Holiday on Ischia, the green island

Saturday May 16th, 2009

We are going to Ischia, the green island in the Bay of Naples. Ischia is not as well known as the neighbouring island Capri, and there are also fewer tourists. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Ischia is probably best known for its thermal baths that are said to cure most illnesses. I doubt they can cure my hay fever, but anyway we're just on holiday.

We have spent a couple of days in Naples, and the ferry to Ischia leaves at 13:55. The sundeck has a few chairs that will be in shadow during the crossing.

Naples and Vesuvius
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Now the holiday begins for real with the wake pointing back towards Naples. The ferry is rolling gently, and there is foam in the air.

There are many German passengers, and some find it hard to remain seated. Again and again they go to the bulwark to look and take pictures. Is it sea magic or just holiday enthusiasm?

An older man in the sun is wearing a cap, jacket and pullover. He must be Sicilian, says Helle, because everybody else is comfortable in summer clothes.

Arrival to Ischia and Posidonia Residence

Roundabout in Ischia Porto
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Taxi drivers offer their services the first 100 metres after landing, but I shake my head. The map shows clearly that the apartment hotel is within walking distance.

However the map doesn't show that the road is paved with irregular stones making the suitcases hop and sway, and it doesn't tell that the last road up to Posidonia Residence is a ski jump without a lift.

We climb the hill with determination, and breathless we sit down outside Posidonia Residence. It is 15:50, and check in is from 16 to 19.

A guy rolls in on a scooter not at all out of breath. He presents himself as Francesco and we shake hands. After a moment he looks out of the door and asks in English if I am Mr. Bentzen? I confirm with a monosyllable, and when the pulse has descended into the green zone, we enter.

Check in is informal, and another young guy, Guiseppe, takes us to the apartment. Our reservation is for a one-room apartment without sea view, but it is out of season, so they have decided to give us a two-room apartment with sea view for the same price. Now that was a nice touch!

The apartment at Posidonia Residence

The apartment isn't big, but modern and well furnished. There are lots of cupboards and closets and kitchen equipment - though no electric kettle or North European coffee machine. Never mind, we can boil water for Helle's tea in the casserole, and I prefer espresso anyway, and of course there is an Italian espresso maker.

From the small balcony there is a view over Ischia Porto and to Castello Aragonese in Ischia Ponte to the south. The Bay of Naples is blue and sparkling, and you can make out Vesuvius' profile in the distance. The small island of Procida is our neighbour.

This is just GORGEOUS! The ski jump was an unforeseen exercise, but without that we wouldn't have this spectacular view. When we have unpacked, we settle on the balcony with freshly brewed espresso and agree that life could be worse.

A posting on the door shows that we are here in the cheapest season. In August, when the Italians are on holiday, the apartment rent more than doubles.

At the reception Guiseppe looks at my printed Google map and shows us where to find a supermarket. It isn't far, and when we see it is open until 20, we decide to walk some more and shop on the way back.

There is a long street, Via Roma, near the beach with many shops and some restaurants. Everything seems pretty focused on tourists, and at first glance we don't find a restaurant that appeals to us.

Back on the main road we turn back and shop in the supermarket. It has two storeys and lots of stuff. We carry the loot uphill. Puh!

Evening in Ischia Porto

Houses in Ischia's harbour
Click to enlarge

At half past seven we walk downhill. We inspect the restaurants by the harbour, but as expected you pay handsomely for harbour view.

Prices aren't frightening though, and if we wanted to save money we could have booked a one-room apartment, but waiters try actively to attract customers, and I despise that.

At a café on a corner we watch people and life over the rim of a glass. Young Italian girls with colourful drinks sit next to the pavement. The dolls twitter when not eating snacks. Local families are enjoying their evening walk, the passegiata. For Vikings like us it feels quite warm, but many Italians carry a jersey over their shoulders.

A small dog greets us and drops onto his back, when Helle fondles him behind the ears. We are comfortable, but the wine is lousy and the waiter is an arrogant bloke.

Supper at Ristorante Ciro

We pick Ristorante Ciro (Via Roma 33) for supper. It turns out to be so good, that we dine here for the rest of our holiday on Ischia.

Helle has pasta with salmon, and I get gnocchi Sorrrentina, which are gnocchi with a tomato sauce and mozzarella. For secondo Helle has ordered cotoletta Milanese. I have a very tender and very big bistecca (steak). The house red is juicy and not without body. We are close to bursting and have no room for dessert. The bill says 45.50 euro.

At the other tables Italians eat what comes to their mind. One couple starts by sharing a pizza and then have oysters. After that grilled fish with potatoes for the lady, and ham with mozzarella for the gentleman. You order, share and eat as you please, and it is a pleasure to see the waiter expertly carve and serve the fish using a fork and a flat spoon.

Very full we crawl uphill for the third time today. Moan!