Day Eight – Monday 16th November
Had a phone call this morning from the head of Ents on board. Apparently, the port agent said they should go ahead with the deck party, because he wanted it to be as ‘normal’ a day as possible for the town. I said that, whatever the port agent said, the people coming out of church may not have agreed, but he just launched into a spiel about the ethics of war in the first place and I hung up. Talk about missing the point. We sailed out past a church, you fool. The people in their praying for their compatriots to the north maybe didn’t feel like being on the receiving end of YMCA as we passed by.
And so Livorno. Well, the port guide was less than complimentary, so I wasn’t surprised to find that, after it had been bombed to bits in the war, what was built in its place was mostly ugly, utilitarian and concrete. But they are restoring some of the old buildings, and the wall around the city is mostly intact. But it’s a major port, so it’s not very pretty to look at. We were, as usual, parked in the container port, although there weren’t many containers in on a Monday morning. Just mountains of shredded bark (for biomass fuel maybe, or maybe they just mulch all their parks in winter?), concrete powder and what looked like powdered chalk – it was ‘hurt your eyes’ bright white. No idea what that is for.
There is another cruise ship in. called the Moby. No idea what line it is. It has giant Warner Bros characters painted on the side, so I’m guessing not a child-free ship. I wonder how our passengers reacted to opening their curtains this morning to find a forty-foot Daffy Duck giving them the evil eye?
One thing I have learned during this cruise is that it is considered to be winter by Mediterranean standards (although 20 in the shade and overcast is fine by me). This means that you cannot buy open toed shoes anywhere. And I mean anywhere. Even the evening shoes in the shops have closed toes. They obviously have decided that open toes are for summer only and that no one in their right minds would want to buy anything other than boots come November. They may be right, but I’m not in my right mind at the best of times, and now I’m a tourist with no sandals, so that’s not improving my mental status. In addition to which, every shoe shop sells exactly the same shoes. It’s perplexing that any of them make any money at all.
Mum and Dad went to Pisa and Florence, where mum hated taking the buggy over the cobbles and was apparently not too unhappy when it ran out of battery. She had already been tipped into the gutter by falling off a kerb, so once the battery was gone, they were more than happy to leave it with the excursions people and do the rest by taxi. I had made a list of the Must Sees, and they did all those, bar the Ponte Vecchio, so no one was disappointed with their day. Mind you, they were pretty shattered by the time they got back!
Note to self: do not go away when a friend is in the process of moving house. You don’t know which address to send the postcards to!
I seem to be just wittering now, so I’ll call it a night, I think. Tomorrow: Monaco.