Playing Dirty – Ischia, Italia – 9 ottobre 2015

Shall I start this post with a rant or end with one?  Let’s just get it over with.  I almost always have problems with buses in Italia!  Buying a ticket during normal business hours isn’t a problem – you can get them at most tabacchi.  But, if you’re traveling early or late, or have to make a quick and spectacular transfer, you had better remember to buy them in advance because you can’t always buy them on the bus .  And, finding the bus stops is another matter.  The stop might be marked – it might not.  And, why can’t schedules be posted somewhere?  Anywhere?

I would consider this the ‘off’ season.  Yet, the buses on this island are stuffed.  People are pushed, pulled, packed, poked and groped.  I feel sorry for the very senior citizens.  The only good thing is they can’t fall down – there isn’t room.  Heaven forbid should you try to travel with luggage.  Thankfully, we didn’t have to do that.  But, I felt like I was doing some new funky dance – trying to avoid being guillotined by the door at every stop.

You’re required to validate your ticket in a stamping machine when you board.  What a joke.  The person holding onto the machine for dear life is the unsuspecting schmuck that ends up validating all the tickets passed to him or her.  I would love to see the driver check for validation stamps. Ha!

Ok, that’s all for now.  There will be more later…

Once we got on the right bus…

…we were dropped off near Porto di S. Angelo on the southwest portion of the island.  It’s very breezy and chilly, today.  There were great views walking to this very small town.

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It wasn’t raining cats and dogs, but, we saw cats and dogs!  And, Italians don’t use that expression anyway.  They say, “Piovere a catinelle”.  It rains from washbasins.

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Look at this cutie pie!

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And, this dog was sleeping!

 

We learned that Porto di S. Angelo was hosting the first annual outdoor apnea championship!  Yep!  How long can you hold your breath underwater outdoors?

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Ummm…yes, this contestant took our breath away.  We win!

 

So, you might be wondering what we’re doing in this sleepy little town.  Well, we’re headed to the natural hot springs at the Baia di Sorgeto.  The waters are supposedly therapeutic.  And, there’s the volcanic mud!  We finally found a small boat to transport us to the bay.

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The view of Porto di S. Angelo from the water.

 

After a short ride we arrived at the bay.  Oh, this is going to be fun – and, there are very few people!  Basically, this is a small rocky beach in a cove.  There is a small restaurant is in the center of the beach.  There is a woman’s and a man’s changing room and a bathroom to one side of the restaurant.  The thermal waters are on the other side.

We changed in the men’s room (gosh, woman take sooo long!) and walked the narrow path to the springs.  The rocks adjacent to the springs were really slick – and, really hot!  It’s safest to enter the water from the plank.  The water was wonderful.  Steaming hot riverlets fed the ocean.  If the water was too hot or too cold, you just had to move a few inches.  It was so peaceful sitting in the water and looking out to the sea.

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Io (me)

 

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Amy (the fair-skinned Irish girl)

 

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The fish and crabs were kind enough to share their habitat with us.

 

I think this guy was the self-appointed caretaker.  It appeared he lived, or, at a minimum, spent a great deal of time in a cave at the water’s edge.  He was helpful to the visitors (no fee, by the way), played easy rock on his radio and cooked his dinner (weanies in a foil pack, eggs and potatoes) in the riverlets.  He believes in the mud!

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As more people came, more people gave up the ghost and just changed out in the open.  We were ready to leave, but, waited because there were a lot of naked bodies hovering over our bags.  Scusi!

Instead of taking the boat back to Porto S. Angelo, we took the stairs to the overlook – always stairs.

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My new friend waving goodbye…

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We walked.  And, walked.  And, walked.  Finally, a town.  Panza Forio?  Thank goodness for photo ops along the way.  I needed to catch my breath.

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Enter a caption

 

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Let me in!

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Chill bro…

 

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Stay away!

 

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Let’s quit pretending there are sidewalks!

We finally found a bus stop and went to Casamicciola.  I had the worst meal of my trip here.  And, at this outdoor café, some poor dog in heat was being hounded (pardon the pun) by an unwanted suitor.  Both dogs were in terrible condition.  It’s so hard to see – and, so preventable.  Ugh!  We morphed into sardines and took another bus from Casamicciola to the road leading to our hotel.

We had intended to go to Castello Aragonese, today, too, but ran out of time.

So, we agreed that while Ischia has some gems, if we had to do it over, we would stay in Napoli and just take a ferry over for the day.  Unless, you just want to stay in your beautiful hotel and enjoy the pool and spa!  There was enough grime, smell, traffic and poor public transportation to prevent it from ranking higher in our books.  (Since the trip, I read that sewage goes directly into the sea.  I haven’t told Amy that news, yet.  Gulp.)

We leave for Positano, tomorrow.  The weather is supposed to be nasty.  It should be interesting!

Back to the buses…I would like to say one positive thing about the buses.  His name is Giovanni.  We met him the day we arrived at Ischia.  He was helping people get on and off the buses – another self-appointed ambassador.  We ran into him again, today, at a bus stop.  He was all smiles, hugs and kisses.  He gave us each a rose.  Grazie mille, Giovanni.  Sei molto simpatico!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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