120518 Perugia – Civitavecchia 18 May Friday

Today is the last early start for the Tour of Italy.  We take a short trip to the town of Assisi of St Clare and St Francis of Assisi fame.  Another quaint village with narrow cobbled streets; where the Giro d’Italia (Cycling) had a stage finish just a few days ago.

Because the sun is shining brightly, today is a very good day for photography.  There are some interesting angles on some of the buildings that give some great pictures looking upwards.  The white and pinkish stone of the buildings against the blue sky look terrific.  By ‘looking back’, you can often see a scene that just stops you and you have to take a photo from that angle too.  This can either extend your photography experience or cause you to have to speed up when you are doing a walking tour through a village.  This happened to me; speeding up can be frustrating when you have some great shots that need including in your portfolio, so I missed hearing the commentary from the walking tour guide.

The village is just ‘opening for business’ and delivery vehicles hamper our progress through the 3 km of cobbled streets.  Even though I didn’t hear all the guide had to say, she was an excellent commentator and as we went through St Clare’s Cathedral and St Francis’s Cathedral.  It was interesting to me that the crowds at St Peter’s in Rome had trouble keeping quiet in the Sistine Chapel and yet at Assisi the crowds were ‘obeying’ the call of the “silence” requests very effectively.  And so the reverence feeling was here.

The St Francis’s Cathedral seemed to have 3 cathedrals on top of each other:  the lowest one where St Francis’s body lies, the middle one is a larger meeting place, and the main cathedral on the top.  All cathedrals seem to include a nave.  It makes it even more amazing that these buildings were built in the 12th century and before.

We board the coach for our last leg of the tour of Italy and so there are procedures that need to be attended to:  making sure everyone is ready to board the Noordam, the collection of walking tour hearing devices, the announcement of the ‘most photos taken’ (would you believe 4500 is the winner).  I worked out that I took 367,000 frames in 1140 shots (a ‘shot’ is the period from the start to stop of a video clip) over 3 hours 40 minutes of video.  Earlier, our tour guide had run a quiz on aspects of the tour of Italy and we decide to have an Australian Quiz that she should answer the questions to.  However, Rosemary became too busy so we just ‘played the game’ amongst ourselves.  Each person had to write out a question about Australia and that became the quiz.  One group of four, who had become known as the ‘Mafia up the back’, attained 100% – very well done!

We arrive at Civitavecchia, which is the port for Rome.  Without extra cost, we manage to take a free tour of the docks – the gatekeeper gave our driver incorrect instructions how to get to shipside of the ‘Noordam’.  So for 15 minutes we are on a ‘goose chase’ to find the way to the ship which we could all see clearly.  There is two other larger ships docked close by.

Quickly ‘goodbyes’ are said to the coach driver and tour guide and we are through security and into our rooms for the restful part of our 4-week tour.

We may not have internet connection on the ship so don’t’ expect a ‘daily post’ from now.  The price for WiFi on the ship is $100 for 250 minutes so just may not sign up with them and try on shore each day.

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