The Genoa entry is easy. It rained – a large amount. That’s it.
We knew the weather would be unsettled due to predictions and what happened yesterday in Castel Gandolfo and Rome. We’re in Genoa because the predictions for Portofino would not have allowed us to tender into the port. The excursions from Portofino were canceled and monies refunded and a few new ones (or modified old ones coming to Genoa anyhow) put out. None sounded particularly interesting and given yesterday’s rain and weather I decided this was a “me” day.
Did some photo editing. Took a few inches out of the Koum Quat bottle. Cleaned up. And, joined both the morning and evening trivia team (I’ve been playing with a team in the 4pm game for a little while now) for the game. We formed an ad hoc team with another as neither of us had six players. In the morning game we scored 18 out of 20 correct and won. So, I now have two Princess water bottles instead of the one I won a couple of weeks back. Also have two 2018 World Cruise stress balls from winning games. Some of the questions are strange but the trivia is fun. Winning is fun too even if the prizes are often not worth the effort. 🙂
Just looked at the forecast for tomorrow and I see rain at our next destination (Villefranche – or the French Riveria). I have an excursion for a hop on – hop off bus going to and through Monte Carlo so I’ll be in two countries in one day (France and Monaco). At least I can just ride if conditions are bad for getting off and exploring. As that type of bus covers all the major sights (and sites) at least I should get to see them.
[Skip forward a day now to today after leaving Villefranche.]
By the time I got up the ship had arrived at Villefranche and had anchored in the harbor. We had to use tenders to get in to the port itself. And, guess what — it was still raining, not hard but still rain.
Villefranche is on the French Riviera. Next to it is the second smallest country: Monaco. Beyond that is Italy where we just came from. So, today I did end up in two countries.
I learned from yesterday and dressed differently for the cold and rain. Over a thick T-shirt I wore my warm Costco jacket and over that a waterproof wind breaker with a hood. That combination worked perfectly and kept me warm and dry to the point where I did not have to open the umbrella today despite carrying it.
We tendered ashore and walked up a 100-foot slope to get to the bus that was to take us to Monaco for our tour there. Not everyone in the group understood what they had signed up for. The tour was listed as hop on-hop off but also as an all-day tour. A number thought that meant that we would get on the hop on bus near the port and then ride as we saw fit and return to the port when we wanted. Not the way this worked. We had a bus that took us to a spot in Monaco where we parked the bus and then got on the sightseeing bus in Monaco. It only went around Monaco and we had to stay in Monaco until it was time to get back on the transport bus that would take us back to the port. Any early return would have to be done on your own dime (estimated taxi fare to return around 100 Euros). A couple decided to take that option and left us.
The sightseeing bus was a double decker that followed a fixed route through the city/country and had 12 stops along the way. The whole route took about an hour depending on traffic. There were a number of buses and we could get off when we wanted and just catch the next one when the detailed visit we wanted was over. The only requirement was that we be back at the transport bus by 4pm. We had to time ourselves.
I rode the bus initially for two complete circuits. The first was to just acquaint myself with the lay of the land and how it matched the map we were given. Noted that they were setting up for the big road race they have there (photo one). The second was to see if I remembered enough of the map to do without it when finding stops and the things around the stops. I was amazed at how many tunnels there were in the city and not just pass through tunnels (photo two). Many split underground into multiple roads and at least one had a traffic circle inside the tunnel which then split into multiple roads!
By then it was already a bit late as the city was in the midst of preparing for the Grand Prix road race that makes it famous. Bleachers were being put up as well as various protection devices in case the cars veer off the track (photo one). That limited the space available on the streets which, of course, made traffic worse. So, after two loops inside the bus I decided that I wanted some general photos of the entire route and bundled up accordingly and went up to the open top deck of the bus. Another of our group joined me up there. The rain was still coming down but we had some protection from a windshield and I was able to get my photos without a window in the way. I did note as we moved through the city that some people were looking up at us, pointing, and appeared to have “look at those two dumb people” looks on their faces. Their loss. I found it an excellent way to see things.
I did get off the bus at the palace and managed to be there when a guard changing ceremony took place (photo three). Nothing special about this one, just one guard replacing another in front with the typical ceremonial flare. I was going to walk down to the next bus stop as that was the near where we had to be by 4pm but the wind rose and the rain started to fall somewhat harder again so I waited a bit and hopped on the next bus that came along and rode to that next stop.
Waited a bit under cover inside the parking garage and finally made it down to the bus which the driver had just returned to. Others wandered in and by 4pm we had our full complement of people. Our drive to Monaco took us along the coast road (the one carved into the steep cliffs like in Italy) but we returned via a high road that gave us a view of Nice before we crested the hill again and returned to Villefranche. Along the way we stopped briefly to look at three countries in one view. The foreground in the last photo is France, the middle hills are Monaco, and the mountains almost lost in the mist are Italy.
We tendered back out to the ship and shortly after we left port and are now headed toward our two-day stay in Barcelona, Spain.