9th to 10th July Portoferraio (Greg, Rob and Ben's excellent adventure)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Fri 10 Jul 2009 22:10
On 9th July Mark and Stacy were due to arrive.  Mark is Greg and my cousin from San Francisco who I had not seen since 1981 but who I had been assured by Greg had not changed in appearance since he was a teenager.  They live in Napa Valley, California where Mark is a plastic surgeon and Stacy a photographer.  Expecting the perfect clean-cut American couple we were worried about the state of the boat but cleaned it as best we could before taking the dinghy in to town for some lunch.
Mark and Stacy arrived by a cartoon covered Moby ferry ("Moby Love") from mainland Italy.  We were anchored across from the ferry terminal and were able to pick them up quite easily.  Despite not having seen Mark for 25 years I was able to spot him walking down the gangway - it must be the family resemblance.  Extraordinarily polite and bubbling with enthusiasm the two of them bounded on board (quite an achievement for Stacy who had her arm in a still following a diving accident).
In the evening we decided to go across to the town for something to eat.  With seven people to fit into the tender it was going to be quite a squeeze and first of many hair raising dingy boarding episodes with Greg lurching, drunken hippo like, on to the tender, each time threatening to knock at least one person over the side.
We went for a drink first and ate a restaurant called Lido, recommended by the waiter.  The food was first class, even including the plate of raw seafood that Greg ordered and then expressed surprise when the fish was not cooked.
The next day we decided to explore.  Mark and Stacy wanted to see the town but the rest of us wanted to see something of Elba.  Emma and I hired a tatty Fiat Punto and went for a leisurely drive to a village in the hills and had a pleasant lunch followed by a visit to Napoleon's villa.  Greg, Rob and Ben also hired a car but things did not go as well.  The hire company told Greg that the car needed to be refuelled but he immediately forgot this and so it was not long before they ran out of petrol.  Fortunately they were at the top of a hill at the time and were able to coast down the hill to a petrol station.  Then a knocking sound which they had been choosing to ignore suddenly got worse and the car then broke down - after waiting an hour for a replacement car to be delivered the closest they got to Napoleon's villa was the carpark.
Fortunately everyone did make it back to the boat that evening where Greg prepared some caipirinhas before we again went in to town for another superb meal at Libertaria restaurant.  This being Greg and Ben's last night - rather a large amount of alcohol was drunk.  Some 4 litres of local plonk plus a bottle of Limoncello - then Mark and Greg chose to share another bottle of wine on the boat before going to bed!