Most people who arrive in a new country don’t get the opportunity to meet a bunch of people and head out on a boat to explore the surrounding islands of Naples. That’s one thing the military always offers. Instant friends from around the world. Although I like to travel independently and have done so on occasion, I suppose I don’t always feel the absolute solitude most travelers always feel. I think sometimes that’s a good thing.

Leaving the dock in NaplesWhile out on Friday night, I met a guy who is friends with other officers who own a boat out here in Italy. They were planning on going out for their first trip of the season and he offered to take me with him, as his guest. I was SOO SOOO excited. I don’t think many people get to do something like this often so I was very happy to agree. We partied the night away and the next morning woke up to make it out in time for the boat to leave the station.

SailboatsAs we left the docks I waved to the sailboats all anchored in port. Pretty soon, as the summer creeps upon Italy and the surrounding area the oceans around Naples will be teaming with boats and tourists. There won’t be many boats at dock on the weekends and most days during the week. I smiled to be out enjoying the sunny day without all the company.

Fueling UpThe gas in Italy is extremely expensive. The other day when I was driving my coworkers car I got 25 liters of gas and it was 90 euros. In America 25 liters would be 6.6 gallons and 90 euros would cost $123.27. In a small car that didn’t even fill it up. Luckily, the military provides all members with gas coupons so we can buy gas for a reasonable price like in the states. We buy booklets of them monthly and that’s how we pay for gas out in town. On the boat it is no different. Before heading out for the day everyone threw in a couple of coupons and we filled up the boat. I unfortunately don’t have my car yet therefore I can’t buy the coupons but they let it slide… this time. 🙂

Boners Boat OwnersRight after fueling up, we popped the tops on a couple of brewskis and it was time to head out to the surrounding islands.

Relaxing on a boat

Right off the coast of one of the surrounding islands we dropped anchor and settled in for a lazy afternoon, listening to music, drinking beer, and playing Cards Against Humanity that I randomly brought! Great game if you don’t get easily offended.

Right off the coast here is a hidden hot spring if you know which area to swim too. 2 of the guys and myself decide to go check it out so we jumped into the chilling water and swam into  the coast where the hot spring was located. Talk about hot hot hot! Sometimes it would burn my feet the water would get so hot. It reminds me of Dante’s Peak the beginning scene when that couple is in the hot spring and the activity from the volcano boils them alive. Everyone made fun of me for bringing that up, but seriously!

Boating FriendsWhile out enjoying the day another boat guy American came out named Todd, everyone knows him apparently because he’s always out on the weekends in his boat. We brought them along side and his wife joined in on our game and she even almost won.

After a couple of hours of lounging and a chilly swim back to the boat from the hot spring it was time to be on our way. There were small treats on the boat from the 2 wives who are very good at planning a day trip, but we were all getting a little hungry so we decided to drive into Ischia.

Castle in IschiaThe thing is, although I thought I was living an extravagant life, anyone can rent a boat on the weekends and come out to these islands or take the ferry from the port in Naples. It’s quite easy actually. BUT, if you rent the boat they only give you enough gas to go out so far and come back at the end of the day. Only the big expensive yachts and the small boats that can refuel at the surrounding islands like we were on can go farther out. If you head to the back side of Ischia then you’ll see this castle on the cliffs above. 

IchiaAs you turn the corner into the small bay there is an expensive boating town where many of the yachts were posted. We were just stopping for dinner so we tied up alongside all those yachts in our small boat and joined the crowd, acting like we were part of a yacht club, why not?

Beach on IschiaThere’s a small beach here as you come into the bay area. A little farther down there are umbrellas and lawn chairs set up, I’m sure it would be a great way to spend your day in the hot summer time. There are also hotels over on this side of the island so you can spend the night or a couple of days if you’d like.

Beautiful IschiaA small town where we stopped for dinner on the island of Ischia.

Resturaunt full of potteryThe restaurant we stopped at makes lots of pottery and before we left I stopped to buy a chicken pitcher which are well-known in Italy and as you can see from here, there are many other options. Anything hanging from the ceiling is for sale.

MusselsItalians eat a meal for many hours. sometimes with all the courses one meal could take a whole day. We started off with anti-pasti but they brought so much food from the beginning, we could barely eat it all and we couldn’t even move onto the main course. One of the antipasti’s they brought was a bowl full of steamed mussels. Everyone agreed that during the summertime they are to die for, although I thought they were quite delicious now they told me it was still too early in the season for good mussel. I took their word for it.

Bundled up baby on a boatAfter finishing up dinner it was time to head back in the boat and the temperature was dropping so we had to bundle up the baby. Who wouldn’t want to be him right now?

Baby and mommaAnd don’t forget his life vest. He’s only 3 months!

Back of Ischia at SunsetWe said goodbye to Ischia as the sun was setting with “I’m on a Boat” by the Lonely Island. As we headed back to the dock there was a firework display. Although fireworks are very common in Italy (they never miss an excuse to have fireworks) it was a pleasant end to a mind-boggling day out speeding around Italian islands. I’m so grateful for the unique experiences that sometimes pop up out of nowhere, they normally end up being the most unexpected fun. Thanks guys for taking me out on the boat today and for showing me some truly beautiful places!

This article appeared first on Dynamic Soarer