A Long Bus Ride for a Cup of Coffee and Cheap Wine

Today we landed in Civitavecchia, Italy, the port city to Rome. It is a large port that was built fairly recently, following extensive bombing in WWII and replacing an ancient port that served Rome in the good old days. It is now are scheduled to take a 1 hour bus trip to Lake Bracciano and then, on the way back to the port, stop to do some wine tasting at a winery.

Margaret, although she still had a bit of her cough going decided she would go with me today! Yeah! But, it wasn’t to be. As soon as we got on the bus they told us that the bus wasn’t working. After having beautiful, well maintained busses in France, including perfectly clean windows, both busses in Italy left something to be desired. But, you’d think at least the busses would run! But not this one. They called a mechanic and a new bus but, after 15 minutes nothing was happening. Margaret said, “I’m outta here!” and she was. I waited a few more minutes but then left to go to the coffee shop. They said we could meet them right at the exit gate in 30 minutes. I did but it was still about 15 minutes before a new bus showed up. The payback for all this? They said they’d buy us an aperitif or cup of coffee when we got to the lake! Wow! Isn’t that something special.

Like the bus ride the prior day to Pisa, it was not chocked full of breathtaking scenery. We learned about some local color from the tour guide who, although she was German, spoke like she was a local. After driving what seemed to be halfway around the lake we stopped at a small village and walked a block to a coffee shop where we ordered our free drinks. 30 minutes later were were back on the bus and on our way to the wine tasting. The lake was, well, let’s just say, it was a nice lake. Nothing to write home about. Not Lake Cuomo for sure. Sorry, but just can’t say much about it.

And, the wine tasting was much the same. A commercial’ish wine tasting room for a local winery that had case displays, some retail stuff for sale and seating areas inside and outside, although the outside seating had a view of a loading dock area repleat with pallets and other miscellaneous stuff that you would have at a warehouse. And, the wines? Three whites and three reds were, let’s say, $6 supermarket wines. One was almost drinkable. They did have some prosciutto, cheese, bread and olives which made it a little more acceptable but it seemed that everyone was less than impressed.

Another 45 minutes and we were back on the ship for lunch at Compass Rose with Margaret. Well, at least I had lunch with Margaret. Who knows about everyone else? Others had 8-9 hour trips into Rome, some free, some paid, but we had already done all that when we stayed in Rome for a few days a few years back. Those that did those trips said, because it was a holiday weekend that it was hot and absolutely packed with people. Same for the people who went to Florence yesterday. And, we had already stayed in Florence on a business trip a few years ago as well.

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