Mediterranean Cruise — Capri

Iten Capri

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Capri was wet. It rained off and on all day except for a couple of outstanding photo opportunities. Even more than Taormina, Capri is “if you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it” territory. Shops that were high end in Taormina were middle of the road here. It’s been a resort since the days of the Roman Republic and inhabited since the Bronze Age at least. It used to be part of the mainland. It has two principal towns, Capri and Anacapri.

This was another place where we had to use local boats to get ashore. The operators were excellent at dodging the wakes of the high speed ferries that come and go here every twenty minutes or so. Capri is a hub for them.

Before we could tour the island we had to…oops, we were taken on a low visibility boat tour of the grottoes lining the cliff faces where they plunge into the water — you had to be there — wait, we were… I think. The low light and rain and fogged windows made it an experience to record, if not remember. After we jumped from the lurching boat to the lurching pontoon dock, we were ready to see something ashore we could latch our memories onto.

Here, was the first place the tour operator fumbled the ball. It wasn’t a game-changer, but it didn’t sit well when we were walked through the showers to a store to sample (as in “buy“) the limoncello-filled hard candies of a vendor some distance from the pick-up point. The buses were the mini variety and the windows were fogged from the passengers who had just completed their tour. Knee room came from pushing ones knees into the aisle. Once we got up into the switchbacks, we knew why they were mini-buses — it was a mini-road that would likely slide into the sea from the weight of a regular bus.

When we got to Anacapri, we were let off at a bus station where it became clear our buses were not our buses — just some commandeered by our tour guide before another guide could — apparently the norm here.

Because of the rain, the chair lift to the top of the island was closed. This turned out to be a good thing because we were all forced to tour the Axel Munthe villa — Villa San Michelle. It was beautiful and memorable, and we got to pat the Sphinx’s butt. Apparently, we had to do this to come back to Capri. So I wondered what we had to pat to be able to afford to come back. One of the most interesting features of this lovely place was, except for the sphinx, all the statuary, busts and carvings came from the harbor bottom and were brought to Munthe as thanks for his helping the island survive an epidemic.

The rain picked up as we were boarding the buses to careen back down to the upper portion (La Piazzetta) of the lower town. This detour of sorts was necessary so we could ride the funicolare back down to the waterfront where we got to wait for the local boats to show up. This cog rail was modern, clean and fast.

Boat Schedule? What schedule?” Seems the boat operators interpreted every thirty minutes a bit broadly — as in, whenever. So we were semi-dragooned by a wharf-side waiter when we dawdled too long (~5 seconds) near his restaurant and ended up sampling the local wine and snacking on almost indescribable (as in good) potato snacks with the texture of soft pumice but without the glass fragments. (We have since found their equivalent in the U.S.)

The day ashore was capped off by heavy lightning as we left. It crackled about the ship such that little thunder was heard. Fitting somehow. Many folks missed it as they were preparing for the Captain’s Dinner and the talent show that followed.

Please enjoy the photos. Photos without captions don’t really need them. Click on first one to scroll.

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