Saturday, September 17, 2016

3 Day Catch-Up


Thursday, September 15, 2016 8:00pm:  The Isle of Ischia

Last night was dinner and off to bed. Woke up to a bit of overcast. Breakfast and we were off to meet up with ship on the other side of the island. I practically kissed my bike. It was running like a charm. I have to say that I might be a bit spoiled. After we hauled our bikes up a dozen stairs in the woods, our first stop was in Forio, where we had a choice of either beach, town (shopping) or the gardens in La Mortella. The gardens were put together by Susanna Walton who was married to William Walton, a famous British composer.

Donna and I picked the gardens. The others picked beach/town, and Geoff decided to ride back and forth with Clement. The gardens were absolutely beautiful. Thanks to Alex, the guide on our sister ship, we got a discount. Donna and I had a great time and the place was huge. At noon, Geoff and Clement were at the front waiting for us. 

We biked to town to meet the others. After we gathered everyone, it was time for lunch. A short trip up to another church with beautiful views and yes, another wedding preparation.

We were off again up 150 m to Panza where we had another choice of either going up another 300 m to Fontana or going to the ship with a trip to a thermal spa. Geoff and J, who were both on regular bikes, opted for the climb. No one else with an e-bike was interested in going up and I didn’t want to be the alone at the top. I was also looking forward to a relaxing at the spa.

So we said ciao and parted ways. The downhill ride was spectacular. We passed the spa on the way down. Donna and I went back to the ship to get Phyllis and the rest of the group stayed at the spa. Donna and I rode down as much as we could and then we had to push the bike through town. Changed, got Phyllis and the three of us started up the hill. Taxi! Phyllis decided to it was time for a cab. Such luxury.

We had a great time at the thermal pools. We tried all of them and especially the waterfalls. You get a great massage from the falls and then just float till you drift off. We swam, soaked, and laid in the sun till 6pm. Collected Phyllis from her massage and started down the hill back to the ship. Stopped a van that was going down and talked our way into getting a ride to the gate of town.

We made it!
The boys that did the climb had a great time going up and down. Here’s Geoff to tell you all about it. We started at 150 meters and climbed to 450 meters taking plenty of time to check out the views at different levels. Several times we were passed by bikers racing up the grade wearing club kits. They gave us encouraging looks because our bikes and gear easily weighed at least twice what they were hauling, never mind the age difference. Clement said most people on the island use e-bikes if they don’t have light road bikes. Our bikes are rare. At one stop near the summit we talked a length with a British couple who pretty much thought we were nuts.

At the summit there was mass confusion because a tourist bus had just disgorged its passengers and filled the street and tiny square. The sole café was doing a great business with the waiter rushing back and forth across the street with trays of coffee and pastry.

The ride down to the harbor to the boat was the pay-off. Dodging ascending buses and cars we flew back down in maybe 15 minutes.

Everyone was made it back to the ship. Donna, Phyllis and I were the last ones in at around 6:15ish. All the bikes have been put away. It is sad to say farewell to them. Time for cocktails! 

Dinner was absolutely wonderful tonight as it has been all week. Our crew has been really fabulous.

Next time…. Procida

Friday, September 16, 2016: 6:43 The Isle of Procida

Skies were cloudy and the wind was blowing when we awoke this morning. The plan was to sail to Procida, walk around the town, and up to the castle. However, the weather has had its say on the matter. The rains came pretty much after we left port. We are now anchored off of Procida and waiting for the skies to clear so we can shuttle over to the island. Ate a fantastic lunch on the ship. We certainly have had our fair share of pasta - all forms and sizes – and all delicious. 

The skies cleared and we shuttled to the island. The town is a sight to behold. Vivid colors decorate the shore and the views from above are stunning. Our last trek up to the top to view the castle. Procida is a small fishing village that at one time was also known for shipbuilding.  It has also been the backdrop of several movies. One being, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” with Matt Damon.

Toured the island and stopped for some coffee when we got to the other side. Our original itinerary included a walking tour of Naples this afternoon. After taking a vote, we all thought it would be much more fun to get in another swim from the boat. It sure felt good after our final long, hot walk.

We are now sailing back to the marina where we started this adventure. 

Tonight we gathered for our last meal together. There was lots of hugging. Geoff presented J with the "most perseverance" award. There was lots of wine, limoncello, and even a bit of sambucca. J put on some music and, of course, I couldn't keep from dancing. Our sister ship was in a partying mood as well. It was great fun and then the rains came. Thunder, lightening, and downpours. Time to pack it in and get some sleep.

It has been a fabulous week. We had no accidents, no flat tires, just a little mishap with an e-bike, but no one got hurt. Truly a remarkable experience.  Great guide and crew. Good people, good food, and plenty of exercise. Although probably not enough for all that pasta!  Here are some parting sayings I will never forget:
  • No more stairs
  • Just around the next curve
  • A short climb
  • More pasta
  • More bread
  • No cheese with seafood
  • More coffee!!!
And the final all time best saying of the week:


    Next time.... Back to Naples


    Saturday, September 17, 2016 4:35pm  Back to Naples

    The tabs were paid, the bags were packed, we finished breakfast and waited for the van to take us back into the city. Lots of kissing and hugging at the dock.  We said goodbye to our friends from Geneva on the sister ship. Geoff and I would talk with Manuel and find out the news whenever we ran into him.  Two vans came for both ships. Eight of us got stuffed into the small one. Angie and Dennis went with the other group --they were all headed to the train station. Said our goodbyes and hope to see them again.

    Donna and Phyllis were the first to get dropped off our vehicle. We left them at the train station - they were on their way to Rome and do some more touring of the countryside. Big hugs and promises to come down to Florida to visit Donna. We may be there sooner than she thinks!  We were the next ones to be dropped. We are in a boutique hotel, but couldn't check in yet. Dropped our luggage and headed out to find the funicular that takes you to the top of Naples. 

    Leaving our hotel, with GPS in hand, we wandered through the back streets and took in the local color. Had a wonderful walk up to Montesanto to get the funcolare. It is not much of a ride. We got on in the middle stop. Got our, walked around and then sat for a lovely cafe.There are some sights to see up there, but we really weren't in the mood to sight see. Back on the funcolare and went all the way to the bottom. 

    Headed back to the hotel. Again, avoiding the heavy tourist streets. We went through a few open markets. The sights and smells were amazing. Time to grab lunch. Popped into a tiny trattoria and had a small lunch of eggplant parm (which consisted of a few slices of grilled eggplant with a sprinkle of melted Parmesan  cheese - no sauce. It was absolutely delicious. Geoff also ordered some rabini - it was good although I thought it was a bit salty.

    Finally got into our room and, you guessed it, I was not happy. I ordered a balcony and we got a construction site on the patio. We immediately changed rooms and we now have a balcony with a bit of a sea view and lots more room. This room is actually quite nice. 

    Before we left the others, we made plans to meet back at their hotel (the one we were in before the ship) and hook up for dinner tonight before we all go our separate ways.

    So you are now all caught up. We have our wifi back. The ship was a bit iffy and could not always connect. We  have another day here before we go to the Emerald Isle.


    Next time... Last day in Napoli


    1. Hope you guys are having a great time. Trip looks amazing. Was talking to Tali about you this morning and thought I'd check in. Hope to see you guys soon. xo ilana, liam, Tali.

    2. After seeing the photos I've never seen vegetation more beautiful

    3. After seeing the photos I've never seen vegetation more beautiful