking where the McDonald’s was on the map. The girl looked at us and frowned. “Micdonuls?”

“Yes,” Bob said. “Right there.” He pointed to the McDonald’s sign and back to the map. “Is it here on the map?”

She looked questioningly at us and shook her head. No clue. We thanked them. Took the oversized map that was almost as big as the town itself and walked to a park bench where we tried hard not to break out in laughter. Sometimes things truly get lost in translation. We never did find the Chinese store with cheap clothes and unfortunately McDonald’s did not have free WiFi so we returned to the ship and enjoyed the quiet with so many passengers gone on tours.

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