Island hopping holidays with kids ? And more precisely island hopping Italy with 2 kids under 4? What a funny idea, right?
A week and a full blast and immersion into the local pace & life, fruit and food shopping at the markets and small shops, dining and wining with the locals, celebrating with our friends gorgeous marriage, sailing, playing with the locals and picking up & brushing up on Italian.
No luxury hotels this time around, no kidsclubs and other convenient facilities, but blending into the islands life, beautiful and authentic.
In Procida on a couple of occasions we have been told we could pay later both our fruits (2 Euros) and our sailing boat (100 Euros!) – the kind of trust I have seen in my childhood.
In both Ischia and Procida locking doors seems rather optional. And in Procida, when by mistake I got into a local property rather than the hotel where the wedding was taking place, the owner greeted me and my 4 years old offering to show my child the swing in his court and the fruit.
The kids get genuinely so much attention. R & E have been spoilt and never frown upon when shouting (E got his last 2 teeth on this holiday so he spent quite a bit of time biting table corners, crunching plastic water bottles and shouting at us). R spent hours in Ischia playing with our host eldest son, ‘pesting’ him in the swimming pool, by the couch, by the football table and various toys. Speaking Italian seemed to be entirely optional; R has been determined to make his intentions known in French, Romanian and English – smartly picking up as much Italian as he could. 7 years difference also not a problem to him and I remain eternally grateful to a patient Vittorio who also seemed to enjoy the company of a funny almost 4 years old.
We indulged so much in local restaurants – lunch by the sea with the locals at Vivara and Da Girone in Procida. Quite few rules with kitchen opening up precisely 12:30 and closing 3pm, but the food is simply too good to get annoyed with their lack of flexibility for seating or hours. So we kept going back, enjoying delicious unpretentious seafood pasta, salads including the local lemon salad speciality, fresh fish and so on. In Ischia we also feasted on the local pasticceria specialities, arancini and Neapolitan panini included, pizza Margherita to be made in front of your eyes in 3 minutes and at an astonishing cost of 3 Euros.
With our lovely nanny coming along for the marriage to babysit the kids in the evening, we also managed 3 nights out by ourselves and with friends, so the delights and joys have been of all sorts and now exhaustion is completed.
Ready to be back to the office ‘sedentary’ life of 10 hours in Canary Wharf and 2 hours of solitary commuting, rather uninterrupted in my thoughts! After 7 days of sun and over 30 degrees our skins could also use a break, so bring on June grey London skies and the 18 degrees. Let’s see for how long though !