We arrived at the Naples docks with rather a lot of luggage, including a big box of my most treasured toys. I don't remember exactly how we found a room to stay in, well away from the docks in a poorish part of Naples where open sewers still ran down the middle of some streets, but Mario [surname misplaced; an Italian from the prisoner-of-war camp mentioned earlier] surely was the broker. The docklands were also where industrial-scale coffee roasters operated, quite overwhelming any tidewater smells. We didn't spend long in Naples, as the option to live on the Island of Capri for the same rent was not to be resisted. We did spend long enough for the "Italia" to make another round trip, and 'our' waiter was particularly delighted to see us again when we visited the ship.
Capri post-WWII was a very active tourist destination, as it had been for some while before the war as well. However, thanks to 'connections' we were able to rent a large ground-floor room in a house where the owner's family had retreated to the 'lower level'. Their space wasn't exactly a basement, since the house was built into a slope---not much of Capri's surface is flat---but it did reflect the pinched income of a family headed by a maritime artist. As I remember the 'art' in question was fairly good, by representational standards, though repetitive so as to crank out enough oil canvasses of beaches and waves to both cover the cost of materials and support a household. Always assuming a sufficiency of tourists with tastes and purses matched to the 'product', of course. There was a son in the house of an age for me to play with, and another American Mike in the neighborhood to sometimes avoid and sometimes accept. My Mother's journals say fairly harsh things about his mother. To keep my schooling from falling hopelessly behind, Mother would occasionally hire other cash-strapped anglophone tourists as tutors; there are a few bits clipped from my workbooks in her journals.
The ferry between Naples and Capri was only a large motor launch with a long central cabin and a roofed but open deck around it. We made several trips, and I was seasick on every one until I learned to fasten my eyes on the distant but static shores of the Bay of Naples, and on Vesuvius when that was visible. At one point we visited Pompeii, where I admired the surviving murals and mosaics---and clearly remember the room displaying casts made from the cavities left by people's bodies where the ash fall overwhelmed them.
Eventually we had visited the 'Blue Grotto' and all the other sights that Capri offers, and left to see points north in Italy. We never did tour the dry, poor heel and toe of the boot---much less cross over to Sicily. Rome was impressive, if expensive thanks to swarms of tourists, and the ruins of its ancient port at Ostia were even more interesting than the Roman remains in Rome itself. I rather preferred Milan. There, the youth hostel occupied a courtyard in what had been a castle---and I was that much closer to Turin, where the artists who drew the 'Capitan Miki' comics were based. After several attempts I finally got to spend an afternoon at their studio and watch the actual drawing and inking of a series of panels, and got to show off some of my drawings as well.
We left for a quick turn through Innsbruck, Austria, but came back through Italy by way of Venice and Florence to make our way (mostly by hitch-hiking) through Switzerland to Germany. Our destination lay just southwest of Frankfurt-am-Main in the town of Mörfelden, mentioned earlier as the home place of my Uncle Bobby's German wife. There we were welcomed abundantly by the Dickhaut (unfortunate surname: it translates as "thick-skin") household, fed to inflation and taken on many drives through the nearby towns and countryside.
[to be continued]