Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sand in your pants

Coming to Europe I had one major country that I wanted to visited more than any other, one country that I had wanted to visit since I was a child, that was Italy. It was originally the country that I planned for us to visit first... but timing and seasons were not on board with my plans. But never fear for we have experienced the majesty that is the beaches of Italy.

Knowing that our time was quickly trickling away I began making many different plans for an Italian holiday. Some of them feasible, others were not (like a 2 weeks train ride across the country). We had two major constraints: Time and Money! But then, I guess those are nearly everyone's restraints when traveling aren't they. After a week of surfing hotels, airline companies, locations and many more numerous things, I was able to narrow down a feasible and fun trip for us.

The vacation worked out to be the weekend right after Mariko's birthday, so we decided that is what we were traveling for (its always easier to spend large amounts of money on a vacation if its for an important event). We flew out of Berlin on Friday morning and landed in Naples, Italy a little after noon. The weather was warm, the foliage was green and lush and there were people EVERYWHERE. Never had I seen so many people packed into a small area.

Luckily I had figured out most of the travel plans in advance, because I am not sure I would have been able to figure out what bus ran all the way to the port. But we got to the port with plenty of time to spare for our ferry. I was excited for my second boat ride in open water, though this ride affected my stomach a little more than the previous one.... which makes sense because this was a airfoil, which is made for speed on the waves.

The island of Procida (pronounced Pro-chy-ta) was both daunting and tiny at the same time. Most of the people on the island were Italians (even the other tourists were primarily Italians) and English wasn't as prominent as
The fishing harbor
other places we visited... but we got by just fine with pantomiming and a list of certain Italian words that I knew we'd need (allergies are fun!).

But one thing we noticed more than anything else, people were nice. Not just polite, but geniunely nice. The nicest I have ever met. Our hotel upgraded us to a larger room for no charge without us asking... just because they had one available. And when our toiler wouldn't stop flushing, not only did they let us move to a different room, they also let us move to their other building on the otherside of the island.

It was a relaxing vacation for us, which was something that I knew Mariko needed much more than another trip running around trying to to see as many tourist attractions as possible. We spent most of the time walking along the beach, walking along the many narrow streets and paths of the island, and of course eating when ever we could get the chance.

Now the vacation wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, there were things that we didn't think would be an issue but definitely became some. The buses for example. Procida isn't a large island, only about 4 sq km but it is hilly and the roads don't always go exactly where you want to go. I planned on us just using buses... we never rode a single bus. Apparently there are bus stops situated all around the island, marked with a small sign that says "Autobus" and pretty much nothing else.... no info on when, where its going or anything else. Definitely a problem.

 So walking was our only mode of transportation, and for walking one needs food. And there was restaurants all around the island, but they weren't always open. Which was a real problem for, as we had gotten onto the German time frame for eating... lunch around noon and dinner between 6-7pm. Nearly every single restaurant we saw close after lunch and didn't open again until 8pm.... this was a big problem the first day and a half. But we finally got in the swing and had some amazing dinners!

Our time there ended way too soon, probably faster than we would have liked compared to any other vacation. We were hoping for lots of beach time, sunning ourselves on the sand and playing in the water... but sadly we only had one real day to spend playing on the beach. And though the weather turned a little cooler as our trip progressed we made sure to spend as much time near the water as we could.

And suddenly we were on a plane landing in Berlin, back in familiar Germany once more. Just a camera full of photos, some wonderful memories and of course sand everywhere. But don't worry, we plan on that not being the last that Procida sees of us.

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