Monday, May 29, 2017

Ischia: 40 years on!

Mezzatorre Resort & Spa, a notch up from where we stayed in Ischia 40 years ago!
     In 1977, Sally and I visited Ischia for the first time. I wanted to go to Capri in the Bay of Naples, but her father suggested we go to Ischia, the neighbouring island instead. We might have still gone to Capri but the ferry to Ischia left before the ferry to Capri!
Hotel Oriente where we stayed last time.
     It was a most memorable trip. We stayed at the Hotel Oriente, which seemed quite lovely at the time with its private terrace, and enjoyed the best lasagna we had ever had at a cafe in the post office. We visited the thermal baths and gardens, where we were surprised to discover almost everyone was German.
     Since Sally turns 70 on June 3, she decided we should return to Italy for her birthday. She rented a small villa in Tuscany where we will be joined by Georgia and Patrick, who have been travelling the world since November (Georgia's last stop was Rwanda), Claire who is hopefully on a boat from Barcelona to Rome, and Maxine Long, her best friend from UK with whom she first visited Vancouver. Sally stayed; Maxine returned to UK.
The reception area
     Before meeting up, Sally wanted to return to Ischia. While I would have been happy to return to the Oriente, she booked what seemed like a nice hotel at the other end of the Island. We tried to get a rental car, but were told there was a 4 day minimum, and we wanted to come for 3. However, having seen the narrow, winding roads, and location of our hotel, I am so pleased we didn't get a car.
    We are at the Mezzatore Resort & Spa. Set on 17 acres of woodland at the northern tip of the island, it is quite a beautiful spot. We suspect we are the only Canadians....everyone else is Italian, German, a few Brits and Americans.
     Since Donald Trump just ruined the G7 meeting hosted by the Italian Prime Minister (according to the Italian press) we wish we were wearing small Canadian flags, but forgot to bring them.)
    As evident from the photos, it really is a good place to begin a 70th birthday celebration. The only problem is that Sally hurt her hip before leaving and is having difficulty navigating the steep terrain. Other guests are also having difficulties, and I have suggested to the management that they mention on their website that many of the rooms and suites are difficult to access by those who have difficulty walking.
This is where I enjoyed my first true whiskey ice-cream. Gelato covered in Johnny Walker Black Label
     Fortunately the resort offers a regular shuttle down to Lacco Ameno a delightful town below the resort. We went there our first night and while service in Italian restaurants is reportedly different than in North America, I'm convinced we got particularly poor service because our waiter assumed we voted for Trump.
     We also visited the nearby Giardini La Mortella which Sally had previously been told about. They were lovely gardens, with some fascinating water plants, and a lovely seating area which I will copy in the garden at Rush House, my next West Vancouver project. (However, I will design and build it out of white painted cedar!
At dinner last night, the people at the next table complained that they didn't get a better table location! We thought this was magical!

    

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