Most of the time, when I think of Livorno it is either as the gateway to Pisa & Florence or as the unofficial R&R military location in Italy. For years the Army clinic at Livorno was a one doc affair tasked with primarily an occupational health mission and incidentally supporting the few military and families that were stationed there. For administrative purposes, it fell to Vicenza for command and control.
Today, I wasn’t thinking of any of that as I wound my way through various streets. The port authorities, not being any fools, charge for the shuttle bus service to town. It isn’t that town is not walkable, but as a working port there are safety considerations. Most ports provide this service to at least the front gate without charge (although I think the cost is buried into the docking fees charged the cruise ships). But here in Livorno? Why not get 5 E from each passenger? It isn’t a lot – not enough to really upset anyone or make them question why but should pay for the salaries of the drivers and cost of fuel for the thousand or so using the service.
Where was I? Oh, yes – it is Saturday and Market Day. Not only are there fish, fruit and butcher stands but there are breads and cheese and flowers. Then walk on to find the clothing, linens, shoes and kitchen wares sections. There are also stands for buttons, yarn, notions and fabrics. Walking around for a few hours was relaxing and interesting.
What I didn’t find since I didn’t walk far enough were major stores other than H&M and Zara. I didn’t find any decent size sports stores; I didn’t find any additions to my fussball jersey collection, especially not home or away World Cup Italy. So I sent my postcards off since the tobacco stand on the corner near the bus stop had both cards and stamps. No pick up on the weekends, but I can live with that.
A quiet time was had late afternoon back on the ship!