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Arabian Sea & Suez Canal Cruise on the Celebrity Constellation

4/22/18 to 5/7/18

Disembarkation in Civitavecchia, Italy

When I woke up and walked out on the balcony, I could see that we had arrived in port.  It is a very large port area to handle all the cruise ship and commercial activity.  I liked the statue on top of the brick tower.

   

The disembarkation process on the ship was very smooth.  The only issue was that since, we were leaving the ship on deck 1, the only elevator that passengers could use to get down to deck 1 was the middle elevator.  Had Carol not had her scooter, it would have been easy to just go down to deck 3 on the back elevator and walk to the middle of the ship and take the stairs.  But we couldn’t do that and apparently many people with luggage couldn’t either, so the elevator was an issue.  Once off the ship, we picked up our luggage and walked out of the terminal without even having to go through immigration or customs.  Very easy!

With the ship disembarking in Civitavecchia, it seemed like a great opportunity to spend some time in the beautiful Italian hill country.  We were going to spend four nights in the town of Perugia in Umbria, which is right next to Tuscany.  I was a bit concerned, since the weather app showed that we had rain or thunderstorms for each day of our time in Italy.  Fortunately, the weather was great that morning.  I had rented a car from Europcar since it was supposed to be very close to where the port shuttle would drop us off.  Once off the bus, I could see some signs for rental car companies, but not Europcar.  I asked at the information booth where it was, and she said “right over there” pointing to the other side of the fence.  Walking out of the fenced area, it was just a few shops down.  It really couldn’t have been more convenient. 

I had requested a midsize SUV, so that it would be easy to carry all our luggage without having to fold up Carol’s TravelScoot.  We planned on picking up the car at 9:00 AM; but with it being a Monday morning and lots of cars being returned during the off hours, there was a slight log jam.  The agent was most helpful getting us our car.  She also told me that if I could return the car by 9:30 AM, I wouldn’t be charged for an extra day, since they have a half hour forgiveness period.  It was excellent advice and did save me some money since I had originally planned on returning the car at 10:00 AM.  By the time I did get the car, a Fiat Tipo, it was 9:30 AM.  I asked her to mark it on the contract to give me some extra time on Friday morning when I was to drop the car off at the airport.  The Fiat was a 6-speed manual transmission car that ran on diesel fuel.  It was a very nice car and I got over 35 miles per gallon during our time there.  With fuel costing over $7.00 per gallon, fuel economy is very important in Italy.

When driving in a strange place, the GPS apps on my iPhone are a necessity.  I usually use Google Maps, since it is more accurate than the Apple Maps app.  When I plugged my iPhone into the car’s USB port, the Apple CarPlay app popped up on the car’s screen.  I was so happy to be able to see the map without having to have Carol watch it on the phone, like we normally have to do in a rental car.  It worked fine until we got to Perugia and it didn’t get us to the hotel.  Fortunately, the Google app found it for us.

 

Post-Cruise in Perugia, Italy

Day 1

We were staying at a hotel a few miles outside of Perugia named Relais Dell’Olmo (http://www.relaisolmo.com).  Since Carol has issues with lots of walking, especially in a hilly environment, I didn’t want to stay in old town Perugia.  It was the right choice.  Besides being a very nice hotel with free parking, the staff could not have been sweeter or more helpful people.  The hotel had a large swimming pool, but it was a bit early in the season for it to be used.

We were put in the newer section of the hotel, which was right next to the original building and accessed through a covered walkway.

The room was very comfortable with a nice size bathroom.

   

   

It also had a nice large balcony.  With the mild temperatures we had while in Italy, it was great to be able to sit out there after touring during the day. 

   

The main building had a very comfortable lounge area. 

   

Since we arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon, I decided to go into Perugia to check it out and see if Carol would be able to get around.  A great benefit of visiting Perugia is that the city has made it easy to park outside of the main tourist area and access the upper sections of the city using a system of escalators and a funicular type train called the Mini Metro.  Looking at the map, I found an area to go to where I could park and just take the escalators, since it looked like it was easy to do.  Well, I found the parking lot, but couldn’t see where the escalators were.  I started walking up the street which was on an incline.  I figured that going up was the best option.  I still didn’t see anything.  I asked a fellow on the street where the escalator was.  He didn’t speak a word of English; but he pointed up the street, so maybe he figured out what I wanted.  Not far up the street, I saw the escalator sign.  Thank goodness, because I was getting tired walking uphill.

After each escalator, there would be a short walk to the next one.  It was interesting to see the scenery between the escalators.  It was a pretty area.

After the last escalator, there was a pretty long set of stairs.  I thought that the escalators went all the way up.  Bummer!

At the top of the stairs it was relatively flat with old buildings and narrow streets.  With there not being street names for all streets on the map and there not being many street signs, I didn’t know which way to go.  I looked around for a while and noticed that most people were going somewhere on the road I was on, so I assumed that they knew where they were going.  I just hoped they were going where I wanted to go.  Even with it being a mild uphill climb, it was an enjoyable walk with lots to look at.

   

       

   

I turned a corner and it opened up to a wide street, which turned out to be Perugia’s main tourist street, Corso Venucci.  I came out next to the Palazo del Priori building which is the town hall and Umbria National Gallery.  I was impressed with the entry.

       

I was also at the historic center of Perugia, Piazza IV Novembre.  The name celebrates the date in 1860 when Umbria voted to join the new kingdom of Italy.

   

In the center of the square is the lovely Fontana Maggiore.  It was built in 1275 to celebrate the arrival of water to the city by aqueduct.  There is so much detail to the three-level fountain.  It seems to be the symbol of the city, since its image is on most of the souvenirs that I saw.

   

   

The main structure in the square is the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.  The construction of the cathedral began in the 1300’s and was completed in 1490; but they never did complete the external pink and white patterns that are only on the lower part of the building.  Kind of a shame.

Next to the church’s side entry is a large bronze statue of Pope Julius III, who was very helpful to Perugia.

The interior is quite pretty with the frescoed vaulted ceilings and ornate decorations.  At first look, when I entered the building, I couldn’t see that much, since it was very dark.  In fact, I could barely see the ceilings until I took photos of it.  The photos brightened it up where I could see the beautiful detail.  I can appreciate keeping lights low to prevent deterioration of the art objects; but a little more light would help tourists to see the real beauty of the cathedral.  The photos are much brighter than what my eyes could see.

   

       

       

   

   

I walked back over to the Palazo del Priori building to admire the two original symbols of the city, the griffin and the Guelph lion.  These are copies of the originals, which are in a room in the building right around the corner.

   

When planning for this visit, I had marked down several places I wanted to see in the old town of Perugia.  Since I hadn’t planned on staying long on this visit, I hadn’t looked to see where the other places were located; and the maps were of little help.  I decided to just walk along the Corso Venucci and see what I came upon. 

At the end of the street was the most famous and expensive hotel in Perugia, Hotel Brufani. 

It was in a great location next to the edge of the mountain where there was a walking path with awesome views below.  There was also a nice park area, Piazza Italia, with beautiful statues just across the street from the hotel. 

   

       

After my brief get acquainted tour of Perugia, I needed to get back to the hotel.  It was a much easier and quicker walk to the escalators since it was downhill. With it being 4:30 PM, I was in Perugia’s rush hour traffic.  I hadn’t planned on that.  There probably wasn’t that much traffic; but with so many one lane narrow roads, the traffic just doesn’t move that fast when there are more people using the roads.  The GPS got me out of town and back to the hotel after a few wrong turns on my part.  We found during this trip that the GPS wasn’t always that clear on where to turn.

We had made dinner reservations for a restaurant that was in the same block as our hotel, Osteria Dell’Olmo.  From the street, the old building looked quite large.  The entrance was at the back in a courtyard.  The restaurant had an old world feel to it.  We had a 7:30 PM reservation, which is late for us, but early for Italians, so we were by ourselves in the restaurant for a while.

   

   

It was a relatively expensive restaurant; but we wanted to try a good Italian restaurant in Italy.  For our first course, Carol had the tagliolini pasta with black truffle and I had the carbonara spaghetti. 

   

For the second course, Carol had the oven roasted pork with craft beer sauce and I had the lamb morsels with egg and cheese balls.

   

The presentation of the food was nice; but the pasta dishes were disappointing.  This pasta was much tougher than we are used to or have previously had in Italy.  Perhaps that is the way they like it in Umbria.

Since the hotel didn’t have any English TV channels, I had to watch the news channels on my MacBook.  Fortunately, the free Wi-Fi worked great. We did enjoy our very comfortable bed.

 

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