Last day in Ischia

It is our last day in Ischia. It is incredible how time flies, and tomorrow we return to Naples.

We have two unused - or rather unstamped - bus tickets from the ride where the ticket machine didn't work, so we go for a short trip to Lacco Ameno. Helle buys three small bottles of limoncello for the girls at the office, and then we return to Ischia Porto. It is too hot for serious walking today.

For some reason it takes a long time to pass through Casamicciola Terme. We are on the back seat and cannot see why, but when we get through the bottleneck, the coach gets full throttle and the engine growls loudly in protest.

At the mini market

We buy bread at the mini market behind the bus station and have to wait a long time, because Italian housewives need a lot of cheese and sliced meat.

An enormous mortadella sausage with a diameter of at least 40 cm is sliced on a machine, and one woman gets her cheese grated on a special machine that squeals so loudly that Danish authorities would demand ear protectors immediately.

At the checkout housewives talk and exchange gossip, but finally we get through with our bread and go to Bar delle Rose for a Coke and coffee.

About thin hair and vanity

Many Italian women of the older generation have thin hair - at least here in Ischia. I don't know if it is caused by the sun, genetics or the food, but once you notice, you see it all the time.

It must be a problem, because the women clearly do their best to add fullness and fluffiness, even though it is difficult because of the sparse building material. Some try colour, but actually that attracts more attention than it diverts.

Oh, vanity! But I'm a fine one to talk - didn't I get a haircut the other day, and wasn't I conscious about people looking twice?

Heatwave in Italy

Hot dog
Click to enlarge

At 15:10 coffee is ready on the balcony. The weather is beautiful - almost too beautiful.

There is a certain irony to travelling in May to avoid the worst heat and then experience a heatwave with temperatures well above 30 degrees C.

On TV temperatures are called "tropicale", and doctors give the usual admonitions about drinking plenty of water and avoid being old, weak or pregnant. We would certainly like it to get colder, before we visit Pompeii, but the weather forecast doesn't cooperate.

Ferries, folk and footwear

The large ferries call at the northern side of the harbour in Ischia Porto, and here the companies Caremar and Medmar have ticket offices. On the terrace loafers are playing cards. We buy tickets for tomorrow.

Sign with foreign languages
Click to enlarge

We find a bench and enjoy the relaxed yet busy harbour atmosphere. Hydrofoils come and go with their cargo of passengers, and the wake makes the yachts roll.

People hasten by to catch the next Medmar ferry at seven. It is funny to observe people's footwear as they pass. You can do that very discretely, and footwear has a tale to tell.

There are sneakers of all sorts from the dirty grey to the silvery. Some feet have obviously never used the running shoes for running. Sandals of every kind also pass our bench.

There are sandals highlighting painted toenails, there are low and high heels, plateaus and staggering stilettos, and there are also expensive Italian leather shoes that wouldn't survive for 10 minutes in Danish slush with salt.

We say "buona sera" at Bar delle Rose and enjoy our last aperitivo in Ischia. The nice waiter also knows it is Friday and asks if the holiday is over now. We say goodbuy: "Arrividerci!"

The last evening in Ischia

They have got a new menu card at Ciro's and have used the opportunity to boost prices considerably. I think ham and melon are hit the hardest with an increase of no less than 60 % from 7.5 to 12 euro.

We order bruschette, which haven't increased, and beef fillet in Gorgonzola sauce. With this salad, fries, water and half a litre of the house red. The steak is perfect and the sauce delicious. Dessert is Italian gelato - ice cream. The bill is served with limoncello so cold that it leaves the glass reluctantly.

The waiter is standing in the doorway as we leave. He asks if we return tomorrow, and when I tell him that we leave tomorrow, he musters the courage to ask where we come from. With our mixture of Italian and English he has probably figured out that we are not German. Once again we shake hands and say goodbye: "Arrividerci!"

We walk home to the last evening on the balcony. A band is playing on a hotel terrace some 500 metres away. There is the occasional polka, but most of the music is Latin. I'm sure the trumpet can be heard in Ischia Ponte.

We close the double doors, and they almost keep the trumpet out. We have forgotten to switch off the air condition in the bedroom, so it is like entering a cold-storage. I hastily press the button, save some CO2 and trigger a climate change.

Saturday May 23rd, 2009

From Ischia to Naples

We have coffee and breakfast on the balcony. We pack the last stuff, tidy the place and clean the kitchen - ready to go.

It can get hot today. The weather forecast says 28 degrees in Naples this afternoon, and as you know that is in the shade etc.

We say goodbye at the reception and thank Francesco for a pleasant stay. The suitcases still don't like the uneven stone pavement, and we have a break on a shadowy bench. We have plenty of time.

Of course there is a café with tables in the shadow near the ferry berth. Cars and buses cause havoc on the quay, and the café is filling up with waiting passengers. Saturday is probably a busy days.

A company of 10 at the next table have an organiser. You know, the kind who organises everything. The organiser finds out what people want to drink, the organiser calls for the waiter and orders for everybody. The organiser speaks loudly and takes for granted that you do as suggested.

I'll bet this organiser is chairman of something and supports vigilantes in his neighbourhood.

The ferry arrives 20 minutes before departure. Seen from the quay it is huge.

We find chairs on the deck, but after a while we have had enough of the exhaust fumes and retire below decks, where it is cool and chairs are comfortable.

We get our luggage and are standing on the car deck as the ferry berths in Naples. In front is the organiser with his flock. He is staring impatiently at the sailor, who must check that everything is secure, before passengers and cars are allowed to disembark.

We'll spend the last days of our holiday in Naples, where the story continues.