The original plan for Capri involved getting on the earliest ferry that we could and coming back on the latest one possible - because I had a whack of stuff I wanted to see on the island, including a hike along the coast. But, it was going to prove difficult to get even an early-ish ferry, let alone the first one.
Our hotel is outside of Sorrento but conveniently has a shuttle that goes into town every hour. The first one for the day leaves at 7:45, which puts us in the historic centre around 8. The ferries leave from the marina and we figured we were easily another 15 minutes to get there from the shuttle stop, plus time in line, etc., etc. So EDP asked at the hotel front desk about a taxi - and while he was doing so, the clerk suggested a tour that they offer to Capri. Armed with a pamphlet, EDP came back to sell me on the idea of getting picked up at the hotel at 8:!5, on a ferry around 9, having 6 hours of free time on the island and then a tour around the island to see it from the water. A couple of quick searches showed this tour got outstanding reviews and it seemed far less stressful than figuring everything out on our own so he went back to book it. We figured we’d cut the hike we had planned along the coast, since we’d be seeing it all from the water and that we’d be able to still fit everything else in. Yay!
The minibus arrived right on time this morning and we were soon off towards Marina Del Cantone where we soon boarded the ferry and headed off to the island. At that point, we learned that we could have 6 hours completely on our own or we could use the tour company’s shuttle service, giving us an hour and a half in Capri Town and 3 in Anacapri. We hemmed and hawed - we needed more time in Capri Town than Anacapri but we knew that getting around the island was expensive and time consuming so we decided that we’d cut out Villa Jovis since it was mostly about the views, anyway. We signed ourselves up for the shuttle and off we went when the ferry docked. The shuttles were really helpful - they would send one off as soon as it was full so we weren’t sitting around and waiting for all the buses each time we changed locations.
Once up in Capri Town, we headed over to Giardini di Augusto, which gave us stunning views out over the water before lamenting one last time about having to cut the villa, getting some sandwiches and heading over to Anacapri where we headed straight to Grotta Azzurra with the help of our shuttle bus. The Grotta Azzurra (or Blue Grotto) is this little cave that you can get rowed into and then be dazzled by the glowing blue water, which is created by the sunlight bouncing into the cave. We were lucky in that the lines weren’t very long - when the 50 or so of us arrived on the shuttle, there were only four people ahead of our big group in the stair queue. You can wait for hours to get into the grotto, and you’re only in there for a few minutes, which is usually not my kind of thing but the pictures are stunning and we had the time so hey, why not? The folks on the stairs get priority over people on boats so our group earned more than one dirty look from boat folks who were unimpressed that they got bumped back 50 people or so. Soon we were in a rowboat and laying flat, heading into the grotto. The sun had been hiding most of the day but started to peak out a little while we were standing on the stairs and was in full shining mode when we went into the grotto. It was really cool, it seemed to be glowing and EDP & I were both fascinated by it. Is it an incredibly over-priced tourist trap? Yes. But it was pretty spectacular. I wouldn’t have wanted to wait for two hours but we had a really short wait so it all worked out. Soon, we were back on a shuttle, going back up into Anacapri where we decided to take the Seggiovia del Monte Solaro chair lift up to the Monte Solaro, the highest point on the island. The chair lift was incredibly terrifying, i nearly plummeted to my death multiple times - umm, shouldn’t the lap bar lock in place?! - but the views were worth it. The sun was out in full force by that point so the water was sparkling and everything was stunning. Monte Solaro hadn’t been on our plan for the day but I’m really glad we fit it in - it definitely was a good substitute for Villa Jovis. We ended our time up in Anacapri with a walk over to Villa San Michele, another villa on the list for the the views, this time, overlooking the marina. We skipped the museum, opting to fill the last of our time in Anacapri with some gelato before heading back down to the marina for the last leg of our tour, the trip around the island.
Getting to see the whole island from the water was fantastic. We were able to see the Punta Carena lighthouse, the Grotta Bianca, and the Faraglioni which was an unexpected delight. We would have seen the Faraglioni rocks on our hike but we got to be much closer to them on the ferry, going right through the arch, and we wouldn’t have gotten to see the lighthouse or the Grotta Bianca at all. So all-in-all, the trade-offs were worth it.
We were soon back at Marina Del Cantone and heading back to our hotel before heading into town for dinner, where we decided to wing it and just pick somewhere that looked okay. It was a miss. Well, it was for me. EDP had pasta and meatballs, which he enjoyed, but I had carbonara and frankly, they relied far too heavily on the cream to pull it all together. Now, I don’t want to tell the Italians how to make pasta but carbonara should not have cream. At all. Let alone a lot of it. I should have known better. Well, lesson learned. Okay, I’m off my cream-based soapbox now.
Tomorrow, we’re heading off to hike the Sentiero Degli Dei and spend some time on the beach in Positano. It’ll be our first day on the SITA busses, which while preferable to driving, is still not something I’m looking forward to.