Wednesday, 8 February 2017
SOVEREIGN 24th September 2016 (part 7)
Thursday 29th September 2016
Today we have arrived in Livorno, Italy. I was on deck early to see various comings and goings in the port, in the half-light before sunrise. As MEGA EXPRESS FOUR arrived, I could see work going on in the distance beyond her; I could also see MOBY VINCENT, WORLD ODYSSEY, and AETHALIA. One of my friends and fellow travellers was leaving the ship today so we said goodbye and best wishes on deck taking photographs in the wonderful golden light.
Our decks on SOVEREIGN were being washed down and, as it was not yet time to meet friends for breakfast, I went into the Spinnaker Bar for an early coffee. I was amazed to find it completely empty of other passengers and could take some photographs.
After breakfast it was another sunny blue-sky day. Two of us took one of the shuttle buses into town with the plan to go to nearby Pisa by train.
In the end it was easier to get on one of the many regular tourist coach services, which stopped just a few yards from the shuttle bus stop.
Return Tickets were available inside the nearby tourist office, where I saw and photographed an interesting poster showing an aerial view of the port; we were soon on our way to Pisa in a comfortable air-conditioned modern coach. We had set times to depart and return, but that proved perfectly convenient.
The so-called Leaning Tower of Pisa was amazing to see, and I read that the building of it was begun in 1173 - unfortunately on uneven ground which produced an unintended tilt! It felt good to know that some years ago a British Engineer had been called in to stop any more tilting of the Tower. I have teenage memories of visiting the Tower and being able to take the stairs inside and climb up to the first and second floors, and then walk around outside to view the scenery. Today there were enormous queues to enter the Tower, Baptistry and Cathedral nearby and we were surrounded by probably thousands of other people in this part of the ancient town.
After taking the necessary photographs, it was decided that a local backstreet cafe amongst shrubs and parasols was just the place to get delicious coffee, so we left the crowds and enjoyed a quiet break.
Back in the coach park we could sit on our bus and then enjoy the drive through the tranquil countryside back to Livorno, always with the mountains in the background. Back in town we took one of the historical town walk routes and were amazed at the sights and smells in the Fish Market, the food market, the big public square and then along various canal tow paths, including past the old fort.
Back on the ship I could take photographs of port activity.
Once back on the ship life continued in its usual relaxed way, with tea and chats with other travelling companions, followed by another enjoyable evening.
Ships seen: Sovereign, Norwegian Epic, Moby Aki, Moby Vincent, Mega Express Four, World Odyssey, Aethalia, Cruise Smeralda
To be concluded...