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August 18, 2010

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Moio della Civitella

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Buona Sera from Italy! Last week we left off from the beautiful island of Capri, and this go around we travel to a small village in the mountains near the Amalfi Coast and then on to Rome (by car) to check in to a beautiful boutique hotel. For those who want to get away in the opposite direction we have Lisa McElroy's family trip to Maui, and somewhere between Italy and Hawaii John Clayton explains how you can take a ride on a fully restored WWII merchant ship out of the Port of Los Angeles.

From Capri I jumped on a 50-minute ferry to Port Beverello in Naples. Taxis were all lined up and my driver probably ripped me off, charging me a flat rate of 15 euros to go a couple of miles (the trip took 12 minutes). Italy taxi tip: Always keep your carry-on next to you instead of putting it in the trunk, as they charge a fee for luggage in the boot (about 1 per bag).

RANDOM OBSERVATION: Driving through Naples I thought for a second there I wasn't in Italy, as the majority of the people we passed were either African or Sri Lankan.

The local train to Vallo della Lucania (Vallo) departs every hour or two; I made the 12:58. There's no first class or air-conditioning on these trains, but they are clean and very scenic. The ride took 1 hour and 46 minutes.

I was on my way to Vallo to visit my best friend Mike, who I grew up with in Connecticut. His family lives in Moio della Civitella (Moio), a small town (population less than 2,000) southeast of Naples that's 15 minutes from the Vallo train station. Moio is located in the Cilento region and its economy is supported entirely by agriculture (production of wine, olive oil, and chestnuts). You won't find any Africans, Asians, or tourists in these small villages-it's as Italian as you can get, which I love. Since there are no buses or trains you need to have a car, and the roads aren't that easy to figure out. Here's my story of my trip here two years ago. The big difference is that, sadly, Mike's father passed away in December, so there was a huge void in the house-and in the town, for that matter.

I spent my time there relaxing, laundry, catching up on work, and, what else? Eating, of course. That's what folks in Italy do best. I loved going into town to get the most reasonably priced food/treats. I bet you can't find pizza for 3.50 euros or 1-euro Cokes in restaurants in Italy's tourist areas. On top of that, two scoops of gelato cost just 1.50 euros. Paying these prices makes them all taste so much better (and in reality it they really are tastier and fresher).

We walked every day, picking wild berries and asparagus and filling up our water bottles for free with constantly flowing spring water. The only downside (if that's what you want to call it) of small towns like this is that not that many people speak English (they might understand but won't speak). Some people might not like hearing the church bells ring all night long, but I did, and I finally figured out that the first chime is for the time, so three rings would be 3 a.m. (or p.m.), and the second tone is for the minutes past the hour on the 15, so two rings would be half past the hour.

Mike and I were both flying back to the U.S. from Rome, so instead of getting up at 3 a.m. for an anxiety-filled drive we left a day early and spent the night in the city. We always do this-not only is it more relaxing, but who the heck doesn't love to hang out in Roma?

We left Moio at 8 a.m. and arrived just after noon. We made two stops along the way; the first was to get gas. FYI: Diesel is cheaper because it lasts longer and costs 1.24 euros, while regular gas was going for 1.39 euros. Keep in mind that's for liters, not gallons, so multiply those prices by four. That's right-now you can stop complaining about America's high prices of fuel.

Our second stop was to use the loo at the AutoGrill and, like all Italians, we also chose to stand in line to get a 90-eurocent shot of espresso. Somehow, even at rest stops in Italy the coffee is better than anywhere in America.

We hit slow traffic as we entered Rome, but it wasn't for too long, and dropping the car off at Avis at the central train terminal was fairly easy (just park at their sign outside the station and get the slow-moving agent behind the desk to check out the car).

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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




Ferry To Napoli




Taxis in Naples


Price to Train Station


Train To Vallo


Drive to Moio


Mike's House


Welcome Snack


Doing Laundry


View From Bedroom


Pizza From Acquaviva


Daily Walk




Local Beach


Italian Girls



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