Although we could not sail around the bay, we decided to make use of the the Circumversuviana, (the local train from Naples to Sorrento), and various ferries to visit some of our favourite places.

Sorrento obviously.

Then the short ferry crossing to Capri.

Followed by the longer boat trip past the islands of the sirens to Positano,

where we walked up the hill and then back down again, taking in the art galleries and craft stalls.

Everywhere was really busy. Autumn is a more hectic season in the resorts than spring, though the train service was much quieter than when the locals are all off to the beaches. By contrast the marina season is obviously winding to a close. Next week the shuttle bus to town stops and it will be the long walk as they also close the top gate.

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The Storm

The wind came up overnight, howling in the rigging and rocking us in our giant cradle. Fortunately the rain did not start until the morning. When it did it came in. At the corners of the front hatch and along into the saloon. We soon had an assortment of bowls and pans catching the drips. Tea coloured water accumulating in them to be emptied when the rain eased.

It was very dispiriting.

Thankfully the rain stopped and the sun soon dried us out, but the storms are forecast all week. John covered the front hatch with the plastic table cloth weighed down by our hosepipe augmented by a coil of rope.

It might not be elegant, but it works. The leak has put paid to our hopes of sailing though. We cannot risk sea water sweeping over the deck and into the fabric of the boat.

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On the Go!

Rain is forecast for the day after tomorrow, so there is a certain urgency about our autumn spring clean. We washed all the bedding yesterday and used the tumble drier to get the duvets dry enough to sleep under, but there are lots of our clothes and towels, not damp but a bit stale after three years confinement. We festooned Lyra with as much as we could, flipping things over to catch the sun. Laundry in Italy is very satisfying.

After lunch we walked into town and chose our fabric for the new mattress. It was unrelentingly hot and standing in the tiny shop was not much cooler. We had planned to do some shopping in town afterwards, but the mimed offer of a lift back was too much to resist. We said please, hoping we had not misunderstood, but our man gathered his keys and led us to the entrance to a subterranean car park. We waited till he came out in his car and it was such a relief to sit down. We sped all the long road back, with the wind bathing us with cool, marvelling at the ease. He gave our dock number at the gate and took us right to our pontoon. We couldn’t thank him enough. It would have been an act of kindness at any time, but in view of Covid even more so.

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At the end of August John received an e-mail from the boatyard to the effect that Lyra would be ready at the end of the week, but then the yard would be closed as they would be on holiday for two weeks. As it turned out we were then on holiday ourselves, in Devon, so it we did not set out to return to Italy till 21st September. The week before we were due to arrive the boatyard sent another missive saying we would have to pick the boat up from them and take it round to the marina ourselves. This was daunting news for a woman who had yet to jump from a moving camper van onto a lawn. Especially as it was to be just the two of us this time, no Lara. Once again we arranged to stay at the Hotel Miramare. We arrived to enjoy a spectacular sunset over Ischia from the bar.

The following day we had a morning by the pool and a lovely, if rather bracing, swim. Then we again took a taxi to the boatyard. We headed upstairs and were told that all was well, but the water pump needed to be replaced, they had the part and it would be done in an hour. Maybe an hour and a half. In fairness they could only test the pump once the boat was in the water and they had only put her in that morning, though why they could not have let us know what was happening was a mystery. They assured us we could go onboard and see the boat and wait. We went down to the yard expecting someone to come and show us the way, but nobody did, so we made our own way down to the slipway.

There was Lyra looking much better to be in the water. She had obviously been cleaned, though her canvas cover and the cockpit hood were bundled up on the stern. We climbed aboard. The new black screen covers stood out and down below the beds had been stripped and all looked shipshape. The new lights worked and looked very shiny. Then I noticed that the bedding was damp and the front set blackened with mould. John tested the instruments and they were not working. The engineers arrived to fit the water pump. We left them to it and headed wearily back to the office to report our problems. They would send an electrician. They had had to power wash Lyra three times, so some of the water must have penetrated. The covers had been removed because the plastic had perished and could not be seen through. The sun and weather over time. Acts of God noone could help.

We went back and sat on board whilst parties of workmen sorted out the pump and the wiring.

The covers had been new in 2018, they had been removed with some force as the zips were torn from the canvas in places. There were several holes. John thought the topping lift had been left adrift and whipped through at some point. I took photos of the dismembered zips.

The wind began to get up. I was not looking forward to the sail round to our berth and the landing there in calm weather and grew tense at the prospect by the moment. Finally the engine started, coughed out a mess of weed and grass cuttings and was running well. All the circuits we’re working, the engineers all left, including the one secreted in the engine room and we were good to go. Thankfully John decided we would be better coming back in the morning when we were fresh and the wind wasn’t. We let the office know and they were cheerful as ever. We began the weary walk back into town. Our way took us past the upholstery shop that had made the spray hood and cover in 2018 and it was open, so we called in on a whim. The couple were there, every bit as kind and calm as we remembered. Sadly neither their English, nor our Italian had changed much, but they remembered us and when I showed them the pictures of the spray hood and cover they remembered the work. They arranged to meet us at our berth at twelve the following day. This somehow lifted my spirits. We went back to the hotel and treated ourselves to a posh meal in their terrace restaurant overlooking the sea. As the evening wore on it became a mite chilly, but was balm to the soul nonetheless.

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Long Time Passing

First there was COVID and we could not travel to Italy. At the time Lyra was in the boatyard being polished, so we decided to give up our marina berth and leave her there on the hard. They were happy to accommodate her there and delighted we had paid them for the work. The were having to shut down themselves, due to Covid. Then 2021 had its own sliding scale of restrictions and by the time we could consider travelling it was August and too hot for us. Given the short days and more regular storms of autumn we decided to leave Lyra where she was. We thought this would save us money. Come this year we were ready to start sailing again. In a slight aside, I felt less ready than I would have wanted. Two years of not hauling myself up onto Lyra and jumping down onto the pontoon had left me much less limber. I practiced pulling myself up into Johnsey’s van and jumping back down onto the drive. I improved, but it was not elegant. Lara suggested I needed to practice jumping out of the van onto the grass as Johnsey drove slowly down the drive. I could see the value in this, but decided I would rather save injuring myself till I had to. As a result Lara agreed to accompany us to help, even though she hates the start of season cleaning.

The marina said we could have our old berth at nearly the same rates. Perfect. The boatyard kept ignoring John’s calls and putting us off in their e-mails. April turned into May and finally John booked the three of us to fly out and made reservations for two nights in a hotel in Castellemare. He e-mailed the boatyard accordingly. Silence. Two days before we were due to fly came an e-mail asking if we had authorised the removal of our navigation equipment. We had not. There followed an exchange of e-mails. Various things had been stolen, if we could go on the boat and check what was missing when we were in Italy that would be helpful. Their insurance would pay for everything. John contacted our insurance. The hotel could not put us up longer than we had booked, the season was starting. John trawled the internet and found a hotel on Ischia we could book into for a week.

There was a meeting between all interested parties. John and I took a taxi down to the boatyard. There were three people from the yard, their insurance man, our insurance man with a woman to translate, John and myself. We sat round a board table and everyone was very pleasant. Our insurance seemed pleased that their insurance had offered to pay. We set out to go and look at Lyra. They all stood and had espresso shots by the machine on the way out. I could not have swallowed it, though the smell was great. We all trailed across the hot, virtually empty yards. John spotted Lyra’s mast. She was in a remote corner, dusty with her cover gaping open, huge out of the water, her deck high above our heads. We all stood around while one of the boatyard suits went for a ladder. We waited longer while a very dusty workman brought a massive ladder and resets it alongside. After some discussion he brought it round to the rear. The translator expressed horror and announced she would not be climbing the ladder. Despite my lack of practice I was not going to stay behind to keep company with her. I left my handbag with her and followed John and the men up. There were gaping holes in Lyra’s panelling where the screens had been. The inside was dry and our books were all bagged up, our personal belongings as we had left them. I gathered hats and our walking sandals and put them into my beach basket. I felt empty and John was clearly shocked. He had done all the talking with the various men. We climbed back down. Going over the top was not much fun, but one of the men carried the basket for me. We trailed back across the yard and into the meeting room, where John and I sat with the oldest of the boatyard men and everyone else chattered round the computer in the next office. Eventually they emerged triumphant with a piece of paper. I had a strong recollection of how cheated I felt as a child when the Wizard of Oz solved all the characters problems with certificates and bullshit. It was an agreement, a catalogue of what was missing and the boatyard’s commitment to replace it. There were six copies and we were all to sign all of them. This we did, passing the papers round in a spirit of conviviality. I asked when this would happen (actually I just asked when). This put a bit of a damper on things. It was all very difficult, the war in Ukraine causing a shortage of computer chips etc, etc. Our insurers suggested if we could find a supplier we should forward this information to the boatyard. They both looked us in the eye as the woman said this. The meeting broke up in high spirits. We shook hands with everyone and John put our copy of the agreement in his bag. The two of us walked the long road back into town. Half way back we stopped to change into the walking sandals I had liberated from Lyra. It was a low point.

The high point was our week in Ischia with Lara. The hotel was on the far end of the island, gracious and relaxing. There was a turtle pool outside the lobby a lovely outdoor swimming pool, indoor spa pools and a dedicated stretch of beach. We had a proper holiday, if not the one we had anticipated.

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Fun in Sorrento

Last time we passed through Sorrento on our way back from Capri it was grey and raining and we hurried through to the train station heads down. Today the sun scorched your eyeballs out. Heat fell from above only to bounce back from the pavements. The tour groups trouping along the streets, each following a piper of the furled umbrella held aloft, looked disconsolate. American voices sounded across the thronged mediaeval passages, holding up tablecloths for their friends along the street to comment on and coming out of ‘Nico and Friends’ with bulging glossy carriers. We headed to the cliff top, where the lift opens and had beers in the café there in spite of the hiked tourist prices just to have a sea breeze blow over us. Then we bought cones from their gelateria, which takes its’ money by machine; John fed a note in and the change splashed out the bottom, whilst the girl who had served our ices looked on amused. We found a tucked away bench in the shade of the little garden to scoff them before they dripped away. The white roses have finished their first spectacular flush, but there is promise of more to come and the pastel pink and yellow tone prettily with the ice creams.. After scraping sticky fingers clean on the tiny paper serviettes we set off bravely back through the narrow streets to book a table for dinner. The would be charmer of the street-side restaurant heading into the labyrinth tried yet again to tempt us in, ‘for coffee, glass of Prosecco, spaghetti vongole, pizza, please-a Senorina,’ handing me my fifth post card of the season, ‘for later perhaps?’ After three years I think I’m beginning to look familiar to him and not in an encouraging way, his fervour is noticeably dwindling. Instead we booked in to O’ Parrucchiano, walking in from the street through the tiers of empty set tables in the marble cool, past the ‘Restaurant open upstairs’ notices and up into the greenhouse structure of the garden proper; also empty at this time, save for an elderly lady folding napkins and the boss lady doing paperwork. She took our booking briskly and dismissed us with a see you later. This lady does not need to coax. Still she bade us a pleasant good evening when we came back that night at eight and a young woman led us to a table at the edge of the garden. The impatiens are awash with clashing colours and the lemon trees heavy with fruit; the cobweb of fairy lights and the wedding cake tiers of citronella burners all worked their magic. The menu had been shortened to a two- page laminate. Even more sadly the ham and broad bean pasta was not on it. We hope this is just for the summer season. There was still an abundance of choice and we shared the homemade Scialetti pasta with a selection plate of vegetables, unusual and delicious as ever. The peaches are still out of season, so John had strawberries and ice cream, while I had a measure of Cointreau poured over my vanilla ice, a very good measure at that, enough to make coffee necessary as well as desirable. We went out through the garden and John took a picture back into the fairyland, capturing its enchantment. Then it was out into the supermarket car park and home through the quiet streets,

On the second day of our visit we made straight for the Lido, this time to Leonelli’s beach, the middle one, which had looked less hectic from the cliff top. Not that any of them were busy first thing on a Monday morning. We picked out a couple of loungers and a parasol on the sea wall, not too close to the steps into the water and settled down to sunbathe and read. We left the parasol down to begin with, there was a nice breeze from the sea, and at one point a startling spray as the wake from an errant ferry hit the rocks below. After an hour or so we ventured down the metal steps into the artificial lagoon, a bit breathtaking at first, but then wonderfully cool. The day passed quickly and suddenly we were both ravenous and shared a pizza, brought out to our now shaded loungers with a couple of cold beers. It had all the greedy pleasure of eating good fish and chips from newspaper. Afterwards we lay back and left it a while before our next swim, though we stayed all afternoon and had our moneys worth.

On the last full day we headed to the art gallery, Sorrento Fondazione, to see the Matisse exhibition in the cool of the air conditioning. It was mainly framed monochrome book pages and did not really set the heart alight. On our way out we went down to the basement to look at a collection of music boxes or carillons donated to the museum by Enrico Salerno. We were looking at the first room of instruments, all brass and polished inlay, but could hear one playing from the next room. We looked in and were beckoned across by Mario, forever friend of the late Enrico, a Geppetto like old gentleman who had hand crafted many of the boxes. He showed us the marquetry tools and photographs of himself using them as a young man with good eyesight. He brought the collection to life, with a commentary in broken English, touring the display setting the various discs and cylindars going and playing music from Evita to Mozart by way of Verdi, whose Hebrew slaves kept coming back on and needed a stern talking to and a sliver of plastic in their mechanism. The purest, most reverberant sound came from a large wooden box Mario himself had made in the sixties, with a German mechanism and a robust large copper disc. It played Lara’s theme and it was so beautiful I was nearly undone. As people came and went he took them on a repeat circuit, playing the same boxes and making the same remarks, like one of his mechanisms. We thanked him and left as he came to the box we had started with. Next we investigated the gardens of the museum, which have elements of a folk museum about them and grow increasingly wild and more interesting the further you explore.

After the museum we crossed into Marina Grande, the picturesque little harbour of the second smaller cove. We sat at Nonna Emilia’s tables along the harbour wall and had beer and Aperol Spritze at reasonable prices followed by sandwiches of epic proportion, watching life go by. It was mainly a procession of tourists and the odd bit of drama from dogs and cats. The floating red submarine bounced in on the swell up to the dock to disgorge its’ queasy looking passengers and set out again riding the ocean wave. I think a conventional glass bottomed boat might be more stable in the sea and less claustrophobic. The fisherman looked upon it with flinty eyes. The heat of the day was passing and we headed back to base. Back to Stabia tomorrow and hopefully to a final Bimini fitting.






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Return to Stabia

Home again next day, with the Bay wreathed in mist as it had been on our first crossing. We had the most successful two-person approach to the pontoon yet and celebrated with lunch at the Captain’s Cabin.

We had an early morning appointment with the Bimini man, who came promptly at nine with his son and took the old Bimini away. This was not good news on two counts, the first being it left us with no shade above deck and the second that we worried he might just copy the old Bimini, without our shoddy but necessary alterations. We decided to keep faith in the man, who is coming to make a fitting on Saturday, and set about fashioning a boom tent from the side panels of the Bimini. It was a bit Heath Robinson, but it did the trick. It was still there when we came back from the little shop with ships stores and we augmented our curb appeal with a couple of loads of washing strung across the fore-deck.

After our day of chores we relaxed by the pool for the day. There was just us, a few Italian mums with very small children and a group of workmen building a narrow stage in a corner. Later that evening they were showing an opera performance. We enjoyed it twice from the boat, once a quiet run through at tea time and then the full volume after dark. Unfortunately we lost some of the second rendition as a chap on a neighbouring boat inflated a large rubber ring with a pneumatic pump. The worst of it was the thing and gone down again by next day, but perhaps it was a test to check it was ok for his grandchildren. Perhaps this was the Italian form of risk assessment.

John decided we could not possibly sail to Amalfi with no Bimini. I mentioned the fact we had manage to travel the length of Portugal and across much of Spain in just such a manner, but apparently that was not the same as we had a Bimini when we stopped. I indicated the glories of our present patchwork arrangements, but he just shook his head. I don’t think he wanted the Coppola brothers to laugh at us. However we could go the shorter distance to Sorrento and who could possibly argue against Sorrento.







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The Beach

John had done some research online and the beaches were mainly run by concessions, which rented out loungers etc for the day, so we set out with just our towels and various things to read. We went through the streets, over the saddle and down to the largest of the beaches, Serapo. The sand was covered by various arrays of parasols, each one flanked by a pair of loungers with a folding chair propped between. We paid at the desk and followed a young man out into the matrix to our spot, half way to the sea. The ranks of beach furniture started off orderly as soldiers on parade, but gradually frayed along the seams as beds were pulled into or out of the shade and chairs were borrowed from other stations. Groups of young folk and large families crowded round each parasol, with all the paraphernalia of a day at the beach.

After letting laying claim to our own space we ventured down to the sea. The beach sloped very gradually, small waves rolled in taking our breath as cold water claimed fresh inches of flesh. It took a while to wade out to a swimmable depth, in my case on tiptoe, but once in the water was glorious. Looking back to shore the beach was dark with bodies as far as the eye could see, the shallow water thronged with paddlers and ball throwers, but out chest deep there were few fellow swimmers. Below us passed shoals of fish, unconcerned by the human invaders. After a while it became chill, so we retired to base and pulled the loungers into the sun to dry off, then it was back to the shade and our books. We repeated the process several times, at one point buying a couple of cold beers from the kiosk. It became clear that the sand had reached scorching point. Teenagers that had been strolling back and forth to the sea were suddenly skipping past at a bouncy trot and mums were jogging uncomfortably carrying their children. We discussed whether or not to venture down for another swim, the wisdom of taking our shoes or just making a dash for it. In the end we lay back down and watched the antics of the family next to us. They were sprawled about the two parasols immediately on the seaward side of us. There were two women, possibly sisters, a tall man, a couple of teenagers girls and three smaller children all taking turns to wear a straw trilby hat.  At first it was on the head of the little girl over her plaits, she looked very sweet. All was peace, the adults and teens sunbathing, the three children off with buckets and spades. Then the oldest boy arrived back wearing the hat. His mum erupted from her lounger, gave him a death stare and strode down to the sea barefoot, but oblivious of pain. She came back with a small child squirming on either side, plonked them in the middle of the camp and tore a brief strip off the older lad, who was already in a pre-emptive sulk, before marched back to the shore. She returned with a fistful of spades, full buckets and a watering can, which splashed much their contents as she strode. The children were to stay where she could see them. She lay back down. Dad was dispensed back to the sea to refill the buckets and can. He shambled down with the weary gate of a man, who understood this was now going to be the shape of his afternoon. He wore his flip-flops and the hat. All was peace till the moment when the smallest boy, naturally wearing the hat, stepped a little way away from the loungers, pulled down his trunks and let forth an impressive arch of wee, spattering the sand some distance away. He pulled up his trunks and sat back down happily. The grown ups all looked at one another and set the small girl the task of watering over the top with her can. She sprinkled a dainty pattern round that of her brother. People instinctively avoided the area on their rush to the sea. We finally decide to go for it and prudently passed on the other side, hugging the shade from the next row of parasols and then making a dash for it. I found the worst thing was the hot sand landing on top of my toes and was glad to stand with my feet in the cool water. It did not make wading further in any easier, but the swim was very refreshing. By the time we finished our swim the family were in the throws of packing up and setting off home. We drying off in the ensuing quiet and then made our own way back.

That evening we ate out in the square by the funfair, watching a terrifying ride where youths goaded each other to push flying chairs higher and higher until one of them managed to catch a bunch of streamers hung from a buoy some distance away.There is no Italian phrase for risk assessment..







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Exploring the Citadel

Today the newer part of Gaeta straddles the low saddle of land either side of a high rugged peninsula, which was the original Roman stronghold around which a mediaeval town grew. It was one of the Mediterranean’s maritime republics and has passed through various hands over the centuries. Some of the old town still stands, crumbling round the fortress and meandering along the arc of the harbour, but much was destroyed or rendered unsafe by bombing in the war, I think by the Allies, though they are too tactful to say. Pragmatically the ruins were left to sort themselves out and new building started on the low land between the harbour on one coast and the beaches on the other. When we stopped here three years ago John’s knee was very painful, so our exploring was limited to staying on the flat, following the sea front in both directions. This visit we decided to climb up into the old town proper and across through the new to the opposite coast.

First the old town, we set out after breakfast retracing our steps of yesteryear along the sea front into town, further than I had remembered. John suggested we cross the road to browse a ribbon of street market stalls; an array of antique furniture and mirrors, second hand books, medals, tools and home made jewellery, mostly junk, which was just as well. John’s idea of browsing is to walk at his normal pace past the stalls, with the occasional sideways glance. When the stalls petered out we crossed back to the landward side of the road in time for a coach to pull up and disgorge a large party of elderly tourists, who ambled frustratingly along in front of us before turning in at the first square and heading into the large church, the SS. Annunziata, in which there is a celebrated Golden Chapel. Rather than tag on behind a shuffling tour we decided to leave that for now and carry on up to the prominent Cathedral on the hill. It took a couple of goes to find the right passage up and it was quiet a pull, to arrive at a magnificent set of steps up to the front entrance, which were railed off by closed metal gates. A notice on these gates suggested the Cathedral should be open, it being Saturday. A crumbling weed choked stone stairway zigzagged unconvincingly up next to the immaculate gated steps. We decided it was worth a try and set off up, to be rewarded by arriving at the road leading into an open area in front of the Cathedral with magnificent views over the port.


The Cathedral entrance was dolled up for a wedding, with a long white carpet extending out from the nave, down the front steps between four white polystyrene urns. The flower arrangements for these urns were lurking on the floor in the cool of the interior. Obviously the wedding party was not due yet, so we followed a trickle of visitors skirting the immaculate carpet and exploring the soaring interior. There were other flower arrangements, magnificent mounds of blush pink roses and white hydrangeas in taller white urns, a white swathed alter and in a corner a violin and organ rehearsing the bridal music, whilst a smartly dressed woman filmed them on her phone. Other tourists were wandering about taking pictures, but we felt intrusive and crept away. Back outside in the heat we turned to road. One way led back down into the town and the other receded into a track unsuitable for vehicles apart from access. We headed up that. It climbed through scrub and wildflowers with enough shade to make the helter-skelter trail bearable. At each hairpin bend to sea we were rewarded by breathtaking views across the town and over the edge. At each turn inland was a building of some kind, usually large and old behind a high wall, but one turn came to shanty arrangement, with a small pen containing goats and a white horse. There was a shack with two men stood talking in a doorway across which was strung a half skinned rabbit. The man on the inside held a large table knife. Shades of Deliverance, we passed swiftly by. Our passage disturbed the butterflies; groups of sulphurous yellow ones rising like naughty petals from the gorse, tiny crazy white ones, jerky with panic and a single larger languid individual, the colour of crème de menthe, exquisitely veined. I failed to capture any of them on my phone camera. There was a hum of insects and the occasional fragment of conversation between other walkers hidden in turns of the zigzag path. There were several false summits, at one we came to the start, start mind you, of a fitness trail. Finally we reached the top and the only view was of a large water tower and the top of the lighthouse, where a dog barked manically at us. We sat on a bench and ignored it. It seemed prudent to circumnavigate the water tower just in case it was blocking a magnificent panoramic vista, but it wasn’t. There was a different path down though, so to avoid disturbing the rabid hound again we took that and came out at the end of the fitness trail, from where we could see the white head of a statue, which turned out to be a Madonna and child looking out south over the town, so we did have a panorama in the direction we had come. There was Lyra far below in the marina, the town laid out like a model and the mountains to the south. We retraced our steps back down and this time there were no signs of other people. Back at the Cathedral we followed the road back down into town, where all was quiet. The restaurants and bars in the square were closed, hunkered down under slightly collapsed umbrellas. Gasping, we stopped for a drink at a bar on the corner by the port, where the toilet had a Roman column preserved in a corner. We went back to Hermes bar and had a late lunch of tiella, the local pie. Today’s was egg and zucchini and was most delicious.

The number one restaurant in Gaeta is the pizza bar at the start of the mediaeval street behind the sea front. There always queues in the early evening with people staggering away under a pile of pizza boxes or sat on a bench sharing large ovals of pizza. We looked in past the throng at the door at the start of our evening promenade and saw a melee of folk shouting and gesticulating over a glass counter full of toppings and did not have the nerve to attempt an order. After strolling the length of the old street and coming back along the front we headed up into the new town and found a small brown restaurant called the Cellar Door on the edge of a housing estate. They could give us a table till 9.30, which suited us. There were lots of Italian families with small children, which we took to be the early sitting. The menu specialised in steaks, but there were some interesting pasta dishes, John had ravioli stuffed with squash and ricotta in a tomato sauce I had mushroom linguini with truffle after we had shared an antipasti of cold cuts and cheeses. By nine the place was filling up, but still with families, small children, grannies, dogs, the lot. One small boy had eyes like saucers when he was served a steak like his Dad; another Dad looked bone tired swapping his ice cream for the third time. We had coffee and were all done before nine thirty, though we seemed the only people concerned. We walked back down to the port, where the benches were still full of pizza eaters.


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Sail! A Sail!

Our long trip to Gaeta turned out to be a glorious sail with the wind on our quarter. Five hours of pure pleasure, when we sat back and rode the wind letting the autopilot take the strain. I felt sorry when it came to an end and we furled the sails to motor in. We had planned to arrive well into the afternoon, but our speed under sail brought us in early and it was only just after two, rather close to lunchtime like our previous arrival in Gaeta, which had been somewhat stressful. John had forgotten, so I read excerpts of my blog entry to bring him up to speed. As it turned out this time was an entirely different experience. Our radio call was again answered promptly, but this time a marinera came out quickly in a rib and showed us to a much better situated berth for our size of boat. When John turned in there another marinera was on the pontoon waiting for us and the exchange of lines went very smoothly. By the time we had showered and changed the office was open, so we sorted out the paperwork on our way out to Hermes, the bar we remembered from our first visit. The beer was still most excellent. The marina now has its’ own yacht club restaurant so we had dinner there. We both started with prawn cocktails, served in a shallow bowl over a glass of luminous liquid our waiter said was Spritz. We could not decide whether or not we were supposed to drink it and decided not. John followed with a steak, I had pistachio crusted chicken and we shared fries and grilled vegetables. Then we wended our way back home to sit up on deck watching the lights reflected along the shore.


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