It was fun to seek out the same views that Ted had photographed over 60 years ago. Here, a postcard in his scrapbook, of the quaint piazzetta in Capri:
And a photo I took last month:
Marina Grande, Capri
Maybe this is where Mariah Carey buys her bed linen? I saw a few photos of her in restaurant display cases enjoying her Capri vacation.
We made arrangements in port for someone to transfer our luggage right to our hotel. There is a funicular that takes people up to town but the line up would have taken hours. We chose to walk the winding steps up through the houses to the piazzetta (where we enjoyed a cappuccino) and then a further 15 minutes uphill to our hotel. In hindsight, it would have been much more economical to hire a taxi for 15 Euro up to the town and then drag our suitcases up to the hotel...we were billed 45 Euro for the luggage transfer despite the message on our reservation that said "call the hotel when you arrive to make arrangements for luggage transfer". Lesson learned: always verify what's included! The morning we left the island, we let our bags on wheels pull us down the path to the piazzetta, where we hopped on the funicular to take us down into the port.
Shortly after checking into our lovely hotel Villa Sarah, we were off on our first walk! The villa is located above town, so we'd already done most of the climbing and had a lovely stroll along the narrow passageways that function as roads in the Capri neighbourhoods. The only vehicular traffic are one- or two-seater electric carts.
Our walk took us quickly out of the houses and into the forests on limestone cliffs high above the sea. We chose a popular tourist route out to the famous Arco Natural, a limestone arch on the east coast of the island. The route from the Arco continues along the coast with spectacular views before curving back into town from Faraglioni, the southeast tip of the island.
This remote home, Villa Malaparte, was built in 1938 for Italian writer Curzio Malaparte. Location, location, location!! Accessible by foot from the piazzetta, or by sea via treacherous stairs.
Faraglioni, where you can rent a lounge chair and recline on the concrete beach between the limestone stacks.
Looking west along the southern coast of Capri, Marina Piccola is center, at the base of the sheer cliff.
The following day was our only full day on the island, so we chose to hike the west coast from the Faro di Punta Carena lighthouse up to the famed Grotta Azzura along the Sentiero dei Fortnini (a path that takes you through three forts build by the British around 1800. The path is very exposed and rugged in places along the rocky coastline, but hikers are cleverly distracted by handpainted tile signs grouted into the rock every 150 m, or so. These tiles are bilingual Italian-English and define the local flora and fauna in the most poetic way possible, relating flower names and scents to the Greek Gods and their lovers.
The trail begins here, at a tiny day resort beside the lighthouse - we reached the trail head by bus from Capri town, via Anacapri.
Here, you see the exposed stairs. This section of trail was not for vertigo sufferers!
Check out this villa with enormous (empty) swimming pool. The property looked abandoned, but it could be the owners had just closed it for the winter season.
I'm a sucker for a great mailbox
Our 3-hour trek ended at the Grotta Azzura - and a remarkable scene. Several Instagram friends following our trip had suggested we visit this spot and even take a swim in the grotta (a cavern at sea level accessible by a very small hole that only a tiny rowboat can fit through when the waves subside). Arriving at the top of the cliff, we looked down to see this:
Numbered rowboat guys picking up people from tourist boats to take them into the Grotta once they had passed by the floating office (striped canopy) to pay their 13 Euros each. The oarsmen then row up to the entrance, where they instruct everyone to lie down and they wait for the right moment in the swell before grabbing a chain on the wall and pulling the boat through.
It was an overcast day, so we didn't really get to see the incredible glowing blue (azure) sea that people talk about, but it was a pretty fun thing to do. Once inside, the oarsmen break into song, thinking to increase their tips by creating a lovely feeling of romantica with the echoing strains of O Sole Mio. Ha! I mostly had a view of our oarsman's butt.
It was pitch black in there, so I couldn't make any setting adjustments on my Nikon. Sadly, this is all I've got for you from the inside!
I'll leave you with a few more shots from Capri. In reading Ted's memoirs and looking through scrap books before our trip, there were several snapshots of he and friends enjoying drinks at "Number Two". Well, it appears the club is still there, however it doesn't open until 1:00 a.m. so we didn't have a chance to check it out. We had fun finding the front door, though!
The view west to Faraglioni from Marina Piccola
An early morning shot of Capri town from the Funicular station patio
The main ferry jetty at Marina Grande, where we departed for Naples
My fabulous travel companion and husband of 20 years, on the ferry to begin our journey home.
Bye bye Capri!
I think I'll do one more post from the trip with some more shots from the Amalfi coast, including a couple of beach days and a visit to the Roman ruins of Herculaneum. All of my photos will be on Flickr, I just haven't made them public yet as I'd like to properly label everything first. I'll be back with more Italy next week!