Where did I leave you? Ah yes, pondering food vs Ethiopia, well as the captain wouldn't turn the ship in that direction we had to keep eating and drinking as if there was no tomorrow! Our saving grace was we knew we were off to Procida to cater for ourselves for a week, so food could be rationed even if alcohol consumption never seems to waiver!
Our last 3 ports of call were Mykonos, Crete and Venice.....Mykonos was very like Santorini only flatter (yeah, says my aching calves!). White houses with blue shutters and doors, lots of cafes, churches, cobble stones and fishing boats. But as opposed to Santorini a few radicals have painted their doors in different colours (shock & horror!), purple, green and heaven forbid I even saw Mission Brown...don't they realise they are playing with centuries of culture and more importantly the tourist $ !!!... but still lovely.
Crete was a little different, multi coloured decor and a lot bigger, more like a normal small town going about its day. Venice was beautiful and we had 2 days to explore its magical character again, its uniqueness never disappoints, itís just such a shame all those bloody tourists are there whenever we go!!
A car, plane, bus and ferry trip got us to Procida, which is an island just off Naples, it is kind of Italy's version of a Greek island, well they are neighbours & after centuries of invading each other seem to have it sorted. It is quite small, about 3.75 square kilometres all up and by that I mean all hills (again!) So we are utilising their very unique bus system, which is basically mini buses of varying ages, some possibly BC, which stop and start with no obvious reason, ticketing and prices are indeterminable and, best of all, NO ONE on this island speaks English....of course, would Kev take me anywhere else?.....so we just buy a ticket, get on whichever one seems to be vaguely heading in a upwards direction towards something we have seen on a map and go! We have given up getting the driver to stop near anything we want, we believe this is there one pleasure in life, stranding the silly tourist and seeing if they are still there on his next trip round! Luckily the tiny aspect of this island means we usually work it out and so far have gotten back to our apartment somehow.
The main income on Procida is fishing and 2nd is tourism, there is a larger island called Ischia (photos of castle is from Ischia) only 20 mins away by ferry which is much more popular with foreign tourists, we visited yesterday but we are still glad we chose Proceda.
Ischia is famous for the small city/fort/convent/castle/prison built on an island now connected by a bridge, it is now privately own and being restored. It is quite beautiful, has lovely gardens & amazing views from all directions, I guess the prisoners didn't get the best rooms.
Two interesting points, 8000 people lived here at one stage and when the nuns had it, I guess they thought there was no room for burying their dead so they came up with the "toilet seat effect" (see photo of Kev being irreverent). You pop a dead body on here as it decomposes you catch all below and then finally when all done, break up the bones & pop in a recess nearby, you think that is bad!!! They then gathered here to pray while this was happening, so picked up lots of lovely diseases to keep the seats happily full! I knew I never wanted to be a nun and to make things worse, these poor girls were first borns from rich families who needed them gone so the sons could inherit!!! Don't get me started on religion, sexism & the general stupidness of mankind!....I digress, back to the holiday
Our apartment is quaint (yes, that is real estate speak) and luckily we googled-earthed it so we knew what to expect of the outside (see photos) before we arrived but having said that it is proving fine, the inside is comfortable & spacious and aside from the 38 steps we have to crawl up to get to it, we are loving it. The greatest feature is the view and position (again see photos) we are right among everything and we get to observe everyday Italian life from our balcony morning and night and this includes the wee hours as we have an "older gentlemen's" bar below us where they gather to solve the worlds woes while we try to sleep.....it is never quiet, in fact Italians are never quiet...I feel quite at home! But as we get to sleep in and have siestas in the afternoon, we are coping nicely, thank you!!
The fishing fleet is moored literally outside our door, we can watch them leave, watch them return and unload the catch to the stores below us, then we just wander down and chose our dinner...the prawns are amazing...also within a few meters we have a bread shop, pastry & coffee shop, little minimart and a grog shop. So we are very quickly becoming pseudo Italians.....I seem to have the "cuddly proportions" happening but the tan might take me another 20 years and a skin transplant! We have 2 beaches (not quite Bondi, but we mustn't gloat) within walking distance and they are there any chance they get, typical of a lot of Europeans.....all shapes, all sizes, all ages, all wearing practically nothing and not caring a hoot and, to top it all off, the buggers are all brown! Let's just say "spot the Aussie from Irish parents" is not a hard game to play!!
Not happy Jan!!
I guess that's enough for now, we leave here soon to continue to Lecce (in the heel of the boot) to celebrate my 60th...what, no, never!!!!!!!.....but hopefully the converted palace Kev has booked for us will make me feel like a princess, even if an aging one!
Love to you all,