Capri: Volare

As expected, our day of travelling from Rome to Capri was pretty manic.  It was smooth sailing from Rome (the train was only 5 minutes retardo), but arriving at Naples Central Station was an absolute baptism by fire.  In all of our travels, we have never been anywhere as totally out of control.  It was hot, dirty, loud and disorienting.  We tried our best to find the bus to the port, Molo Beverello, but eventually gave up and got a taxi, even though we knew we were paying over the odds.  Our driver was an absolutely lunatic, who wove in and out of traffic, created lanes where there weren’t any and abused other drivers.  He proudly told us that his nickname was Speedy Gonzales.

By the time Speedy dumped us on the side of the road at the port, we were already feeling a bit done in.  Things didn’t get much better from there.   Molo Beverello was heaving with tourists all looking to make their way to the Amalfi Coast and all totally bamboozled by the lack of signage, or guidance about what ferry to catch and when.  Getting on the ferry was like being in a moshpit – Italians don’t seem to have as much respect for the concept of an orderly queue as we do, and they will blatantly push in, or skip the line and run over your feet with their wheelie luggage while they do it.  In the end everybody managed to get onboard, and we spent the next hour sitting in the stifling boat counting the drips of sweat running down our back.

Upon arriving on the island of Capri, it was pretty evident that the situation wasn’t going to improve.  The hundreds of passengers who got off the ferry were all vying to get on the same bus or cable car to the villages of Capri and Anacapri.  We conceded defeat at this point and paid to get a taxi to our BnB.  It was actually a lot of fun – the taxis here are cute little jeeps and utes with open, or canvas tops, so you can take in the views as you wind your way up the tiny streets.  The streets here are narrower than anywhere else we have been – they are barely wide enough for two scooters to pass by each other.  Despite that, minibuses run up and down them continuously and the drivers are absolute pros at navigating the gaps.  They have the kind of spatial awareness I can only dream of.

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The whole day of travel was worth it when we arrived at our accommodation in Anacapri.  We stayed at a BnB run by Raffaella and her family.  Our room was gorgeous and overlooked the garden and vegetable patch that Raffaella’s Dad looks after, and the sea.  The view in the evenings was especially beautiful.

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Once she had got us settled into our room Raffaella instructed us to go for a swim.  It cracks me up how sometimes people who have English as a second language speak in commands, rather than suggestions – “you will go for a swim now, you will enjoy it, you will be refreshed”.  We did as we were told and caught a bus down to the local “beach”.  I say “beach”, because the beach turned out to be a rocky outcrop and cement pad with a couple of ladders into the water.  Campbell declared this false advertising and opted not to swim, but I decided to muck in with the locals and have a dip.  The water was so warm and, when you weren’t worried about waves smashing you into the rocks, it was pretty relaxing too.

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We spent yesterday exploring the island a bit more.  First stop was Marina Grande to take a boat trip around the island.  This is pretty much the most popular thing for visitors to Capri to do.  We boarded our boat and quickly realised that we were sharing our trip with quite possibly the vainest woman in the whole world.  After 30 minutes of having her clamber all over the boat in her bikini with her boobs, butt, lips (enormous trout pout lips) and her fricken selfie stick in everyone’s faces, we called time and told her to put the bloody thing away.  Judging by the look she gave us, we might as well have asked her to give us her first-born child, which I think she might have done provided someone took a flattering photo of her making the exchange.

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The boat trip was a lot more enjoyable after our little chat, and everybody could take in the beautiful scenery of the island and ogle the amazing super yachts and launches parked up at various points around the island.  Today, Bill Gates’ super yacht was parked in one of the bays.  You can see from the picture that it absolutely dwarfed the other boats (some of which were massive themselves) – it had several little boats onboard, as well as 2 helipads.  The owner of Victoria’s Secret also had his boat in the harbour.  There are some seriously cashed up people who visit here, and the village of Capri really caters for them – there is a shopping street full of high-end designers, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, luxury jewellers, expensive restaurants etc and the people walking around certainly give the impression that money isn’t an issue.

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The village we stayed in, Anacapri, was a lot quieter and more low-key.  There were far less tourists, we could walk everywhere, everybody was really friendly and we really liked it.    It was particularly nice in the evenings when the local families would pile into the main square to chat, have a drink, kick a ball around, or play cards.

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We spent our last few hours this morning exploring our local sights.  First stop was the Blue Grotto, which is possibly Capri’s most famous tourist attraction.  You get taken into the Blue Grotto by charming Italian men in little row boats that seat 4.  The opening to the Grotto is only a few feet tall, so you have to lie right back while your captain catapults you through using chains attached to the opening.  Once inside, the captain treats you to a stirring rendition of “Volare” while you marvel at how beautiful the Grotto is.  There is a very specific science-geek reason for it (something about red light rays being filtered out), but essentially the water in the Grotto is the brightest, clearest blue you have ever seen.  It is stunning.  After a spin round the Grotto (you get about 5 minutes to enjoy it), we took the chairlift to the top of Mount Solaro.  The top of the mountain is almost 600m above sea level and gives panoramic views over Capri, the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast.

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After all of that, it was time to move on and catch the ferry to Positano.  Raffaella’s Dad (we never did catch his name) dropped our luggage down to the Port for us in his “Ferrari” – the most dinky little 3-wheeled, 1 seater truck.  Men here have no choice but to be confident with their masculinity.  The roads are simply not big enough for them drive cars that make up for any shortcomings they may have.

 

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Positano is absolutely beautiful, and we have a lovely wee apartment for the next 5 days.  We’re looking forward to some beach time and to coming away with butts that can crack walnuts – it’s approximately 1 billion steps from our house to central Positano and the beaches, and what goes down must, sadly, get itself back up.  It’s hard to complain with a view like this though.

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A&C

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