Saturday, April 4, 2009
THE ISLE OF CAPRI
Friday, April 3, 2009 Capri and the Blue Grotto
The sun was shinning and continued to bless us throughout the day with its glories rays! Everyone was up and out early as several of us headed for the train and Sorrento. There we walking to the Marina; the final several blocks were sets of stone stairs that took us down the side of a cliff to the boats that were waiting to carry us on another adventure. We joined the kids and purchased our tickets on the cheapest boat that goes out once at 9:25 am and returns at 6:15 pm. A long day but we were prepared. Four of the kids from the Hostel were also on the same trip and although we each went our separate ways we saw each other throughout the day.
As soon as we arrived, its less than an half an hour trip, we found the ticket booth for the smaller boats to the Blue Grotto. Had to wait about half an hour but we were soon loaded with a couple of school groups, one from England with junior high students; and a number of tourists that brought the number to at least one hundred I would guess. Our guide was great, speaking both in English and Italian, he continued to charm us with cleaver sayings about the sites along the shoreline as we headed towards the grotto.
There we took turns being loaded into small rowboats. Some times two people, mostly four people and with the kids they put six in at a time. Stopped in route to pay another fee we then had to lay down flat in the boat as we were pulled through the entrance to the cave when the water was just at the right height to allow us passage. The boatman used a chain affixed to the wall to pull us through. Once inside we made two trips around so that our eyes could adjust to the darkness. Our boatman serenaded us with Perry Como tunes as he rowed us around the inside of the cavern pointing our various features. The water was extremely clear and very blue in color because of the coral on the bottom. The daylight coming in through the opening and a few other small holes in the rocks gave it lighting. A very pretty and very expensive tourist attraction! But how can you go to Capri and not see the Blue Grotto!
After we’d all had our turn in the small boats, the captain continued on around the island to show us all of the sites at the various locations including the lighthouse, the green grotto (green coral) and the three large stones sitting upright in the water. The center one has an arched opening large enough for our boat to pass under and the cleaver Italian hoping to increase his tip at the end said that everyone had to kiss there favorite person on the tour! The school teacher climbed up to the top deck and much to the delight of the students planted one on the Italian as we passed under the arch!
A tiny beach was pointed out and he said it is only big enough for two people…very true…and that you went as two and returned as three. It took a minute but soon the kids were all giggling; remember these are junior high. He also pointed out Sophia Loren’s home on the cliff; I think she has homes in many areas as this is not the first one that I’ve been shown. The boat ride was over too soon and we headed back into the Marina for our next adventure.
We found the WC first and then the Funicola for the ride up to the town of Capri from the Marina. There we found the bus and took a hair raising ride up the hill to the town of Ana Capri. This is where the expensive shops such as Prada are located and fantastic views of the harbor and villages below. We located the chair lift that floats one to the top of the nineteen hundred foot Monte Solaro; never very far above the ground one genteelly slips along with the views getting better and better! We spent some time at the top for more photos; we could see many of the sites in the water far below that we’d seen on the boat trip and one could actually see the coral in the water from this height. Another gentle ride down as we ate our bananas and we had a surprise view of Tom and Sara from our Hostel as they were going up the chair lift.
Back in Ana Capri we walked to find a grocery store and in the process discovered a restaurant named “Buca de Bacco”; those who live in Orange County may recognized that as the name of a popular restaurant in Brea California. We stopped and talked for a few minutes with them. They said they were aware of the California one; but who knows….they may have just been trying to get us into the restaurant.
Soon we found a grocery store but it was closed per the clerk inside. We walked on a bit and then returned…still closed, she said. We stood there for a while and finally they asked if we needed water (in Italian)…we said “no, bread”. They said “pain”? And, they welcomed us into the store for that one items.
Walked around the shops and then found the Funicola for the ride to the Marina where we purchased our dessert: lemon gelato. Found two of our roommates stretched out on some benches napping as they’d also finished their activities. We finally made our way to the rocky beach to watch our junior high group frolicking in the water and then walked out on the pier where we found a stone bench against the sea wall and played some cards and watching and photographing a small jelly fish in the clear water off the pier.
Soon we saw Pat and Sara standing at the number five spot on the dock so we headed there after we’d finished our game. We soon realized it was six pm and no one had joined us in the queue to board the boat. We could see the boat in another location but we thought it was loading cars before coming over to get the passengers. We’d all seen the time chart that showed it at number five. Finally I decided to check things out and Pat was soon behind me. We talked to two old men and they told us we had to go over to the otherside of the dock. With ten minutes or less we motioned for Mary and Sara who came on the run and we all rushed to get to the boat before it left. We made it with minutes to spare; we were the last people to load on the boat I think!
Soon we were back in Sorrento and God bless her soul, Mary walked the whole way up the hill and to the train station. It’s a good thing we’re taking the day off tomorrow. By 8 pm we were tucked back into our Hostel and enjoyed another great five euro dinner before heading upstairs to some new roommates and a busy evening. It was nearly midnight before we turned off the lights and I think the last one in arrived at 6 am. So an interesting but restless night as I hear the door every time it opens.
Below is our day trip to Pompeii...I decided to make two separate posts for you to enjoy.