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Published: November 16th 2023

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We decided to go on a last minute November cruise to bolster our spirits before a busy Christmas. It all started off well with a rapid check in at Heathrow, a short sit in the lounge and an uneventful flight to Rome. We had a prearranged pickup which took us to The Liberty, a small boutique hotel. From here we walked to the Vittorio Emmanuelle Monument and stopped for a beer at a bar we knew. The place was really crowded and we couldn’t get a taxi back so had to walk it. Luckily, the restaurant which Stefan had booked , Ristorante Julie’s was directly opposite the hotel so we relaxed over a cheapish dinner with plenty of wine. The hotel did a huge breakfast the following morning and all the staff were very friendly. The receptionist allowed us to sit on our balcony and read till the taxi arrived. The sun was shining and all in the world seemed well. Off we set only to run into a total stoppage of the motorway just outside Civitavecchia due to a very bad accident. 2 helicopters, one fire engine , 3 ambulances and loads of police cars arrived on the scene and

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we were stuck for 3 hours. Frustratingly we could see the ship at the dock and hoped it wouldn’t leave without us. Eventually , the road opened and we filed passed the wreck which we heard had led to 2 deaths and 5 being flown to hospital. Because of our delay, our embarkation onto the SS Splendor was very quick and we were soon able to grab a snack up on the pool bar before going to our suite and unpacking. I introduced Ted to the Steward, Ali, and explained how he likes to watch a movie while we are at dinner. He promptly left and came back with a little bear to keep him company!. The first evening was spent in the bar before the restaurant and then a short visit to see the show. Stood at the back and didn’t stay long as we were exhausted.

The following day, the ship docked at Livorno. Stefan decided to stay in bed as he had developed a cold I had just finished so I joined the bus tour to Pisa. The port of Livorno is Italy’s third largest and was developed by the Medici’s of Florence. Pisa was just

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30 mins drive away. The coach had to park outside the city so it was a bit of a walk to get to the main part. Here we visited the beautiful Baptistery and the the Cimitario next to it which contains some beautiful recently restored frescoes, lots of Roman Sarcophagi, Galileo’s original pendulum and a statue of Fibonacci, he of the Math Sequence. Both Galileo and Fibonacci were born in Pisa. We then entered the Cathedral which has a fabulous wooden ceiling, columns carved from single blocks of marble and a beautiful pulpit carved by Pisano. Last but not least we ended up at the Leaning Tower which has had many restorations to stop it falling down.

Back home in time for lunch and later the Team Trivia. We didn’t do well as all the questions were entertainment, so we complained and hopefully tomorrow we will do better.



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