by Bob Sparrow
Whoever said getting there is half the fun was on drugs . . . really good drugs. We left the house at 5:15 a.m. Thursday morning and arrived in Italy early Friday morning, around 7:00 a.m; scientifically speaking, Friday was the longest day of the year (the vernal equinox) and this year we had small airplane seats, a crying baby and an uneatable meal that I describe as ‘faux fowl’ to lengthen the already longest day. All this while you sat in the comfort of your home over the weekend sipping Mai Tais and channel surfing from your couch. Hey, I’m not complaining, I signed up for this, but just wanted to let you know what I go through to make sure you’ll have a good time.
We were met by our driver at the airport and traveled about 45 minutes up the road to the Hotel Villa Delle Palme, which was featured in the film, Las Dolce Vita. We spent two nights in the hotel that sits on the Mediterranean coast in the town of Santa Marinella. One afternoon we took the train into the port of Civitavecchia just to walk around and get our first taste of Gelato – no one does ice cream like Italy! We returned to enjoy a dinner at a top-ranked restaurant in our hotel. The next day we had a beautiful lunch in the quaint town square, mostly enjoying the people, who were smiling and accommodating, particularly the owner of the restaurant, who regaled us with stories we could hardly understand, but she told them with such enthusiasm that she had us all laughing as we dipped our French bread in their amazing olive oil and sipped our Chianti.
By noon the next day (Sunday) we were boarding the Riviera; it is magnificent. We made sure we got in line to sign up for the upgraded drink package (Just letting you know we’ve got our priorities straight). We thought maybe we’d been black balled as word may have been passed around in the cruise industry that the ship will lose money on us before they hit their first port. Our first meal is at Red Ginger, an amazing Asian restaurant – the sea bass is out of this world. After dinner we head to a magic show that, quite honestly, was very amateurish, but the drink package made it forgettable.
I’ll check in on Thursday of this week and keep you updated on where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. Yes, it’s a short one this time, but I’m still trying to figure out what day it is and where I am.
Hang in there, it will get better . . . or not.