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August 11, 2010

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Airport to Ferry
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Buon giorno! We pick up where we left off last week, at the Naples airport in Italy! I'm en route to the island of Capri, but if that is too far or too expensive for you we also have a nice alternative with a story on an island much closer to home, Catalina. Just 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, it feels like it's a world away.

NAPOLI AIRPORT
My flight from London (LGW) to Naples (NAP) on British Airways was as smooth as could be, and when I cleared passport control the first thing I did was go into the men's bathroom to change into shorts-Italy was 20 degrees warmer and sunnier than England. I didn't have baggage to collect so I walked straight through customs to the arrivals area.



ATM
After hooking up with my driver (more on that in a second), I found a confusing ATM that offered only strange amounts of euros. I pulled out 210 euros (200 wasn't an option), and Bank of America (BofA) later stuck me with their $5 foreign bank fee. TIP: No matter who you bank with, it's always smart to check to see if your bank has any international partners so you can get the withdrawal fee(s) waived. Bank of America doesn't have an Italian partner, but their other ones are: Barclays (United Kingdom), BNP Paribas (France), China Construction Bank (China), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Santander Serfin (Mexico), Scotiabank (Canada), and Westpac (Australia and New Zealand).

GETTING TO THE FERRY
I've been to Capri/Ischia a few times, and the most nerve-racking part of my trip is always the ride from the airport or train station to the ferry. First of all, there are different ports (Molo Beverello or Mergellina), so you have to hope the driver will take you to the right one; there's the language barrier (though the Italian drivers are speaking more English these days); you wonder if they will take you the long way to make more euros; and finally, you have to deal with their driving skills. Outside of India, the drivers in Naples are the craziest I've ever seen. It's best to fasten your seat belt and close your eyes.

JACK THE DRIVER
Not too long ago, by the grace of God I just happened to receive an email from Jack Colonna, who owns a private-driver service in the Amalfi Coast area and offered me a free ride/tour in exchange for my writing about it. Not a problem, since I write about everything, the good and bad, no matter who is paying. Dealing with Jack really was painless, and he seemed to always have someone near the computer, as I never waited long for a response. We exchanged a couple of emails on flight times and expectations, and voilà: an English-speaking driver was waiting for me just outside of baggage claim with a brand-new van (my plans were last minute and Jack was already booked on a day tour).

PRICES
Since my seatmates were going to the same port, they hitched a ride for the 15-to-20-minute joyful journey. I haven't done any of Jack's private day tours, but I can't imagine they would be any different than his limo service, which was prompt and professional. FYI: From NAP or the train station to the port he charges 60 euros for 13 people. That price is between two and three times more than that of a regular taxi, but you'll get peace of mind. For those on a budget, not in a hurry, and looking for some adventure, there's Alibus shuttle service for just a few euros. Jack Colonna Private Driver Service, cell. 24/7: +393391718140, office: +393507344, email: info@jackthedriver.com.

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Copyright 2010 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip

 

NAP Airport

 

ATM Machine

 

Jack's Driver

 

Jack's Van

 

Seatmates

 

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