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ROWSE

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About ROWSE

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    Spokane Valley, Washington

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  1. We are using SharedShuttle. Here is the website: http://www.sharedshuttle.it/ We used this company last year as a transfer from the cruise ship into Rome and they were on time, with great service. We hope for the same this year! MCazer: We are also staying in an Airbnb close to the train in Florence. It was hard to decide to stay that third night or go in to Rome Termini, but think we will do that high speed train in on the day of cruise as suggested, to catch our shuttle. We don't want to miss valuable time in Florence. Fingers crossed everything runs smoothly for all of us!
  2. Thank you jebbs! We have now tweaked our plans to just take the train from Florence to Rome Termini and meet our friends at their nearby airbnb. We decided a shared shuttle instead of the train from Rome to Civitavecchia sounded a lot easier and not that much more money. We are not the lightest packers:)
  3. Thank you again Norris and Carol for entertaining me all these many days! Loved every moment and your amazing photography! I look forward to reading the reviews from your exciting cruises to come! Loved your pictures of the library on the ship, in a small way it reminded me of the Ocean Princess library which felt like “one of a kind” just as your pictures made me feel that this one was. I think you have made a lot of us excited to visit Cuba! Happy future sailings to you both!
  4. Thank you so much for the great suggestions!
  5. We loved our day in Ostia Antica last year! This is the stops inside the train leaving from the San Paolo Station after you transfer from the other train you take first. This is the sign at the station once we arrived at our stop. This is a picture of my husband at the top of the pedestrian bridge after you leave the terminal. This is a look back at the little station that you arrive at. There is a free bathroom at the station. If you go over the bridge and keep walking you will see signs for Ostia Antica, but it is pretty much a straight walk. We are prone to getting lost, and we made it easy as can be. Ostia Antica is amazing!
  6. Norris, We are doing a 9 day Eastern Mediterranean out of Italy on September 15, on the Jewel, with our dear friends, with three days precruise in Florence. We loved the Western Mediterranean so much last October that we needed to do the bookend to it! We haven’t sailed RCCL for 10 years but friends had chosen this cruise and invited us, so it is a “YES” of course. Hoping your polar vortex weather is improving!!! Kitty
  7. Norris, I was late to the party, as I have been hanging out on the RCCL site since we are sailing on Jewel of the Seas in September. I just happened to catch your link on the Princess site when I took a peak there. So glad I did!!! As always, I am loving everything and look forward to more! Thank you to both you and Carol for taking us along!!
  8. Thank you all so much for all this valuable information! Sounds like we better pre-purchase the Florence to Civitavecchia ones. Maybe we will gamble a little and wait on the Rome Airport/FCO to Florence as there won't be a ship that could sail without us. LOL
  9. Greetings, I am beginning our research for a September Eastern Mediterranean cruise. We plan to take the direct train from Rome airport/FCO to Florence for three pre-cruise days. Our flight lands at 9:30 a.m. and the direct train is about 11:08 I believe. There is also a bus at approximately 10:30, but think that may be hard to make with getting through immigration, etc. After our 3 days, we plan to take the train from Florence to Civitavecchia port by way of Rome Termini on cruise day. Our hope is to catch the first train at 7:38a.m. This is a Sunday, so I researched times on Sundays. Is there a huge necessity to pre-purchase any of these train tickets? Can we just go to the stations and buy them then? If we did buy before, what happens if you miss that train? Has anyone not been able to get on a train the same day or time they wanted by waiting to buy your tickets? I realize there are stairs to climb changing to the train from Rome Termini to Civitavecchia, and we feel we can do it. Anyone's experiences would be greatly appreciated!
  10. Vatican continued....We followed the masses and wound our way around heading toward the Sistine Chapel. We went into the Sistine Chapel, body to body and shoulder to shoulder with our fellow tourists. It seemed it would be impossible to narrow down to the actual door we went in but somehow we all funneled through. It had a no picture taking sign inside the Sistine Chapel, but I know there are many photos online. I obeyed the sign. It was a very closed in feeling with all those people and really hard to look up to see that ceiling. The windows were way at the top of the walls and that felt even more closed in. I would have loved to see this place with only a few people but with so many it really made me want to get out of there fast, and I have no issue with claustrophobia. We were somewhat propelled through with the masses. It was amazingly beautiful! We took a door and I did not realize there was another way which took you to St. Peter's Basilica so missed our plan to go back there. We instead ended up in the museum of artifacts through the years of the Catholic faith. We stepped outside to get some fresh air. This was a lovely court yard below. The cafeteria is off this area and I used the bathroom here before leaving the museums. The exit area was down this amazing stair case. Looking up... Once outside we felt so sorry for all those standing in that line! It winds to the corner of the wall and for a long ways after turning that corner. We made our way back the same way we came so as not to get lost and we rode the Metro back to Termini station. We spent some time packing up and nothing ever seems to fit like when you start a trip. Later that evening we went to a Vegan restaurant I had found in my research for our last Italian meal! This is the menu. I enjoyed bruschetta and mushroom pasta. YUM! My husband had the vegan lasagna. They gave us a limoncello after drink. I don't like that drink usually, but theirs was excellent! We walked back hand in hand enjoying our last minutes of this beautiful city. All too soon we were up the next day and waiting for our transport to the airport. I thought about taking the train, but I am so glad I went with Habi Cabs private transport for 45E total to the airport. They were on time and it went perfectly. We still had our sad faces as we left. We fell in love with Europe and already have a trip planned next September hooking on with our dear friends who booked Jewel of the Seas, Royal Caribbean, for September 15, 2019. This time we will spend four days in Florence maybe going up to Venice and then the cruise of 9 days seeing the Greek Isles! Can anything really be as wonderful as this trip? We will find out!!!
  11. Vatican Museum continued... Marble archways! This stone was Red Porphyry Such detail on the flooring with mosaics There was a wonderful exhibit on mummies. How could they possibly preserve something for so long? Amazing! Apparently the inside of the mummy's tomb held this kind of detail maybe of their life or maybe they felt they needed something to read in the after life. Then on to a huge hall of tapestries. Jesus eyes seemed to follow you as you walked by. Amazing ceiling of the map room. The crowd got to me after awhile!
  12. We timed our visit to have enough time before our per-purchased Vatican Museum timed ticket to have some lunch. We walked down a side street and found a lovely little place to eat. We each had a salad and split a veggie pizza. The bread usually comes without asking, and there is a small charge like 2E , but well worth all the wonderful breads we had during our trip. The Vatican Museums were a walk from St. Peter's Square and it isn't far till you see a massive line of people. I had done the research and knew this was the "to buy" tickets line and we just kept walking. There were many official people to help you but some were actually trying to talk you in to a tour. It was hard to tell who was who. One man actually was trying to get us in the right line at the end and I said "I don't want to buy anything." He was actually a Vatican official and he put us right in even though it was 1:00 and our tickets were 1:30. No problem, the ticket machine read our vouchers and spit out the tickets anyway. We walked up this lovely ramp area and that was the most alone we would find ourselves in this hugely crowded venue. We went into the open inner court yard first. Fontana della Pigna (1st century AD) Sphere within a sphere Beautiful statues throughout the museum Ceilings were always amazing Many LONG hallways. Mind boggling the detail on the sarcophagus The animal statue rooms.
  13. We entered the Basilica and were amazed! What an incredible church. Since we just had our iphones, our pictures are only of small sections, and I think we were too overwhelmed to take a panoramic. They manage the crowd well as not make your visit shoulder to shoulder. Up into the domes! We loved all the amazing artwork in the domes. The alter where a few moments before we were under two levels down! It was so amazing to think of that as we stood at this alter. So many beautiful statues! My favorite was The Pietà a work of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti The Holy door only opened ever 25 years and on a Jubilee year. We walk out to look at the closed doors from outside. A statue off to the side before entering the church. The picture looking from St. Peter's Basilica into St. Peter's Square. The obelisk in the center's history: (It was Gaius Caligula who had the obelisk bought to Rome in 37 AD. ... Because of the solid pedestal on which the obelisk was placed, it remained standing for 1,500 until it was moved to where it stands today in Saint Peter's Square. It took thirteen months, between 1585 and 1586 to move and re-erect the obelisk.)
  14. Our last full day in Rome was just as sunny and lovely as all the others. We were SO lucky! I was so excited for today I woke up at 5 a.m. At 7:00 we grabbed our lovely breakfast from Santa Maria restaurant again and then did our short walk to Termini Station. We were so close it took less than 5 minutes. We took Metro A Red Line out toward Vatican City. It wasn't a very far walk from the Metro, and we were there!!! St. Peter's Basilica!!! This was a Monday, so either they were taking chairs down from Sunday or getting ready for something else and putting them up. We were never sure. There looked like extensive work was being done on the fountain. This is a picture of the left side of the pillars when looking at St. Peter's Basilica. I was standing under the right side pillars. This is where I used the bathroom and to any who worry like me, there is a lovely free bathroom here. People were lining up to go in the church! We walk across over to those pillars now. I was lucky enough to reserve and purchase tickets for the Scavi tour which is an underground tour of St. Peter's tomb two levels under the current Basilica. I ask to reserve nearly a year out and they assign you a time and day after you list the possible days you visit. There are only 250 people a day able to do this, and each group is only 12 people. In my picture there are some red striped partitions and this is the first security we went through. The security guy looked at my paperwork and said we were too early. I told you I was excited! He said come back much later. We chose to just wait. Pretty soon, I think he got sick of looking at us and let us through. "Way to wear them down!" Passing by him then led us to this area where there was metal detector security. We passed through that with no problem. This was the Swiss Guard we were told to see on our instructions. They looked at our papers and shook their heads. Too early. They were adorable young men and put us in a pen next to them to wait about 20 more minutes. It was a great people watching venue! Many many people passed buy showing their "Golden Ticket". This was a ticket for a private audience with the Pope, I think. I am not Catholic, and wonder if any one knows what it takes to get those tickets? If a clergy member came buy the Swiss Guards clicked their heels and saluted. Very fun to watch them in action. My holding pen. The Swiss Guard checked his watch and each time shook his head at me. They were quite nice about it. Finally it was time to pass by them. We had quite a walk back to get our actual ticket from our voucher. The buildings in here were beautiful! Under the arch to the right is the actual ticket office. It had been quite awhile since I used the bathroom and excitement and the fact that there is no bathroom on the Scavi tour had me needing to go. They were so kind as to direct me across the way to their employee bathroom. Thanks Scavi tour officials! Here is where the pictures had to end for this tour. There was no taking photos down where we went. If anyone is claustrophobic, this would not be the tour for you. Very small area and very warm to walk through! We don't have this issue so we loved how amazing it was. The first church was built where the 9 fragments of Peter's bones rest, then another was built on top of that and then the one we visit today was built on top of that. We saw the box containing St. Peter's bones embedded in the wall. Some of his bones are also in the Pope's apartments. On the next level up was the most beautiful chapel. I so wish I could have taken photos!!! When we left this tour we were able to skip the line for the Basilica and go right inside. A reason to take this tour again for sure!!!
  15. I am sorry to hear you lost your husband! Good for you to keep on traveling and reliving some of your memories together. Venice looks wonderful, and I hope to go someday soon!
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