I think every family has the story of the child that brings home all the stray animals to rescue! I know my brother and sister saved our dog from being drowned because she was the runt. I even brought home the stray dog that was running across a five lane road at the school (probably the best dog ever!!) I am not sure in my husband’s family which child brought home all the strays (probably his sister) but my husband brings home something different- stray people!
One day in May, the baby and I went to the airport to pick up Matt after one of his many many many work trips (can you tell I do not enjoy his work trips?). When I drove up he is chatting with a couple and I just assume that he worked with the man (military haircuts are easy to spot!!) Instead, I find out that it was a couple he met on the airplane and it was their honeymoon. The guy was getting ready to go to basic training as a Marine and the girl was studying psychology (Matt’s favorite!). The honeymoon was for a month in Ischia, Rome, and Ireland. The couple had a friend who gave them a house to stay in on Ischia as a wedding present! Matt and I were “pretending” to know our way around town and take them to the pier but of course we got lost along the way. We got to the pier and decided that we should explore downtown and get lunch before we sent them on their way to Ischia. We took them out to get a Napoli pizza (the best in the world!) and wandered the streets of downtown Napoli. We showed them the Galleria Umberto (pretty much a shopping mall) and walked to one of the castles. During the lunch, we made plans to go to Ischia on Saturday to explore the island.
Saturday morning was a bit hectic since we were doing something we had never done before. On the way to the ferry, we got stopped by the lollipop guild because Matt drove down a lane of traffic which apparently was only for buses and taxis. When we got to the ferry, we still had not decided if we were going to bring the car with us. After figuring out that we were not in the right place for car ferry, that the car ferry was not frequent, and we were not sure how much the car would cost, we decided to leave the car. We weren’t exactly sure where to park for the day and the line was INSANE. So Matt parked the car and figured out which line we needed to get in. Then I switched with him and stood in line with the baby and the dog (pushing through ridiculous crowds) while he ventured to find a place to park. The ferry to Ischia was at 9:40 and we were there at 8:45. Although the lines were insane, I didn’t think this would be a big issue. We had to get on the ferry because we were meeting our friends and had no way to communicate with them. After waiting for 30 minutes, I finally got to the front of the line to find out the ferry was sold out!!! There was another ferry about ten minutes later but to a different part of the island or an hour later to the meeting place. We decided we would take the later one since we didn’t know how difficult it would be to get between the different ports.
I am a rule follower.
Matt wanted to try to get on the 9:40 ferry with our tickets and just play like the silly Americans (although we had our dog so we couldn’t pretend we were tourists!!) After a little convincing, and partly because we were meeting people, I figured I would let him try. Unfortunately, it did not work. Oh well, I guess there was no harm in trying.
We boarded the 10:30 ferry with a squirming baby, a nervous puppy, a boat lover, and a motion sick maniac! Of course the baby didn’t want to sit still and wanted to sit with the motion sick mama. The ferry ride was about 45 minutes so we arrived just in time for lunch! Luckily, our friends figured out that we were not just standing them up but that we probably missed the first ferry so they were there waiting for us! And this time, they were experts!
We had a wonderful lunch of calamari sitting in the marina and decided we were going to go hiking on Monte Epomeo. Our plan was to rent a car and drive up to the starting point. It was surprisingly easy to rent a car. You just need an ID. I am not even sure that they looked at my husband’s driver’s license. The four door rental is not the most common and we had to specifically request one. When you get the car, the gas tank is almost completely empty. This is a bit worrisome when you can only use on particular gas station and you are not sure where they are located!! Luckily we had enough gas to get to the new gas station The Island of Ischia is not very large so we were able to see most of it as we drove to the parking spot (3 euro to park!!). The hike was only 1KM but it was steep. I had to stop a few times and all the other in shape people humored me and didn’t make me feel like the lazy out of shape person I actually am. About half way up the mountain, we were interviewed by the Stars and Stripe (the military newspaper). When we reached the top of the mountain, even though I am afraid of heights, I went and looked over the edge and it was AMAZING!!
After looking at the islands, the ocean, and Napoli, we went to the restaurant on top of the Monte and had bruschetta and wine. It was probably the best bruschetta I have had in Italy. After a wonderful, refreshing snack, we hiked back down the mountain where the baby finally fell asleep. Unfortunately our time was short because of the baby and after the hike, we had to return the car and get tickets for the ferry. We had time to get a gelato and café. Matt learned the baby has a much longer reach than he thought and some special skill to spill a cappuccino all over daddy but none on her (thank goodness!)
One thing that I will never really get used to is how aggressive Italians get with lines. There is really no line and everyone pushes to be the first. People will shove me while I am holding the baby. I am not aggressive and do not like crazy pushing crowds. We finally got on the ferry and we were able to find a row of seats with no one in front of us. There were three seats in the row and we of course took two (Lucy was on the floor) but surprisingly no Italians wanted to sit next to the Americans with a dog and squirmy baby! Another special treat was the plumber’s crack we got to see on the Italian man who was commando. Yup. Pretty much a full moon
Although it doesn’t sound like we did much, we were tried when we got home. But the adventures were not over. On the drive home (through bumpy and narrow roads downtown), we saw a moped double date. Two couples riding next to each other and having a detailed conversation. This caused some crazy driving! We also saw a family of three riding a moped and a car almost hitting two different scooters. What a crazy trip!!