By coach to Serrara and Casamicciola Terme
Coffee on the balcony at 6:30. Helle has slept badly. The mosquito bites are bad, where she didn't administer citronella.
The birds are warming up before the concert, and the blind cat returns home. She follows a sway path - every time the whiskers touch the wall, she takes a step to the right.
One of the flower boxes is home to a colony of tiny ants, and there is an intense traffic on the rail. Yesterday Helle created chaos and a traffic jam with a few grains of sugar.
Helle prefers to stay at home, so I go off on my own and get on a Circum Destra a few minutes past nine. The CD is the coach going clockwise around the island.
It isn't quite as foggy as yesterday, but misty none the less. I presume it is a morning phenomenon on the south coast, until the sun gains power to burn the clouds away. The mist and moisture probably contribute to the wild lushness.
I get off in Serrara, a small mountain village, and admire the spectacular view over Sant'Angelo far below. I walk about for a while, but there isn't much to see. As I am waiting for the next coach, the village idiot passes by and says buon giorno with a happy grin.
There are no vacant seats on the coach, and every time somebody gets off, some deserving person gets on: a woman bent with age, an old man with crutches, or a pregnant woman who can give birth any minute. So I remain unseated.
Intermezzo on the coach
In Sant'Angelo I finally get a seat in the back, where there are 2 x 2 seats and very little legroom. Facing each other by the window are two Italian men in their sixties, and opposite me a local kid about 15 years old has got hold of a seat.
Suddenly the kid becomes alert and quickly bends over to stamp his ticket in the machine within reach. One moment later a short stout ticket inspector with stubble wants to see our tickets. With some difficulty I manage to get my purse out of my back pocket, and when I can show him my ticket, he is gone.
The Italian gentlemen ask the kid a question about the bus stops. I think it annoys them that you cannot see, which buses stop where. Soon the kid is telling stories about this and that.
Some are about tourists and Neapolitans, who visit Ischia. His description of Neapolitans seems not to be flattering, because a man standing next to us interrupts and says that HE is a Neapolitan and bla-bla-bla.
The Neapolitan is about 35 years old. He is square cut and wears mafiosunglasses, impeccable white shirt and black trousers with creases.
The kid is silent, while the grownups talk amicably. The qualities of Naples are listed and tasted: the archaeological and historic treasure, the old town's charm, the fascinating subterranean Naples etc.
The Neapolitan talks a lot with his free hand, and if he didn't need a firm grip with the other one, he would certainly have used both. Words and sentences are stressed with hand movements like a separate language.
I had actually planned to get off in Forio, which we skipped yesterday, but the coach is being filled to bursting point by tourist getting off and on, on and off. In a way Forio doesn't pull, so I continue to Casamicciola Terme.
The beautiful promenade forms a soft arch open to the sea. There is a broad pavement, fountains and many green plants and flowers. In the small streets behind I see pretty small houses with flower boxes and laundry. A steep green mountain rises behind the town.
Click to enlarge
There are green oases, and old people sit in the shade greeting a curious stranger with buon giornos.
Back on the promenade I settle outside a café and order coffee. The espresso is served with a glass of water, so you have an excuse to stay, once the small coffee has been drunk.
When I ask for "il conto", the young waitress hands me the receipt and says the price in German, in case I cannot read. Suddenly I'm fed up and exclaim: "Non sono tedesco!" ("I am not German!"). The girl says "Oh!" but statistically she has done nothing wrong, and I feel a bit ashamed for loosing my temper.
I get on a coach and leave this pretty town. 10 minutes later I'm in Ischia Porto. I buy fresh bread in the mini market behind the bus station, and at home Helle has prepared lunch.
Afternoon trip to Ischia Ponte
At five we take the small number 7 to Ischia Ponte. It stops before entering the small city centre, and the chauffeur yells: "Castello! Ponte!" People get off, and the bus turns right towards S. Michele.
We walk about and see small streets and hidden courtyards. The evening sun pours its soft light over Castello Aragonese - beautiful. Some boys are swimming, and men are sanding and painting boats.
Museo del Mare
Museo del Mare, Museum of the Sea, exhibits stuff and artefacts throwing light on Ischia's history and its connection to the sea. Tickets cost 2.50 euro.
There are many old pictures of ships and fishermen, ship models, newspaper articles, ship parts, stamps and much more. It is quite interesting, and the stuff has obviously been collected with passion.
In particular we notice a picture of a ferry, M/N Augustino Lauro, which was originally named "Isefjord" and built in Aalborg in 1935. Aalborg is our hometown in Denmark. Later a search on the Internet revealed that the ship served as a ferry between Grenå and Hundested for many years, and that it was sold for scrapping as late as 2008.
It is time for refreshments outside a bar. Tourists pass on their way back from the castle, and locals are out for an evening stroll. The temperature is very pleasant. It must be a small town, because some of the locals pass more than once, and everybody seems to know each other.
Spaghetti without a wetsuit
The bus takes us back to Ischia Porto and stops almost in front of Bar delle Rose at aperitivo-time. At half past eight we are at Ciro's.
Tonight we have bruschette, ham and melon and then pasta. I have spaghetti with tomato fillets and take extreme care, because I am not wearing a wetsuit or a tomato-T-shirt; but Italian spaghetti is not boiled completely dead, and with a twist of a tail it sends two blood red drops against my chest. Live and learn!
A large Swedish company takes forever to pay, because they have got one bill and want to pay separately. The waiter is patient and works hard. The Swedes all look + 50, and despite being in high spirits they are not noisy.
Our bill says 37 euro and is accompanied by an ice-cold limoncello on the house. Yummy!