The effort involved in my getting to Ischia was not insubstantial. Beginning from Rome, the journey involved the metro, a fast train to Napoli. and then another metro ride to the port, where I was fortunate enough to find my way to the correct pier for the specific ferry I had booked in advance. Any part of the itinerary could have gone wrong, but my good luck and minimal Italian held and there were no missteps.
Somehow, 4+ hours later, there I was – at the Port of Ischia with the remainder of a brilliant sunny day left to explore a place with which I wasn’t familiar a few short weeks ago.
Time to hit it and make the most of the 24 hours I had to devote to being here.
First, using maps.me, I navigated and walked to my hotel to check in. My single room, with private bath and terrace, completely met my needs and was more than comfortable for the night. I unpacked a few things, switched shoes to sneakers, and headed out to take in the views of the Castello and whatever else attracted my eye.
The panoramic views of water, mountains and distant land demanded my attention, unlike the joyful dog who occupied himself chasing down errant food scraps and crumbs as he roamed freely over the cobblestones. The water sparkled as the sun danced upon it and I wondered how much life on this island has changed over time – and how it may have remained the same.
The salty air stimulated my appetite providing a reminder that I hadn’t eaten anything since the orange and cornetto I had eaten for breakfast. Time to suss out a snack to hold me until dinner.
My greatest challenge in Italy has been the timing of my meals. Frequently, I’m not hungry until precisely the time restaurants close between lunch and dinner service, which leaves me with limited options. The arancini I spotted in the window of a pizzeria looked like it would be perfetto – and it was, filled with rice, peas and tomato it satisfied me until my evening meal.
But, before then, there was still apertivo to be enjoyed. A small bar with half of its outdoor tables occupied by gentleman of a somewhat vintage quality, beckoned. I stepped inside to order my standard aperol spritz, selecting a large bottle of water as well.
I never drink as much water as I should when traveling. Do you?
The man at the nearby table almost immediately attempted to strike up a conversation. He wanted for me to have a glass from which to drink my water, rather than my sipping directly from the bottle. I was brought a glass.
He spoke to me about the beauty of Ischia, wanting to know where do I come from and did I find it beautiful, too? Of course, si, it’s so very beautiful. I smiled and was rewarded with a pocketful of shells and stones he had collected from the beach. They’ll come home with me.
Also coming home will be the sound of the morning’s fishing boats, the remainder of my bountiful breakfast which will make a midday meal and my complete sense of awe over how I happened to visit this beautiful place.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”Henry David Thoreau