Sorry no posts on this for some time. Coming back to real life brought real life responsibilities – work, jewelry show, house cleaning, pet care, snow shoveling, etc. Actually two of those collided thanks to Mike and Paula for manning the booth at a craft fair while I worked at the J-O-B. Oh then Mike went off to Europe for his civilian job. The truck got a flat and AAA couldn’t help. We got our first snow. And I worked….
Any way Happy November 17th aka Homemade Bread Day.
So we left off with my arrival to Naples and checking into what was known on the bases as the Capo Inn (Navy Inn on the main base, which is the smaller base but has the work offices). This was yet again supposed to be Mike’s swan song last two week active duty in the Navy. (the last one was to be that and when we got back found out there’s a chance there might be more). Any way I was in a holding pattern on plans until he got his schedule then I’d build around any time he had off. If he had any.
So unlike Mike who had to get up, get breakfast and go to work I slid into a leisurely morning of adapting to a new time zone on a rainy day. Long hot shower, caffe at the market on base, looking over the tour schedule from ITT on base, and reading the Stars and Stripes. I was distressed to discover that the only American news channel on the Armed Forces Network in the room was FOX! So I watched Sky News some, seems the Brits are upset with their EU bill. I grabbed a nice salad for lunch and finished my first book of the trip.
Then Mike called to meet him at the ITT office. I found out his schedule was packed so I just booked all the guided tours I could. This was Friday and there was no tours for me on the weekend so my exploring started on Monday with a trip to Capri and Anacapri with a traditional multi-course lunch, Tuesday Buffalo Mozzarella Factory tour with luncheon featuring the cheeses from the factory, Wednesday Naples underground, Thursday rest, Friday Herculaneum and Saturday we departed.
With that full schedule I had the weekend to chill. First on my agenda was to try the wine. Now keep in mind I’ve not drank in years, since the last few always triggered a flare. My doc suggested trying their wine since there were no added sulfate or nitrates, just maybe it would be okay. Mike and I got a bottle and had fresh made pizza from base (mediocre by Italian standards but great by US). I had half a glass of the Merlot and it was WONDERFUL spicy, dry, delicious. Then that was the day.
Next day I paid for the wine. I wasn’t in a full flare thank goodness but was skirting the edge of one with sore joints and ick. Hard to explain if you don’t have Sjogrens but kinda like getting the flu but not really coming down with it coupled with an arthritis flare. Any way it was icky and I was glad to have a day to just lay about, take anti-inflammatory and drink water (with gas, I like the sparkling water). Had a Subway sandwich from the base food court. Let me say the bread was vastly better than any in the US. Read another book, slept and found out the light in the sitting room was controlled by the switch on the other side of the wall in the bedroom.
Now a few things about staying on base and staying in Italy. The nice thing about base is it is wired for US and local plugs. They are side by side and have a switch to turn each on. Remember kids turn the outlet on to charge your stuff. Helpful hint from experience. How did we figure this out? Well, I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and came out to the that light being on. Mike had gotten up stuffy and flipped all the switches he could find to get the ceiling fan in the bedroom working. Ah-HA that one does the living room light = the far one on the panel in the bedroom.
Next, everything is in miniature like Europe does. We Americans are space wasters because we have lots of space to waste. Heck even our personal space is among the largest in the world. Not so in Europe. Any way the bed was somewhere between a twin and a standard. Not quite a full standard, bit bigger than a twin. The couch was a big love seat. The fridge wasn’t a small dorm one but not as large as a bar one. The stove/oven was half size with medium sized eyes and the cover you can open and close to make more counter space when not in use. HOWEVER this was an American base and we had a full size dishwasher for our two each of plates, bowls, glasses, spoons, knife, fork and one each of sharp knife, pot with lid, pan, and spatula. Honestly this large full sized American dishwasher was large enough to put all our kitchen supplies in there and invite a few neighbors to do the same to make a load. Needless to say I hand washed dishes it was easier.
The next day I caught the bus over to the Support Site, the larger base with the housing and big Navy Exchange (NEX). I did a bit of shopping, got a watch for me as I forgot mine and they had a $10 table. I didn’t want to miss meeting the guide for my trip back to base on any tour. Got Mike one too like one he loved that broke sometime a go was now on the $10 table. Then lunch at the food court – Arbys, Taco Bell, KFC, Subway were the choices. Eh Subway again.
In the mall there there are booths for local artisans to sell their wares. I bought some gilded work and chatted with the man for awhile. He was retired from the business except when they did booths like this. His son was the 6th generation guilder and they had a shop in Sorrento. It’s an art that originated in Florence but it’s a water wash guild with gold, silver, copper (which gives a nice green patina when finished.) Got myself one and one for Paula the fantastic cat sitter who was pilling two cats a day for us.
The bus ride was nice to see some of the countryside. They farm every bit of arable land. The little triangles on interstates? FARMED. There was soy, broccoli, cabbage, and tomatoes in plastic cover. They take their tomatoes seriously and control sunlight, hand turn them and boy does it show in the flavor. YUM!
As soon as I got back to the room I ran into Mike who wanted to go down on the bay for dinner. So it was off to catch the AliBus after about mile walk to the gate. Then down the small graffiti strewn streets to the bay. Apparently curb parking goes either way (see photo) on the same side of the street. This wasn’t the first or last time we’d see that. Oh and one thing I am sure of – I would NEVER drive in Italy.
However we worked to find a restaurant open it was only 5:30 pm and most dinner places didn’t open until 7. Well most Italians don’t get off work until then due to siesta (long lunch of 3 hrs). We did find one thank goodness. Mike goes in at 5am and I have to be at the gate to catch my tour bus at 7am (don’t forget the mile walk to there). So we didn’t want to wait to 7pm we don’t stroll into work at 9 or 10 to take siesta from noon to three then back to work until 7.
So we had a great appetizer of fresh mozzarella with pachetta (photo) and I had scapanni with mussels (photo) and Mike had rotini with eggplant and spicy sauce. It was finished with Lemincello (photo 2nd is Mike enjoying mine) which is the very lemony local liquor with each restaurant has its own take on it. I took a sip VERY strong alcohol and VERY VERY lemony.
Then it was about a two mile walk back to the bus station. We were lucky going in the bus driver let us off early saving about a quarter to half mile walk to the bay. So the walk back was through the Naples streets where there groups of people heading home from work and collecting in front of TVs to catch up on Futball (aka soccer to us and the Aussies) scores of the day. We passed Roman ruins, Medieval castles, cut through turn of the 19th century malls and around a Renaissance palace to the bus stop. The attached photo of the medieval castle was our view from the AliBus stop. Once again we’d missed the bus by a few minutes but the wait was just 20 minutes this time. In the meantime we decided we couldn’t storm the castle.
Then it was back to base for the walk and to bed Capri was calling in the morning.