Usually the day a cruise ends is a sad one, especially when we have a long flight ahead of us to get home. Since today is Ken's birthday, it was a double bummer that there was no way to celebrate this auspicious event. Our flight home is too early to make it to the airport on time today. Civitavecchia, the port, is over an hour's drive away from the airport, so we decided to stay at an airport hotel today, rather than cutting it too close and missing the plane.
But today turned out to be a wonderful day because we had an extra special reunion with a very good friend who we rarely see since he lives in Munich. This is s close to Munich as we have been in the last few years, so he flew here to see us and have a mini holiday in Rome. We were looking forward to getting to meet his new wife and having a chance to catch up. They met us at our airport hotel and we spent a wonderful afternoon together wandering around Ostia Antica, a large archeological site of what used to be Rome's seaport on the Tiber River. Due to river silting, the site is now two miles from the sea, but is in a remarkably good shape. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics. As we wandered around, it felt like we really were in a city. some of the ruins are multi-story and hinted what all must have been here in its day.
There's something special about reuniting with old friends who knew you before you had gray hair and wrinkles. Our friend has been a widower and we were so happy to meet his new wife who has brought so much fun and joy to his life once again. They came bearing birthday gifts and we reminisced and learned a bit about the Ostia ruins from them as we wandered around on a beautiful sunny day. We thank Hartmut for making the effort to reconnect with us here and make Ken's birthday a memorable one.