Seeing Costa Concordia

December 19, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

After a good night's sleep at the Hotel Alfiero, I woke up early to shower, pack and get ready for the day.   I stumbled into the bathroom and turned on the shower--the water barely trickled out.  I adjusted the knob.  And, adjusted the knob.  Over and over and over.  Nuthin'!  After a minute, the dribble of water dried up.  I tried the water in the sink--again, the drops of water just crawled.  Just waking up and checking her e-mail,  Casey had little pity for me, saying I should have washed my hair the night before.  Grrrrrrr!

I quickly dressed and went downstairs to the Front Desk of this 17-room, family-owned hotel to complain, only to find the reception area was locked off.  Apparently there isn't much need for water or a Front Desk Clerk in the town of Porto Santo Stefano at that early hour.  <sigh>

I managed to use the cold water trickling out of the sink to wash up and get going.  Just as I finished putting on my makeup, I could hear the water in the building turn on.  It was 0620.  (That's good intel for the next time I'm in town!)  I turned on the faucet with its' welcome blast of water, and could now brush my teeth with abandon!

Side note:  There is a sign posted on the door of the reception area telling guests to let the staff know if you plan on departing before 7 am.  It's in Italian.  We didn't translate it until we were leaving.  DOH!  Also, we wanted to store our suitcases at the hotel for our day trip over to Giglio--we left them in our rooms, with a note on them, as well as slipping a note under the door to the Front Desk.  When we got back, our belongings were untouched and had been safe there.

We walked a block over to the ferry's ticket office and bought our tickets to Giglio Island-about $13 each.  The ferry ride, which lasts an hour, would leave at 0730.

Flat Shelby having a cappuccino on the ferry.
The boat had a handful of working people on it--several firefighters, too.  We settled downstairs in a lounge, and bought a couple of cappuccinos in little plastic coffee cups.  The ride itself was a little wonky for me...the weather had been bad the last couple of days there, and the sea seemed angry.  The pitch and roll of the waves, combined with being down below, got to me a couple of times and I had to quickly divert my attention so as not to start getting seasick.  Ugh!

About halfway across, I could see a big white something in the water, in front of the island we were approaching.  I thought, "That can't be it--it's too big."  But, it was--the Costa Concordia, indignantly laying on her side.

One of the firefighters onboard.

Our pictures don't begin to show the massiveness of this ship.  Maybe this satellite image will:

Seeing the name made it all the more real.

What was once a trip to go see something cool and ohmygawd, suddenly became very real, very tragic and very sad.  Our excited morning had a heavy pall cast on it.  Making it even sadder was remembering that 32 people had died on that ship--with 2 of their bodies yet to be recovered.

As we got closer, we could see all the heavy equipment on, and surrounding the ship. Like an iceberg, 65% of the ship is underwater.  The ferry passed by the Concordia--less than 100 yards (90 meters) away--then turns left to dock in the tiny, picturesque seaport.

Casey and I exited the ferry and found a taxi.  Our driver said he would take us up to the cliff where we could get pictures and wait, then bring us back to the port for 15 Euros.  It took less than 5 minutes to get to the vista where we took these pictures.  The driver pulled over on the side of the tiny, two-lane road.

"Cinque minuti, per favore," Casey said to the driver, who nodded in agreement.  He would wait the 5 minutes we wanted to get pictures.  Grabbing our cameras out of our purses, we jumped out of the cab and began taking pictures.

Then, the driver drove off!  He left us standing there on the side of the deserted road, with only our cameras.  No purses, no passports, no credit cards, no cash...the only thing we had was our cameras and Casey's iPhone.

My heart skipped a beat (or two!) and for half a second, Casey and I just looked at each other.  Neither one of us freaked out, but on the inside, I started cussing up a storm! Almost immediately, Casey said, "I'm sure he just went to turn around.  He'll be right back." Sounded reasonable to me, and we started taking pictures again.

Of course, Shelby was with us!

Three long minutes later, the driver came back as Casey had predicted.  We hopped in the cab for the ride down the hill to the port.  We were back to the ferry before its' 9:00 am departure.  Not knowing the time needed to get the pictures would be so quick, we had planned to spend the morning in the tiny seaport and take the next ferry, which departed at 1 pm.  There wasn't much in the tiny town to hold our interest for another 4 hours, so I was grateful we were able to take that early ferry.
Leaving Giglio
Back over in Porto Santo Stefano, we looked for a pizzeria for lunch--and there weren't any! But, we did find a little sandwich joint with free wifi, and ate there while we waited for the bus to take us to the Orbetello train station.  I bought a ticket to Rome for me, and one for Casey to continue on to Naples, two hours further.

Once we arrived in Rome, it was time to say goodbye.  Casey was heading back to her husband and  Italian villa in Lago Patria.  I stayed the night at an airport hotel before flying out the next morning.

I hadn't seen my kidlet since August, and we had a great time!  The trip to Pisa was so much fun as was our adventure to Giglio.  Since she's is going to be living there for three years, I'm going to pull out a map of Italy and see where our next 3-day adventure will be.  Any ideas for us?