Capri.

by Sistaweotch March. 15, 2008 7426 views

Day trip to the Isle of Capri (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capri) [en.wikipedia.org] and the Blue Grotto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Grotto). [en.wikipedia.org] It really was way too short, as Capri is a place that begs to be appreciated slowly. At least, it does during the off season! I can't imagine going during the high season. It must be a madhouse!

After arriving, our guide, Aldo (the wonderful man who knows everything about the region and has a love of introducing people to the history and culture) told us to stand aside and let a mob of Japanese tourists past. “We can't compete with that,” he said with a smile. "In a minute you will see a race to get to the boats …" No sooner had he said it than 2 young Japanese women went pounding down the pier just behind him. About 30 seconds after that, the first boat launched and the whole crowd aboard applauded at being first. HAHAHAHA! It was a riot.

The ride out to the entrance of the grotto takes about 15 minutes, then you wait in line (such as it is). Our boat, like several others, towed one of the rowboats out there, the pilot of the small craft riding with us. One boat was towing a rowboat with the pilot in it. I wonder what he did to get banished.

I think our boat was last, but it turned out very well. Gave me time to take pictures of the complicated dance the rowboat pilots play at the entrance. It also gave the sun time to come out from behind the clouds to light up the seafloor. Perfect! By waiting, we got to see the grotto in all its glory!

The water at the dock was chock full of tiny green jellyfish, millions of them! At first they looked like little bits of seaweed, but they were really jellyfish – and they were everywhere, all the way down the coast, even in the grotto.

I thought I was getting video of our entrance adventure, but I guess I bumped the button again, so I only got a few frames. I did, however, get some video inside of the singing and the echoes (the pilots sing to you – and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg like in Venice!) and the glow and the jellies… It was wonderful! Oh, and I got us successfully making an exit: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=A_0wIQGDouo [uk.youtube.com]

After that, we took a funicular up the hill to the main town on that part of the island. We walked to the other side of the island, got some great views from Giardini di Augusto (http://www.capri.com/en/via-krupp), [capri.com] stopped at a perfume shop (Capri is known for its flowers and perfumes), then went to lunch. After that we had about a 45 minutes to do some quick shopping, then back down the hill, then more shopping, then back to Napoli!

It was interesting comparing Venice and Stromboli to Capri. I could see elements of both present. Ultimately, I think I prefer Stromboli. Smaller, gorgeous – and volcanic! Capri was, however, wonderful. And the Blue Grotto experience was unbeatable!

The slope of Vesuvius as seen from the port of Naples.

See? I really AM going! (I don't know why, but I love pictures of my tickets and then saving the tickets themselves for possible inclusion in a theoretical scrap book. Maybe.)

The Italian Navy. Yep, I'm pretty sure that's the whole thing right there. Yep.

La la lala, doo de dum… boats, water, volcano, ticket – HELLO! I nearly forgot the castle!

Vesuvius from the water. I think one of the Plinys had a view like this when it erupted in 79 AD. ‘cept it was clearer. And things were ’sploding. And people were panicking. Ok, so not very much like this at all, really.

My first view of Cápri!

The Gilligan's Island theme was playing in my head. We, however, had the opposite weather situation as the Minnow did. Indeed, the Carmela started with clouds and rain, and ended up with sun, whee!

Sun breaking over the headland. Actually, I had to look up the word headland just now to make sure I'm using it properly. I think the headland may actually be further off, if one wants to be really picky. It's cliffs that extend into the water and such, you see. But still, doesn't “sun breaking over the headland” sound grand?

The Cliffs …OF INSANITY! ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093779/ [imdb.com] )

Traffic jam at the Blue Grotto.

The entrance is rather low and the tide fairly high. The fee for visiting comes in 2 parts, as it can never be guaranteed that conditions will permit entry. You pay for the boat to the grotto, then you pay the park another fee. The second fee includes a small boat, a pilot who rows you in, and quite possibly some serenading! (Pfft! Photoblog horked up a hairball when I tried to add this as hyperlink and et some of my text. I can't check this link right now. Think it might be of the crazy, intricate dance required to get in and out of the grottow http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=UTFJ8ZnohHA) [uk.youtube.com]

Alas, I bumped the button and thought I was taping when I wasn't. Here's a screenshot from the 3 seconds of video I did get. This was when we were on a swell. Our pilot waited until it went down, then WHOOSH! He pulled on the chain, ducked, and we were through!

Wow.

There's the outline of me. And in the water, outlines of some small jellyfish. :) (Surreal singing and echoes: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=oOW64vRAFQ8) [uk.youtube.com]

There's me with flash!

Screenie from video of the jellyfish. They are so wee! (Jellies in action! http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DGd4MApKlb0 [uk.youtube.com] ; jellyfish and Natalie Dee! http://www.nataliedee.com/032208/we-both-love-each-other.jpg [nataliedee.com] )

On to the funicular! (Thank you, Europe, for testing out awesome technology like this so that we can package and sell it at places like Magic Mountain!)

View from the funicular.

Overlooking Cápri. It looks more like a proper headland from this angle.

Built up tall like Venice, but having the flora and wee electric cars like Stromboli. Not far from there we came to the most expensive hotel on that part of Cápri – € 490 per night. And breakfast is not included! Yip!

The other side of the island. We heard 2 stories about this monastery. Part 1, simply put, is about a man who was praying to a saint for a male heir and he got one, so he fulfilled his end of the bargain and built the monastery. …Oh! Here's the brochure from the perfume shop for Part 2: “Legend has it that in 1380 the father prior of the Carthusian Monastery of St. Giacomo was taken unawares by the news of the arrival on Cápri of Queen Giovanna d'Angio and so made a flower arrangement with the most beautiful flowers of the island. The water was not changed for 3 days and, when the flowers were thrown away, the prior noticed that the water had acquired a fragrance unknown to him. He went to the father alchemist who traced the origin of this scent back to the ‘Garfilum silvestre caprese.’ That water became the first perfume of Cápri.” Aldo told us that one of the flowers used has the property of preserving the scent of all the others. And the perfume shop was divine (www.carthusia.com)! May I never suffer another department store perfume induced round of gagging and sneezing again!

View from Giardini di Augusto (http://www.capri.com/en/via-krupp). [capri.com]

Looking down from the garden.

I tells ya, Italy has the corner on the market on corners! Lombard Street (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lombard_Street_(San_Francisco)) [en.wikipedia.org] pales in comparison to some of the stuff I've seen here.

I am smiling because a wee, tiny boat is coming to land on my shoulder.

More views from the garden.

Sundial artfully placed between 2 rocks for the benefit of this photo. Notice, however, that the sundial needs to go into the shop, for it is not throwing a shadow as it should. Pfft. Sundials!

Slightly wider shot of the same view. So pretty!

Little Dionysian type guy outside our restaurant. I took his advice and had some red wine. It was delish!

Nice tiled map of the island. You can see the Blue Grotto in the upper left hand corner. I think it's actually part of Anacapri, the other major community on the island. If you count the squares from the upper right, I'm at about 5 squares over and 4 squares down, facing the same direction as the map (hint: mouseover). Across the water is Sorrento and the Amalfi coast, south of Vesuvius. _______________________________________________________________________

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