Eating in Rome

The Norwegian Jade arrived at Civitavecchia at 6 am on October 26, 2011.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8 am.

We got some breakfast at the buffet.

Ivan and I packed up the rest of our stuff.  We left the boat at 9:15 am.  There was no line to leave which was nice. 

Immigration was easy – they just looked at my passport and waved me through.

It was a rainy day in Italy.  We hoped it wouldn’t be raining in Rome as well.  We got the train from Civitavecchia to Rome.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I were really hungry.  Ivan wanted to find an internet cafe, but we weren’t having any luck.  We needed to print our boarding passes for our flight later.  You would make lots of money with an internet café in the middle of Rome.

Ivan found a wi-fi connection, so we could find some stuff to do.  We had a few hours to waste before our flight later today.  We went to Le Bistrot since we had a wi-fi connection right in front of the restaurant.  The connection was a bit buggy, but worked in one spot.  Ivan and I shared beans with pepper and sage, pasta with tartufo and porchini mushrooms and pasta cacio e pepe (pepper and cheese).  The food was alright.

The rain had gone away and the sky started to clear.

I went to use the bathroom.  The place was located next door.  I noticed that they had a computer and a printer.  I told Ivan this and he asked if he could use their printer so we could print our boarding passes.  They asked if he was a guest, but he said he just needed to print boarding passes so they agreed.

We went to get gelato at Il gelato di San Crispino.  I had Caramel and Grape while Ivan had Caramel and Banana.  Of course, Lil Dave got Banana with another scoop of Banana.  It was tasty gelato!

We saw a group of men all in silver sitting on the street.  They seemed to be drunk, but were dressed in a humorous way with masks and they had fake knives.  I gave a tip and Ivan took a few pictures. 

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Wish all buskers were as funny!

Ivan thought that we should eat more and then head to the airport early.  We got a great brochure during the Eating Italy tour.  We tried to find a good pizza place on the brochure.  Most of the places were only open for dinner.  So, we walked around to find a pizza place. 

We found a restaurant called Cantina & Cucina.  Lil Dave got a pizza made with his own bananas.  Ivan and I shared Contadina pizza with tomato, mozzarella, zucchini, eggplants and pepper. 

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It didn’t have much pepper on it, so Ivan added more.  The pizza was alright.  A lady at the restaurant told us where the nearest tram was.

We got the train to Termini station.  We got the train to the airport from there.  Ivan and I used the internet at the airport.  We checked in for our Wizz flight very quickly. 

The flight wasn’t all booked up.  We left Rome headed to Prague, Czech Republic at 9:45 pm.  The plane arrived at 11 pm.  There was no Immigration to go through which I thought was odd.  But, Ivan said it was fine since it’s in the EU.

Ivan set up pick-up from the airport from our accommodation through AirBnB.  It was a short drive away.  The man gave us the keys to the airport and a Prague map.  We had the 1 bedroom apartment all to ourselves which was nice.  It had a living room area.  Lil Dave was happy since there was a big couch for him to chill out on and sleep on.

We used the free internet and later went to bed.

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Norwegian Cruise

Ivan, Lil Dave and I left by train at 10:50 am on October 15, 2011.  We arrived at Termini and got tickets for another train journey.

Ivan bought spinach and cheese sandwiches and a banana sandwich (for Lil Dave, of course!).

The train ride took an over an hour to reach Cevitecchia.  We walked two blocks and then across the street to the port.  After going through Security, we arrived to the check-in for the Norwegian Jade.  A lady gave Ivan and me a piece of paper with the number 6 on it.  There was a waiting area with seats.  We had to wait until our number was called.  Another lady was calling for the number 1.  Ivan pretended like he had the number 1 and we skipped the waiting time.  I was glad since I really wanted to get on the ship to grab some lunch.

A woman gave us our keys.  She told us that they would hold on to our passports.  We would get them back when Israeli Immigration was onboard.

It was 1:30 pm when we boarded the Norwegian Jade.  We headed towards our room, but unfortunately the rooms wouldn’t be ready until 2 pm.  So, we headed to the buffet.  Ivan and I got fish and aubergine.  Lil Dave munched on two bananas.

Afterwards, we walked down to our interior room.  It’s a small room with no windows.  We figured that we’d spend less on the room and splurge on the excursions on land.

At the start of every cruise, everybody must go to their muster station.  This is the station we go to if an emergency arises.  We went to the Bistro for our muster station.  An announcement was made about how to properly put on our life jacket.

Ivan and I headed back to the room to change into our swimming costumes (swimsuits).  Then, we headed up to the jacuzzi.

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We saw Lil Dave eating a banana burger.  Ivan and I each got a veggie burger.  We chilled in the Spinnaker lounge and read our books.  I’m currently reading Lee Evans’ biography.

It was time to get ready for dinner.

Lil Dave went to the buffet to grab a few bunches of bananas.  Ivan and I headed to the Grand Pacific dining room.  On the Norwegian Jade anytime dining is available for the main dining rooms.  We’ve previously gone on three Carnival cruises where there’s a set time for dining or anytime dining.  The Jade also has lots of restaurants where you have to pay a charge per person.  It’s nice for the option, but we always just eat in one of the dining rooms.

The hostess gave us a beeper since there was a wait.  The beeper buzzes anywhere on the ship.  It was a short wait until it buzzed.

The hostess asked if we wanted to share or eat alone.  Ivan said we could share.  We were given a table for two.  Ivan started off with polenta and a shrimp on top of fingerling potato (which turned out to be potato salad).  I got cream of mushroom soup for an appetizer.

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For our main courses, we both got the broiled lobster and red snapper.  The lobster was very, very dry and the snapper was boring.  We decided to try a Moroccan rice cake which turned out rather plain.  The meal was really tasteless.  I just hope the quality of the food gets better during the cruise.

We walked to the Stardust Theatre.  The British cruise director Jill introduced the show. She’s really plastic and not funny at all.  Jill told the audience that if we liked something we should clap.  Dancing from the Jade dancers were up first.  Next, Duo Volgyi was on.  It’s a woman and man doing an aerial act with the two long cloths.  Ivan and I have seen this way too many times.  It’s good to watch for a few minutes.. then it gets old.  The audience did as Jill said and clapped like every 5 minutes.  How annoying!  The show lasted an hour.  It was alright.

Ivan and I headed back to the room to get some rest.

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Park Tour

Ivan, Lil Dave and I met up with the Eating Italy tour on October 14, 2011.  Our tour guide was an American man named Danny.

The group consisted of 8 people and 1 monkey.  We were given a booklet listing the places we’d be going to on the tour and recommendations for pizzerias, restaurants, pastry shops and gelato shops in Rome.  Our first stop was the Testaccio Market. 

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It’s a cool covered market that has many stalls filled with vegetables, fruits, fish, cheese and meats.  Danny took us to La Prosciutteria di Enzo e Lina.  Here, we had our first food tasting of mozzarella cheese.  It was salty and tasted great.

Danny told us that locals get to know the owners of the stalls.  They’re loyal to the owner and keep coming back to their stall for the products.  This loyalty will give the customer free stuff or the owner will reserve products just for them.

The next stop at the market was the stall of the Tomato Poet.  This man has 45 different varieties of tomatoes.  The Tomato Poet asks the customer what dish he or she will make and then he will find the right tomato for the dish.  Our second food tasting were a few kinds of tomatoes. Ivan and I don’t like raw tomatoes, so we passed on the tasting.  Lil Dave would have been in heaven if there was a Banana Poet who had 45 varieties of bananas.  But, we didn’t see any monkeys selling bananas in the market.

The group walked to a gourmet cheese shop called Volpetti.  We got cheese for our next food tasting.  Ivan and I chose vegetarian, so the rest of the group also got prosciutto.  The cheeses were quite tasty.  We went inside the shop to check out the cheeses.  The store had a variety of cheeses which were all really expensive.

It was on to Barberini.  This shop sells desserts and coffee.  Ivan and I each ordered an espresso.  We enjoyed our coffee with a tiramisu. 

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The tiramisu wasn’t the best.  Bar Pompi’s tiramisu was a lot tastier.

We walked to the Protestant cemetery.  This cemetery has 4,000 people buried in it including Percy Shelley and John Keats. 

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A big pyramid is located right behind the cemetary.  It was built for a man, but at completion he didn’t have enough money to pay for it – so they ended up throwing his body in the river. 

The group stopped at Flavio al Velavevodetto for lunch. 

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Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana and Carbonara pasta was served.  Since we got the vegetarian menu, Ivan and I were served a nice portion of cacio e pepe (spaghetti with pecorino cheese and pepper).  The pasta was very tasty.

The group walked to 00100PIZZA next.  Here, we got a tasting of suppi alla Genovese.  It’s a nice fried ball filled with rice and vegetables.

Our last stop was Giolitti.  Danny told us that some of the shops serve fake gelato which is made out of powder.  Everybody got to choose two flavors of gelato. Lil Dave chose banana for both his flavors.  Ivan got chocolate and banana while I decided on mixed berry and chocolate.  The gelato was tasty especially the strawberry and mixed berry.

We really enjoyed the Eating Italy tour.  The food was great and our guide was very knowledgeable.

We got the bus into the center of Rome.  Then, we walked to the Pantheon. 

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It was lovely inside filled with religious statues and paintings.

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Next, we walked to Borghese Park.  Segways, bicycles, go-karts and motor assisted bikes are available to rent.  Ivan decided to rent a motor assisted bike for an hour.  Ivan drove us around the park. 

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It was such a lovely day out.  The park is big and great to explore on a bike.  We even biked around in the grass.

We had time to waste before the restaurant we wanted to eat opened.  Ivan found a nice bar.  Lil Dave had a banana juice.  Ivan and I sipped on limonchello.

It was almost opening time for the restaurant – so we started walking.

We got a table at Il Gabriello.  Ivan and I shared a good bottle of red wine.  Lil Dave got a banana salad and banana fettuccine.  Ivan and I shared mussels, risotto with prawn and zucchini and gnocchi with mushrooms.  The food was delectable.  Pasta in Italy is superb.

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Walking Pasta

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked to Bar Pompi on October 13, 2011.  Ivan and I each got an espresso.  We got two banana and dark chocolate tiramisus.  Lil Dave gobbled his up.

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Ivan and I enjoyed the tiramisu which didn’t have any coffee flavor.

We got the train to the center of Rome.  We did lots of walking and checked out the sites.

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We had lunch at Life Ristorante.  Lil Dave got banana ravioli.  Ivan and I shared square spaghetti with pecorino cheese and pepper and a salad with spinach, cheese, pears, walnuts and honey.  The spaghetti was good, but the salad needed more honey.

Ivan said he wanted to take us to somewhere cool.  We went to Capuchin Crypt.  This crypt contains hundreds of bones and skulls arranged in cool ways.  There were lamps and skeletons dressed in robes.  It was creepy, but cool at the same time.  Pictures aren’t allowed, but Ivan took a few.

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We took the train back.  We chilled at the apartment. 

For dinner, we went to Osteria del Pegno.  Ivan and I shared mussels, tagliatelle with seabass and ravioli with cheese, spinach and zucchini flower.  Lil Dave got rigatoni with bananas.  The food was delicious.  The Italians can take a few basic ingredients and create a wonderful pasta dish.  We were served a free tasty limonchello after dinner.

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Later on, we walked to the Pantheon.  There’s a cool fountain outside.  Ivan thought we should check out the inside of the Pantheon tomorrow.

We walked to the Trevi Fountain to take a bunch of photos.

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Then, we got the train back to the apartment.

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Roma

On October 12, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8:30 am.  Ivan and I packed up the rest of our stuff.  We were headed to Rome today. 

Ken drove us  to the bus station at 9:15 am.  The bus left at 10 am. 

The bus arrived at airport at 11:30 am.  We checked in.  Ivan and I bought things at Boots.

It was time for lunch.  We grabbed sandwiches at Pret a Manger. 

Our plane left at 2 pm for Rome.  At 5 pm, we arrived in Rome (or Roma as the Italians call it).

Ivan found a bus that was leaving soon.  The bus took us to the center of Rome.  We walked about 15 minutes. 

Our accommodation was booked through AirBnb.  AirBnb is a site where you can find rooms for rent in cities around the world.  It’s a cross between Couchsurfing and a hotel.  The profile was for a girl named Angela.  Her parents don’t speak any English.  We met her parents.  The mom managed to show us our room, the kitchen and the bathroom.  The dad asked if we wanted a coffee.  Ivan said yes. 

Ivan and I used the internet.

The coffee was ready.  Ivan used Google Translate to talk to the dad.  His name was Salvatorio.  He works in a shop while his wife is a chef in a church.  Angela is currently traveling in the USA. 

Ivan and I took showers before going out.

Ivan met Angela’s brother Claudio.  He asked him for a recommendation for dinner that was close by.

We went to La Taverna Del Re for dinner.  Ivan and I shared white bruschetta for an appetizer.  Lil Dave got a banana pizza. 

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Ivan and I shared a tuna and onion pizza and cheese and spinach ravioli.  It was a good meal.

It was time for dessert.  We walked to Palazzo del Freddo Giovanni Fassi.  It’s the oldest gelato factory. 

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The gelato was alright.

We walked back to the apartment and used the internet before heading to bed.

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Uncensored Facial

On May 20, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave and I slept in.  The ship was docked in Messina, Sicily, Italy.

We decided to check out Messina.  When you get off a ship, there’s an information desk.  Ivan asked what’s there to do in Messina.  A lady told us about a square where there’s lots of restaurants and shops. 

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We started walking to the square.  Ivan saw it, but we passed it by since nothing was happening.  We found a place selling cannolis.  Ivan and I got one with cream and one with chocolate. 

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The cannolis tasted alright. 

Messina has a siesta from 1-4 pm.  A lot of the restaurants and shops were closed.  It didn’t seem like there was much to see except restaurants and churches.  Taormina looked nice on postcards, but it’s an hour away.  We decided to head back to the ship.

Ivan and I had salad and a tasty goat cheese, garlic and mushroom pizza for lunch.  Lil Dave had a banana burger.

Lil Dave went on the kiddy slide. 

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He loves it!  There’s not many kids on board – so he can ride it without waiting in line.  He decided to stay there for awhile.

We chilled on lounge chairs in the hot sun.  The view of Messina was lovely.

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I left Ivan to chill and read in the sun.  I went to the Spa to get an Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial.  The Spa had a special for $99 while we were docked in Messina.  My estehtician was a lady named Yolanda.  She was excited about this new treatment.  I’ve never seen anybody so excited about a facial.  She asked me if I knew the video game Pacman.  I said I did.  She said that the enzymes are like Pacman.  The enzymes eat the dry skin off your face.  Interesting analogy!

Yolanda started on my facial.  I imagined Pacman was eating bits off my face.  Yes, I have a wild imagination.  The facial was really relaxing that I fell asleep.  I think I was snoring.  My face has been so dry lately since I haven’t been using my regular moisturizer.  I’m hoping the facial will help it.

Ivan and I headed to the sports area.  It was time for Dodgeball. 

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I watched Ivan play for awhile.  He was playing well.  I went to get water for him and me.  Then, I joined in.  It was the last game though. 

We put our feet in the pool, the water was cold. 

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The pool is usually heated. 

We headed up to the Adults Only section Serenity.  Ivan got a Sex on the Beach drink.  We chilled in the jacuzzi and shared the drink.

Ivan and I grabbed a piece of sushi before heading to the room.

I took a shower. 

We headed back to the sports area.  Ivan and I played three games of foosball.  I ended up winning!

We listened to Blood Power play rock at the pool.

Ivan and I went back to the room.  Ivan read his book while I worked on the blog.

There was a VIP event at the Park West room.  We went to see the art.  They were revealing artwork to the VIP clients.  We came to get free champagne.  We did see a rare art piece from Yaakov Agam.  He makes cool kinetic art.

It was time for dinner.  I had filet mignon and rib of confit which was small.  Ivan got a delicious vegetable lasagne.  We had a good apple pie for dessert.

Next, we went to Uncensored Comedy.  It was short sets again.  Russ Nagel was very funny again.  Jeffrey Jena was okay like last time.

We tried to stay up to see if there was techno music again.  The nightclub was empty as usual.  I was tired.  We decided to head up and get some rest.

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Hilarious Travel Feud

On May 18, 2011, Ivan, Lil Dave and I all slept in.

Ivan and I headed to the Pasta Bar for lunch.  I got some bowtie pasta with tomato sauce.  Ivan decided to get noodles and veggies from the Mongolian Wok instead.  My pasta turned out good.

We went to the Europe Travel Quiz and paired up.  Calvyn was doing the quiz.  He always asks during quizzes What the animal of Canada is and What is the sport of Canada.  Obviously, he’s from Canada.  The questions were hard.  Calvyn gave out hints though, so that helped out.  Ivan and I tied for first place with another team by answering 12 questions right.  We won a 24 karat ship on a stick.

We went to chill in the jacuzzi for awhile.  We hopped in the pool and then later had fun going down the slides.

We read our books at the pool.

Ivan and I got ready for dinner.  We decided to eat at the early dining at 6 pm instead of our normal time at 8:15 pm.  There was lots of things we wanted to check out tonight.

Ivan and I were sat at the same table we sit at normally.  An English couple came to sit down.  They sit there alone every night.  They get different guests sitting at the table.  They were very chatty and friendly.  I had a supreme chicken while Ivan had a grilled tilapia.  The food was tasty.  We took our warm chocolate melting cake to the room.

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We had our delicious chocolate cake and red wine while we watched Venice go by on the balcony. 

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It’s such a beautiful sight.

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It was time to head to the Showtime Theatre.  The Sea Feud (like Family Feud) was on.  Two of the entertainment staff, Christian and Kate picked people in the audience as their family.  I was picked as Kate’s mom.  I wasn’t fast hitting the buzzer to give my answer.  But, I helped out when the group had to pick one answer to try to steal the question.  Our team ended up winning 2 to 1.  I got a 24 karat ship on a stick as a prize.

The Liars’ Club was up next.  They had three entertainment staff on the stage: Christian, Calvyn and Eli.  Kate was the host.  She would give out a word like tittup.  One person gave the correct definition while the other two made up a definition.  The audience had to guess the correct definition.  It was great since Calvyn would tell a funny story about his life which had nothing to do with the word.  Then, he’d pass the microphone over.  The person would pass it back and ask for a definition.  He’d say Oh, and say a short description.  Calvyn is very funny.  We could watch him tell stories all day.  He’s comes up with funny things on the spot.

We had time to spare before our next event.  Ivan and I played a few arcade games. 

We went to see the Guest Talent Show.  John the cruise director was hosting it.  The first guest was an Asian guy who played the piano well, but he couldn’t really sing. 

The second guest was a woman named Kay.  She sang alright, but it was a boring slow song.  The last guest was a guy who sang Sweet Caroline very, very badly.  It was like bad karaoke.  His wife said he sings all the time.  Why didn’t she tell him that he sings horribly? 

All the guests were given medals, a bottle of champagne and a 24 karat ship on a stick as a prize.

John wanted do a Bedtime Story.  He went to find a lady to play Mary.  He woke up a fat black lady in the audience.  He brought up the big lady to the stage.  She had to scream and say Help me! Help me! Save me!  John Heald told Mary to put more bounce into it.  So, she did it again.  This time she grabbed John and somehow ended up throwing him on the floor and was on top of him.  John’s shoe fell off and his suspenders had come undone.

He couldn’t believe what had happened.  It was really funny.  John asked Mary what happened.  She said you told me to put some bounce into it!

John was limping and only had one shoe on.  He went to find Dassly the villain.  He found a guy who looked menacing.  He brought up Dassly and told him to laugh evilly a few times, and say “I’m going to kill you!” with venom.  The guy laughed and then said I’m going to kill you with venom!  John told him he was to say it with venom.  He wasn’t going to hit her on the head with a snake.  Although, he thought Mary did deserve that after knocking John over.

Next, John found an Asian guy to be Bob.  He would be the hero.  He told him to say Stop! I’m going to shoot you!  But, he didn’t seem to know any English and started speaking Japanese.  He tried again and he said Stop! I’m going to shiiiiit!  John thought this was really funny.  It really was! 

Mary did her bit by screaming.. but staying away from John as per John’s request.  Dassly peeked outside Mary’s window and hadn’t seen a woman in 30 years.  He came inside.  The audience made sound effects of wind, rain and two gunshots.  Dassly laughed evilly and said I’m going to kill you! to Mary.  Bob kicked in the door.  He said Stop!!  I’m going to shiiiit!  Then, he said I’m going to kick your ass! and he did a very high karate kick to Dassly’s head.  It was a very hilarious show!!

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Venice Bar Tour

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to the buffet for lunch on May 17, 2011.   Lil Dave got a banana and shrimp burrito made.  Ivan and I each got a chicken burrito.  We also got some Indian food at the Tandoor. 

We went to the room to get ready.  The boat was moving through a canal to get to Venice. 

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There were beautiful views of Venice and St. Mark’s Square from the ship.  Our balcony was on the other side, so we’d get to see Venice when the ship left Venice on May 18.  The cruise ship arrived in Venice, Italy.

We were the first guests off the boat at 1:30 pm.  We had to walk to the People Mover.  The way we walked, there were no signs to it.  We asked somebody for directions, but they told us the wrong way.  A woman from the boat and Ivan saw it and we headed that way.  It took us three minutes on the People Mover to arrive in Venice.

We started walking towards St. Mark’s Square.  It seemed to take forever to get there.  We walked so much up and down stairs.  Venice is beautiful and very unique since it’s on water. 

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I couldn’t live here though.  It seems to take forever to walk anywhere.  They do have gondolas and boats for transportation.  Ivan asked one of the gondoliers how much it would be for a ride to St. Mark’s Square and he said it would be 30 minutes for 80 Euros for one gondola.  Wow, that’s expensive!  You could put a few people in one gondola, but there was only two of us.

We finally reached St. Mark’s Square. 

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It’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be.  It wasn’t that busy – only some tourists.  We took lots of pictures and walked around.  There’s restaurants and shops in St. Mark’s Square.  The restaurants have a charge for the band of about 6 Euros per person.  The food and drinks was expensive.

We walked around to find a place for a drink.  Ivan thought we should walk away from St. Mark’s Square to find something cheaper.

We wanted to go to Bacaro Jazz for the 2 for 1 special.  But, you have to buy 2 for 1 per person.  How dumb!  We really didn’t want two drinks each, so we left. 

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The bar did have some cool decorations and art.

So, we found another place to get a red wine.  We chilled out and rested our tired feet.  Lil Dave is lucky because he gets to ride on my shoulder or chill in my bag.

We went to a Round Church in Campo della Maddalena to meet for our tour.  Today, we were doing the Cicchetti of Venice tour with Urban Adventures.  The tour said we’d be going to 3-5 different bars.

Our guide was a Spanish woman named Cecilia.  She was living in Venice since her fiancé was from there.  She was very passionate about Venice.  Our group consisted of 6 people and one monkey.

Our first bar was Cantina Vecia Carbonera which means The Old Charcoal Lady.  It used to be a place to get charcoal long time ago.  We would be tasting many kinds of small cicchetti dishes which are Venetian tapas.  We had a few different cicchettis and a prosecco. 

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Ivan and I liked the tuna on bread.

We took a small gondola.  It took us to the other side.  Otherwise, you’d have to walk a far way to get to the other side.  It only cost 50 cents each for these small gondolas.

The group stopped at Rialto.  Everyday a local market happens here.  They want to move the market by the cruise ship port.  The locals are mad since the market is in central Venice and this is their only market.  This sign means that Nobody can touch the Rialto.

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Our next stop was Cantina do Spade. 

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It means two swords – it’s a hang out for college students since the university is near by.  Cecilia picked a few different cicchetti dishes for us to eat. One was baked in a pastry with ham and cheese.  It was tasty because of the pastry, but I couldn’t taste the other ingredients much.

The group headed to Cantina do Mori.  Inside, the decor was really cool. 

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It was crowded inside.  Cecilia got a few tapas and we headed outside with our red wine.

Cecilia talked about different things we passed by.  We saw San Giacometto the oldest church in Venice.

We walked to Narazaria.  This place is known for their spritz which is a local drink.  The drink consists of campari (bitter) or aperol (sweet), prosecco or sparkling wine and sparkling water. 

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It’s orange and tastes bitter even with the aperol.  It’s refreshing, but it takes awhile to get used to.  This bar had a delicious cod on bread that we really liked.  Lil Dave requested to have his banana on top of tuna which he thought was weird but good.  Cecilia said bye to us.  It was a great 3 hour tour of drinks and cicchetti dishes.  I highly recommend this tour, if you’re ever in Venice.  It’s fun and you discover bars you’d never find yourself.

We went back to St. Mark’s Square on the boat.  Nobody checks tickets on the boat, so you don’t have to pay for the boat fare.  We got this helpful tip from an English man on the tour.

There wasn’t anything going on at St. Mark’s Square.  It was really quiet.  But, it looks pretty lit up – not much was lit up though. 

It took us forever to get back to P. Le Roma for the People Mover on the boat.  Plus, it was really crowded with people from the Carnival Magic.

We took the People Mover, which costs 1 Euro each way, back to the Carnival Magic. 

We were sooo very tired and our feet ached so much.

I don’t remember what our main courses for dinner were.  We did have a lovely crepe with ricotta and spinach for an appetizer though.

I forgot to mention that we walk everywhere on the cruise ship.  We don’t take ANY elevators.  This saves us from going to the gym everyday for an hour.  I don’t like going to the gym.  It can be hard though when we have 5 flights of stairs or more to head up.  I’m glad our room is on the 6th floor and not on the 2nd floor.

We came back to the room to rest. 

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We had a towel animal rabbit lying our bed.  We get a different towel animal each night.

It was time to rest after a long day of walking.

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Sorrento and Pompeii

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 7 am on May 14, 2011.  We had breakfast in bed.  The cruise ship was in Naples, Italy.

We went to the Showtime Theatre to meet for the tour.  Today, we’d be going on a Taste of Sorrento and Pompeii tour that we booked through Carnival.

We got on the big bus.  The tour consisted of 30 people and one monkey.  We started driving to Sorrento.  Our guide was an Italian guy named Romano.  We were all getting sleepy since our guide’s voice was monotone and the rocking of the bus.  We took a short nap. 

Our first stop was a local farmhouse in Sorrento.  Gina was our guide there.  She showed us the lemon trees (with huge lemons!) and olive trees.  Limonchello and olive oil is made on this farm. 

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Next, Rosa showed us how to make two cheeses.  Then, we were taken to a restaurant area.  We each had a plate filled with salamis, three cheeses, bruschetta with artichokes on top and a sun dried tomato. 

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The local wine tasted weird.  The food tasted really good. 

We went to the store.  Here, samples of olive oil with bread were available.  We could also try the limonchello.  There were many varieties like lemon and chocolate, melon and lemon cream.  Ivan and I bought a small bottle of strawberry and a medium sized bottle of lemon and chocolate.  Normally, you can’t bring any big alcohol on the boat.  But, I guess small amounts are alright.  The boat does scan you before you come back on the boat.  You can bring on alcohol, if it’s found or you declare it – they’ll give it to you at the end of the cruise.

The group boarded the bus.  We went to the city.  First, we went to a factory tour.  It was called Lucky Store.  It was basically showing us how the merchandise was good quality.  If we wanted to buy anything, there was a 10% discount.  It was all expensive stuff. 

So, it was time for a break.  We walked around.  We went to lunch at Sedil Dominova.  Ivan and I shared a vegetable pizza and spaghetti with garlic, oil and chili.  The spaghetti was good, but the pizza wasn’t cooked enough so it was soggy.  I think it had too much tomato sauce on it as well.

Everybody got back on the bus.  Each person was given a headset.  We were headed to Pompeii. 

We were shown another factory.  This time it was art on shells.  I just wanted to leave when I knew it was another factory.  This time we had 25 minutes at this place.  The group went downstairs.  Ivan and I just came back up.  We weren’t interested in the overpriced jewelry.

We put our headsets on. 

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We walked to the Pompeii ruins.  Romano had a strong Italian accent.  Ivan couldn’t understand him, so he stood by him so he could hear him better. 

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The ruins are really big.  It’s fascinating to see.

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We walked around to different places like homes, markets and the men’s bathing forum.  I couldn’t believe that the women’s bathing forum was now turned into a bar where gelato was being sold. 

We saw a nice house with many rooms with a garden.  One room still had some of the artwork on the wall.

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We even got to walk through a small brothel that had 5 rooms in it. 

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On the walls, there was paintings of sexual positions.  A lot of people spoke different languages during that time.  So, the prostitutes could just point out different positions to the clients. 

We were shown a building with a penis on it.  This signified that it was a brothel.  Prostitutes would hang out the windows saying Yoohoo! to guys to let them know it was a brothel.

We also saw a kitchen that had a wood fire in it.  Back then, it wasn’t used for pizzas though.  We did lots of walking on the uneven ground of stones. 

At the end, we saw the outdoor theatre.

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The group piled back on the bus.  We started driving back to the cruise ship.  We arrived at 6 pm.  The ship didn’t scan us, so we could have brought on tons of alcohol if we wanted to and kept it. 

Ivan, Lil Dave and I chilled in the room for awhile.  Ivan and I went to the pool to swim around and then relaxed in the jacuzzi.

We went to the room to get showered and dressed for dinner. 

We joined our big table of 9 for dinner.  We had a lovely Vietnamese pumpkin and chicken soup for a starter.  Ivan had a great swordfish medallions dish while I had an okay penne with eggplant and artichoke hearts.  Of course, we got our favorite Warm chocolate melting cake to share for dessert.

Next, we went to the Showtime Theatre to see the comedian Al Ernst.  I thought he was okay, not really THAT funny.

We were so tired that we headed back to get some much needed sleep.

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Angels and Demons

On May 13, 2011, we had to wake up extra early at 7 am.  We had breakfast in the room.  We left at 8 am. 

Ivan, Lil Dave and I got the shuttle bus which takes you 2 minutes into Civitecchia.  A Carnival Guest Services employee told Ivan that the train leaves every 10 minutes.  But, it actually left every 40 minutes.  So, we had to wait for the train at 8:40 am.  We thought it would take an hour and 15 minutes to get there which would make us late for our tour.  Ivan talked to somebody with the tour company to see if we could meet them somewhere else.  It turned out that the train arrived only 45 minutes later. 

Ivan and I rushed off the train and walked to Santa Maria del Popolo.  Ivan handed the phone to a lady and the person told her we booked the tour, but were late.  She then gave us a map of Modern Rome – The Path of Illumination map. 

We were only a few minutes late for the Angels and Demons tour.  Our guide was an American guy named Robert.  Ivan thought he looked like a descendant of Jesus since he had a beard and long brown hair.

The Habicook and the Angel statue is covered with a red curtain by the Vatican.  It’s one of the statues that was copied for the movie (a duplicate is used in the movie).  The Vatican covers the statues sometimes because of the book.  This is the only statue right now that is covered.  The statue points Robert Langham towards the second place on the Path of Illumination.  The Habicook and the Angel statue in actuality pointing to a statue of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  We also see a Demon’s hole.  It’s named this because of the bad smell that emanates from the the hole.  They put dead bodies in there.  A whole family will have a demon hole or two in a cathedral (small part in a church).  If the family isn’t rich, they’ll just have a demon hole.

The group boarded a bus.  Robert talks to us about the history of the Vatican.  Christianity was illegal at the time.  Simon Peter (St. Peter’s square is named after him) practiced Christianity.  Nero made an example of him and executed him on Vatican Hill. 

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The next stop was St. Peter’s Square where St. Peter’s Basilica is.  We had 10 minutes to find the puddy angel in the movie in the obelisk and to take pictures in the square. 

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Everybody got on the bus again.  Our guide told us about how Catholicism started.  Constantine converted to Christianity.  It was legalized in 313.  The New Testament was written in 327 and Catholic was coined which means Universal.  Christmas was created which was already a festival and not actually Jesus birthday. 

We stopped at the Baroque church Santa Maria della Vittoria. 

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It’s a brightly decorated church.  We saw the Ecstasy of St. Teresa statue that Bernini made – which is featured in the movie.

The gorup went to Piazza Novona next.  It’s a big square with two fountains.  The big fountain with the four statues (each is representing Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia) is the one where where a cardinal was almost killed in the movie. 

Next, we walked to Castel Sant Angelo.  It’s an old castle that has a tomb on the bottom and then a castle was built on top later on. 

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Outside there are 10 statues which depict things during Jesus crucifixion like the crown of thorns and the cross. 

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We walked in the castle and walked to the top.  It was the end of the tour.  We learned a lot and really enjoyed listening to our guide.  He’s just really engaging.  He could make any topic seem interesting.  The Angels and Demons tour is awesome with Robert as your guide.  You don’t have to even know about the book or movie to take this tour.  It takes you to some great places in Rome, some you probably wouldn’t have heard of.  I’d definitely recommend this tour.

It was now time for lunch – Ivan and I were glad since we were already hungry.

Our guide pointed out a restaurant earlier.  So, we walked back to Il Fico restaurant.  We had a friendly Italian waiter.  Ivan and I ordered gnocchi and tonnarelli, pepper, pecorino and ricotta.  Both pasta dishes were delicious.  I liked the tonnarelli better, but the gnocchi was wonderful as well.  The waiter brought out the tuna pizza, but we were still working on the pasta.  We weren’t sure if we should cancel the pizza.  But, we thought we should eat it.  We did do lots of walking during the tour.  We got a waitress to heat up the pizza since it was not very hot.  It tasted good, but not the best.  Lil Dave had a nice banana pizza.  We had a lovely meal.  We’ve only had one excellent pizza on our two trips to Italy. 

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked around and took more pictures in St. Peter’s Square. 

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We walked to the train station.  We got the train back to Civitavecchia.  Then, we got the short shuttle bus to the cruise ship. 

We were back on the ship at 6 pm.  We had a beautiful sunset. 

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It’s awesome having a balcony to see the great scenery and sunsets.

I took a nap since I was so very tired.  Ivan went to the Ultimate Mind Game and then played arcade games.

Since the boat wasn’t sailing until 10 pm tonight, there was Anytime seating at the restaurants.  We went to dinner at 8:45 pm and sat by ourselves.  Ivan and I each got a great teriyaki salmon.  I struggled to finish everything since we had such a big lunch. 

We went to the room to throw on our swimming costumes (bathing suits). 

We watched Blood Power play great rock music while we swam in the pool.  The Rock ‘n Roll Deck Party started.  It was pretty lame, so we went back to the room. 

Ivan and I showered and then headed out.  We went to see the Up-Close Magic at the Escape Bar.  First we saw an American guy named Aaron who is okay.  The second guy is a funny Indian guy named Rakesh who’s a great magician.  We saw an hour of great close-up magic.

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