Monday Marginala – We Visited The Kids

Here we are on the road and wondering if the little dark cloud up there near the Batman building in Nashville is following over someone.

Here we are on the road and wondering if the little dark cloud up there near the Batman building in Nashville is following over someone.

Well hello there!  I know, I know blog fade got me as RL intruded.  But yet again I’m back just like a bad penny.  So shall we carry on as if nothing happened.  Yes why don’t we…

Over the 4th of July weekend we went to North Chicago and stayed in the Navy Lodge at the Great Lakes Naval Base to visit our son Aaron and his fiancee Sara.  Aaron home at their apartment in Kenosha after a lay off at the civilian job and then injury during his Army National Guard drill weekend.  So he was free to hang with us and Sara was free Sunday for a tour and Monday for dinner. Continue reading

Wednesday Wildcard -Cozumel

In Cozumel Mike chose the Jeep excursion.  It was one where you drove a Jeep about the island in a tour to see ruins, a national park, spent time on the beach, and have lunch.  He was keen on driving but there were four to a jeep.  I cautioned that maybe, just maybe, he couldn’t drive the whole thing.  But we were paired with two lovely ladies, Mary Lou from Michigan and her sister (please forgive men 6 months later I can’t find my notes and the name escapes me), neither had an interest in driving.  So Mike gleefully drove the whole day!  There we enjoyed the sites, had a great lunch, I loved playing in the ocean, and even got me a nice wool blanket. It has the lighthouse of the national park pictured here on the design. The blanket was a must for Wisconsin winters as Mike had taken back the one he’d given me in college.

Finally Back to Italy – Capri and Anacapri

Capri and Anacapri from the port  Photo by me.

Capri and Anacapri from the port Photo by me.

Day five in Naples started with me waking up to say “Honey it’s 6:30” when he intended to get up at 5 and I wanted to get up at 6. We both dashed to get ready. I skipped shower as I had to be at the roundabout outside the gate at 7:15 to catch the bus to the boat for my day on Capri. I got there and then learned about Italian time… it is approximate. I was the only one there until 7:30 which is when the bus was to depart and up strolled three couples from base. The bus rolled in about 7:45. It’s all relative… except when it comes to boats going to Capri. We were rushed from the bus to grab our tickets from Aldo, our guide, and dash aboard a hydrofoil to Capri. Once again I got the most envied of all seats the middle of the middle. I could see nothing. Dosed off for the hour over. Once there we caught mini buses to Anacapri.

View from Anacapri.

View from Anacapri.

Anacapri is the settlement on the top of the rocky island. Villa D’Capri is the one that rings it down by the sea. The island has been human inhabited since 5,000 BC Capri in Eutruscan meant boar – the island is where they hunted boar. Later Romans moved in and brought goats Capra thus inn Latin Capri means of goats.

We took off from the port in a small bus covered in ads for a tacky watch covered in Swarovski rosetta crystals of various colors called a Capri watch. It sells for 300 euro about $450 US. The road we took clings to the rock cliff and is called the Etruscan road hewn by the Greeks & Etruscans to trade easier with Anacapri.

If you look there on the side of the rock you'll see the Etruscan road to Anacapri.  See it there with the supports?

If you look there on the side of the rock you’ll see the Etruscan road to Anacapri. See it there with the supports?

It has not been widened since before Christ and has a granite wall on one side and a drop to the blue blue Mediterranean sea on the other. It is wide enough for two of their one goat wagons or just wide enough in parts for our minibus and an adventurous scooter driver. The drivers radio to one another when they are heading what direction on the road the others wait in the wider spots. Oh and by wider I mean where they barely pass… BARELY. But don’t think that slows down any driver because it doesn’t. Nor do the pedestrians on the road flinch for bus, car, truck, or scooter horn. I rode in the front seat on the way down to get a shot of the wider parts.

Wider part of the Etruscan road.

Wider part of the Etruscan road.

Once in Anacapri he we toured the graveyard where burials have been for 1000s of years. Then saw Tiberius’s vineyard. Seems the white grapes grown there make an impeccable wine that Emperor Tiberius

View of Emperor Tiberius Vineyard.  Still in private operation today.

View of Emperor Tiberius Vineyard. Still in private operation today.

loved so his vineyard still growing grapes today for a family’s private wine but given to VIPs who visit Capri. You cannot buy any. Then we followed this narrow walk way to the center of Anacapri where we were set free for about an hour and a half.

I headed down to the red museum which was the nautical one. Found it and even could read the sign’s times. It opened at 10 am now it was 11 am but still not open. I look about the vendors now opening their stores and bringing out their displays. I asked one about the museum.

View through the closed gates of the Red Museum on a "freddo" morning.  Photo by me

View through the closed gates of the Red Museum on a “freddo” morning. Photo by me

“It is a cold day, they will open later when it warms up.” It was in the low 60s F (teens in C). I went back made a few pictures and looked over the sign, no where did I spot anything about closed when “freddo” mornings arrive.

So I strolled out to the overlook past the just opening shops all bidding me “Good morning, open soon. Very cold this morning.” The funny thing is on the “cold” morning the ice cream stand was the only one open on time. The over look was beautiful, again made some photos. Walked back and kinda had to go to the bathroom but it is “50p to pee” as Aldo told us. The smallest I had was 20 Euro and we were going to lunch next where a bano would be available. So I just enjoyed sitting in the warm Med sun at the meeting point.

It was then another ride down the Etruscan road to where we had lunch. It was a house with a nice covered patio. The people have a restaurant-like business feeding tour groups that book them. First we had rigatoni with tomato sauce, made from fresh tomatoes. Then ravioli stuffed with 3 cheeses (buffalo mozzarella, ricotta from sheep, and goat feta) that was topped with a veggie sauce. Next you could choose from roast pork (called roast beouf here from some unknown reason), herbed chicken (cooked over open fire on spit), or the Capri traditional dish of pan cooked squid (calamari Capriese). I went for the squid – when in Capri do as Capriseans. This was accompanied with a basic garden salad topped with a light vinegar and fresh olive

The meal was so good I didn't think to take a foodie until it was too late. But as you can see I enjoyed it.

The meal was so good I didn’t think to take a foodie until it was too late. But as you can see I enjoyed it.

oil. All this was with warm fresh crusty bread they kept bringing and kept bringing and I swear forced everyone at my table to eat at least a loaf each. That is our agreed upon story- that they forced us- and we at table 9 are sticking to it! It was capped by a vanilla gelato (ice cream). It all was to DIE for food. All the squid I’ve ever had has been chewy. This was melting in your mouth tender it broke with slight pressure from a fork. Very buttery with garlic and basil flavor and briney sea flavor. Mmmm-MMmm The pasta was perfect al dente not mushy. It was all so fresh. Oh, and I got to use the bano without having a 50p coin.

Next he took us to the Capri lemon shop. Lemons there are Caesar lemons. Think the size of a large navel orange or small grapefruit. They are sweet-like lemons. There I got some lemon chocolate and orange chocolate. Drat 5 Euro change still no 50p for the bano!

Now was a walking tour to the south side of the island where the rich live. We went up into the medieval walls and walked there. Originally these were the sentry walk and barracks.

The walk through the sentry walls of Capri.  Photo by me.

The walk through the sentry walls of Capri. Photo by me.

Now it is a public walk with non-tourist shops in the former barrack rooms. It was interesting to see that one side for a good distance was a grocery. One barrack room vegetable produce then pay and move to the fruit produce pay and move down to the bread pay then sweets and so on through canned goods, dry goods, etc. Some were small pizzerias with workmen crowded in the skylight courtyards eating their lunch. We came out on steps filled with flowers that were a florist’s display.

North Capri steps to sentry walk now used partially as a florist display.  Photo by me

North Capri steps to sentry walk now used partially as a florist display. Photo by me

Then to square of the important – tables set up with chairs and various upscale restaurants. Here the important people of the island gather to drink wine, play chess, and in good Italian tradition argue. We went down a winding street of all the upscale name shops you can name. Yes you too can own a Dolce Gaban t-shirt that says Capri on it for only 800 euro ($1000) or dress your babe in Grey Flannel brand baby clothes for only 1200 euro for one outfit. Oh and get a gelato for 16 euro looking much like the 3 euro gelato I saw for sale on the south side.

We moved on to the Sanatorium which was where people with lung disease came to be treated by the good sea air. It is now a four star hotel. Passed it and down Via Rupp a nice stone walkway made by a German named Rupp. We went to another major industry on the island besides Caesar lemons (for many a Lemoncello) is perfume. We toured the perfumery’s garden and I loved it as Aldo knew much about the plants flowers and uses. The views from there were glorious.

This is a view of the Via Rupp on north Capri

This is a view of the Via Rupp on north Capri

It was there Aldo said he’s meet us back at the buses on the south side. I got a bit of a fright hoping I could remember my way back! Then I thought, eh, it’s a small island keep following the coast and I’ll find the other side. However bano was NOW calling. I went in asked the attendant for change for my 5 euro. She was nice and had to call the men’s room attendant for help but between the two of them they made change. I thanked them both and tipped each a euro. Trust me I’d gladly given them the whole 5 for one 50p to pee! Now I dropped my coin in the slot (I had many as he opened a change box to get me change I’m sure he thought “Touriesta!”) And was relieved.

Then I started navigating my way back stopping by the Swarovski store in the rich section. Swarovski is a prized crystal jewelry piece maker. They are made in Austria and I deal with them regularly making jewelry. So I know many of their prices in US. There in the store a crystal that is about $0.75 US was selling for 14 euro ($21) a crystal pendant $3 US was selling for 118 euro ($170). I chuckled to myself at the snobby shoppers and headed for the sentry steps that were now a florists display case. Then through the walls past the grocery and down a few streets and I found the buses in plenty of time. Some were not so lucky so Aldo fretted about his babini (children is what he called us, his children) until they came from the opposite direction from what he had taken us. Seems they got turned around and figured as I did keep following the coast and the wall you’ll have to pass it being an island.

It was another harrowing bus ride down to the port. There we had to wait for the boat. We were running late it was 4 pm already and originally we were scheduled to be back at base at 4:30. Being a good papa Aldo let those who needed to use his cell to call babysitters, loved ones meeting them etc to tell of the delay. Me eh, Mike is in a secure area and I’ll get back when I get back.

The hydrofoil ferry we took to and from Capri.  Photo by me

The hydrofoil ferry we took to and from Capri. Photo by me

So it was an uneventful hydrofoil ride back to the bus to the walk to the base then the walk to the inn on base. I got home as Mike did. He wanted to walk out to a restaurant for dinner. I gave him the very fatigued “I’ve walked all over Capri all day” stink eye and we got sushi at the food court.

Even though I didn’t label them all, all photos are by me.  You can click on any one to see it larger and go to my Flickr account where there are many more of my day on Capri.

Arrival In Naples

 

View out our bedroom window of Mount Vesuvius on a dreary day.

View out our bedroom window of Mount Vesuvius on a dreary day.

 

As you saw from the last post, I was packed and ready to go.  Our flight was on Luftansa and left O’Hare at 9:40 pm  we connected through Munich to Naples.  Yep we were flying economy but were able to get seats together.  Actually when we got the plane we had the two seat section of the row so it was just us mooshed together in those pre-school seats, with little leaning back room.  I can say our part of the flight was uneventful, it departed and arrived on time.  We were fed, Mike slept, I watched movies.  I can’t sleep on a plane.  Mike felt queasy once and hot, but once the air kicked on and he fell asleep he was fine.

Mike contemplating his $4 water in the Munich airport

Mike contemplating his $4 water in the Munich airport

However, there were events on the plane.  We were just out over the Atlantic when a call went out for a doctor or medical personnel on board.  Oxygen tanks were carried forward by an attendant.  Mike went to the rest room and said a group was attending a person passed out on the galley floor.  Never found out what the emergency was but I’m sure they and their family weren’t having a good flight. Just south of Greenland over the Atlantic, yes about where the Titanic sank we hit turbulence.  So flight attendants had to sit and buckle in, we were seat bound and it bounced.  Kind reminded me of driving too fast on an East Tennessee dirt road.  Not to bad, not violent just very bumpy.

Honestly, I did doze for about twenty minutes but mostly passed the time watching movies.  Saw Captain America 2 again (still good) Rise of Planet of the Apes (better than expected), Malnificent (Eh, just okay) and an episode of Ray Donovan (too cheap to buy pay channels but good show).  By then my legs were yelling for mercy, swelling and restless. I’d had it about the time we were over London.  Thank goodness it wasn’t far to Munich.

Ahh, to stand and walk felt good.  Customs/immigration into the EU was easy.  I was entering for leisure as military spousal accompaniment.  Got the first stamp in this passport.  FINALLY!!  I’ve used for about five countries and NO stamps but the EU came through and put one on it!  So take that Caribbean and Canada!

The Alps from the air on our flight to Naples

The Alps from the air on our flight to Naples

In Munich airport we had time.  I was screwed up on my regular med, so took the next dose which was morning and had to have some water.  We each got a bottle of ‘still’ water and paid $4 for each bottle.  I felt officially welcomed to Europe.  We lounged and enjoyed stretching our legs and walking.  Then time to board the flight to Naples or Napoli as called when boarding.  There we filed through the boarding pass check, down three flights of steps (Where Mike helped a lady with a stroller by carrying the front) and out to the bus that would take us to our flight.  You know it had to suck to pay all that money to fly first class and then be crammed on a bus with us plebeians.  On that flight I got the most enviable of seats – middle of middle!  I was next to Mike so all was good. I dozed a bit and with the help of Mike got some pictures out the window of the Alps as we went across.

Finally we arrived in Naples.  The airport is known for losing luggage 33% of the time.  We had three pieces checked (my one his two uniforms are space takers).  As we waited and looked at ads for gaudy watches called Capri Watch, we debated which one wouldn’t make it.  We voted it would be mine since all I had was undies in my carry-on.  However, fate smiled upon us and we beat the odds getting all three bags.  (Sorry lady who lost 2 of her three, it had to go somewhere).

The base is next to the airport.  Cabs can’t go on base so we walked.  It’s about a mile and half walk.  Yep glad I packed light as I knew I’d have to haul it.  So after ID check (I got a salute?!?) we made our way to the Capo Inn on base.  There we had a small apartment reserved.  Heck we found out we had two when we got there.  Our place had a to die for view of Mt. Vesuvius.  (see the one at the top of this post it was a dreary day but the rain missed us.)  Literally I mean if that thing blew we were goners.  Still it was beautiful in the dreary afternoon.

The sunset shows why the Amafi Coast is called the golden coast as we flew in.

The sunset shows why the Amafi Coast is called the golden coast as we flew in.

Next on the agenda was laying in of breakfast food and snacks.  It was off to the base Exchange that had a grocery section.  After putting those away in the room it was now the evening of the 24th.  I had started out the evening of the 22nd.  Travel is great but it is also exhausting.  We were tired, me more so as I didn’t get to snore on the long flight like some people did.  So it was off to the food court for mediocre pizza by Italian standards but excellent pizza by ours.  We took it to the base pub and Mike had a beer while I had a diet soda.

Back to the room for a shower and Mike was off to bed.  He had duty starting early in the morning and would get an idea of his schedule.  I stayed up to unwind a bit from all the action.  Emailed home and enjoyed the night view out the window.  The nice thing about staying on an American base was we needed no adapters it is wired for both local and mainland outlets.  SWEET!

Oh I really got use out of my bluetooth keyboard in my tablet case.  So nice to carry something so light and be able to write, draft posts like this, and enjoy the base free Wi-Fi.   After a hot cup of mild tea I was off to bed and crashed out hard.

So ended my first day in Naples – just settling in and getting the lay of the land.

 

 

On The Way There

 

 

Yep this is another pic spam Vacation, wish I was there, posts.

You are going where?  Without US?

You are going where? Without US?

 

Those of you with pets know that leaving them when going on vacation takes planning.  We have a wonderful pet sitter that has always done superior work with our furry babies, Always There Pet Care. However for the first time in many years our holiday and theirs lined up.  So I was in a quandary as to what to do considering I have two furry boys that need medication.  At their check up I was asking the doctor if she could recommend someone.  To my surprise one of the vet techs volunteered!  Of course I paid her the same as I do our usual sitters and was glad to have the boys in good hands while I was on the high seas.

Somewhere over the Eastern US.  (photo mine)

Somewhere over the Eastern US. (photo mine)

 

Ft. Lauderdale Baggage claim.  (photo mine)

Ft. Lauderdale Baggage claim. (photo mine)

We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday to catch the ship on Saturday in Miami.  We left on an early flight from O’Hare and thanks to Mike’s frequent flyer miles the flights were $20 roundtrip!  We had a connection in Charlotte and every flight went off without a hitch.  Though really I swear if the seats get any thinner I’m going to have to sit on one cheek.  My dream is to travel first class if not like this.  And may I add I have never been in or through an airport that wasn’t under some kind of construction/renovation.

Hollywood Beach - it was good to be back to the ocean.  (photo mine)

Hollywood Beach – it was good to be back to the ocean. (photo mine)

Hollywood Florida beach Funny bar signs - more on the link (photo by me)

Hollywood Florida beach Funny bar signs – more on the link (photo by me)

 

My BFF lives ten minutes from the Ft. Lauderdale airport.  So she graciously arranged to be off work and picked us up at the airport.  Then it was over to her place to shed our Wisconsin Spring clothes (warm!) for shorts, sandals, and tees.  Then we went to the Hollywood, FL beach for a walk in the sun.   After that to Las Vegas (yes in Hollywood) for a real Cuban dinner.  It was delish!  and yes Walter (for the fellow Fringe fans) is right everyone loves Flan!  I however could make a meal on their black beans and rice with plantains for dessert.  Then she graciously drove to our hotel in Miami Beach.  By then I was exhausted.  I’d gotten up at 4am to make it to O’Hare for our first flight.

Trust me it costs more today and doesn't include meals.  (photo by me)

Trust me it costs more today and doesn’t include meals. (photo by me)

Part of the Lobby of the new addition (photo by me)

Part of the Lobby of the new addition (photo by me)

 

 

Sorry for the bad quality but made at night with my phone.  This is the elevator floor love the details of older buildings, rarely see that any more (photo mine)

Sorry for the bad quality but made at night with my phone. This is the elevator floor love the details of older buildings, rarely see that any more (photo mine)

Beach side of Cadillac Hotel (photo mine)

Beach side of Cadillac Hotel (photo mine)

 

Misty morning look at the hotel's beach section where they provide chairs and umbrella (a must for fair skinned me) photo Mine

Misty morning look at the hotel’s beach section where they provide chairs and umbrella (a must for fair skinned me) photo Mine

 

We stayed on Miami beach in the Old Cadillac Hotel now a Courtyard by Marriott.  The hotel was built in 1940 in Art Deco style and is on the US National Register of Historic Places.   It was renovated in 2004 for $40 million and is a beauty any way you look at her.  We stayed in the original tower.  That night we did a walk on South Beach.  Let me say I saw more silicone than you’d see at a caulking convention.  Also I’m out of touch apparently the style is to wear neon undies beneath a thin white dress.  We in Wisconsin are so behind the times…

Boardwalk Miami Beach (photo mine)

Boardwalk Miami Beach (photo mine)

My version of the classic shot of the Fountainbleau on Miami Beach (photo mine)

My version of the classic shot of the Fountainbleau on Miami Beach (photo mine)

 

The next morning was a great breakfast (split a HUGE omelet with Mike) and another walk on the boardwalk (very different scenery this time).  We were just down from the famous Fontainebleau Miami.  Of course being a crime show addict I had to tell Mike about the Batman memorabilia collecting heir’s murder.  Once we enjoyed seeing the ocean and beach section that came with our hotel (that we didn’t have time to enjoy).  We checked out and caught a cab to the port to catch a ship.

I guess this 24 hours was our version of Planes, Trains, automobiles, and ships.  (train at O’hare to get to the airport from remote parking).

Next time I’m on travel it’ll be about being on board ship.

As always you can click on an image to be taken to my Flickr account and see more photos or click on the links for more information about other stuff.

Until next time!