A summers chronicle when Champagne expert Richard Juhlin went back to the island of Iscia & contemplates about the sun, the people, the landscape & an island.
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At the end of the summer, I took Ragni and my sun- and beach-loving young children Leo and Nora on our third holiday to Ischia. A favorite that we visited for the first time in 2018 and again last year, so it sounds strange that I, the great explorer globetrotter, would go there again?
In contrast to my Norwegian, somewhat rootless wife, I am a deeply homesick and rooted security addict Lidingöbo (my home island) since birth, but instead I almost always prefer to discover new places and experiences on my travels, unlike my better half. Since I am now starting the summer with a discovery trip with my friend Henrik and our big children, I have no problem with letting Ragni and the toddlers choose a fantastic recurring sun and beach holiday in a family environment.
They always choose Ischia! Green Ischia an island highly esteemed by the Italians, but unknown to most other nationalities. A little strange considering that the island is strongly reminiscent of the world-famous Capri and is only two miles away. This is where the Neapolitans go when they want to get away from their vibrantly beautiful, but noisy city at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.
Capri is perhaps even more beautiful with its even more dramatic cliffs and even more breathtaking views, but the wonderful gem is unfortunately overpopulated with tourists and all that that entails in high season. The steeply sloping volcanic island of Ischia with its grandiose height of almost 800 meters is about twice the size of Capri and considerably more genuine and, in my eyes, more charming with a suffocated air of history and Dolce Vita romance from the 50s when the movie stars gathered in clusters on the newly opened luxury hotel Regina Isabella in Lecco Ameno. The pace is slower and the people radiate a warmth that is like balm for the soul for us freezing northerners. Speaking of heat, it is a bit exciting to note that despite alarmist headlines at home regarding the terrible heat wave around the Mediterranean, we only complained about the temperature on one occasion during three weeks in Greece and Italy. Most of the time it was 30-32 degrees with a cooling breeze and the only complaint came from my son Henrik who got a bit frozen one evening in Meteora, Greece.
However, the island is not completely tourist-free. The island has just now received a boost through the film adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s, “My amazing girlfriend”, which is partly set here. Most of the very largest luxury yachts ply their regular route each summer starting in Ravello, Amalfi, Positano, Nerano, Il Faraglione off Capri before passing Ischia on their way to Liguria with Cinque Terre and Portofino to finally reach the French Riviera. This summer was not so dangerously affected by corona restrictions, but the boats were fewer mostly thanks to the absence of Russian oligarchs. Instead, the beautiful ship that was the filming base for the new big-budget Netfix series Kaos with several Hollywood stars in the lead roles was right outside the hotel where they stayed with us. Ragni ran into the world-famous and ultra-charismatic Jurassic Park icon Jeff Goldblum at the gym and for a couple of days we hung out and swam together around the caves in our clear blue Mediterranean bay.