By Lynn Strough
The Isle of Capri — even the name sounds romantic!
To stay on the island would be lovely (and cost a king’s ransom), but for a much smaller sum, you can take an all-day tour. The driver met me in the lobby of my hostel and brought me to the harbor in Sorrento, where the boat captain and the rest of the guests were waiting. We climbed aboard Blu Toy, a medium-sized dark blue powerboat, and whizzed off across the azure sea. I sat out on the large cushioned bow next to a young Irish couple on their honeymoon, a happy synchronicity, as that’s my next country destination when I leave Italy.
We motored for about 15 minutes, then Captain Sebastian and his first mate Piero dropped anchor, handed us foam noodles and sent us off into the sea for a swim, which was great, as at 10 am it was already hot. The cool sea water felt superb. When we climbed back aboard, we headed for Capri, past Mt. Vesuvius and the isle of Ischia, swinging into a couple of caves near the shore, and then up to and through the two famous giant rocks, an icon for Capri.
We wound around several giant yachts and anchored in Marina Piccola, the little harbor, which apparently is much more quaint and scenic than the larger main harbor. A small beach stretched out along the shore, densely populated with bikini-clad bodies, bright umbrella and rainbow blow-up rafts. We motored in to shore in a rubber dinghy, and climbed the stairs to a restaurant for lunch. It’s Italy, so of course we eat pizza.
The town of Capri is up a hill, so we took a little bus. It was standing room only, on a very zig-zagging road about one lane wide, so it was interesting to see how two buses going in opposite directions pass each other (barely). Disgorged onto a busy street full of souvenir shops and tourists (in August, the busiest month of the year), across from a drop-dead gorgeous view of the bay dotted with yachts. I spied a stand selling lemon ice in fresh squeezed orange juice and ordered one up. It was the most refreshing drink I’ve ever tasted, all sweet and sour and cold.
I wandered down the street, which soon narrowed into passageways lined with the more upscale designer shops, fun to look in the windows though I didn’t go in – white linen dresses and suit coats, $150 Dolce & Gabbana baby shoes, sparkling jewelry which probably sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, shops for celebrity budgets.
Flowers blossomed everywhere, bright pink against the blue, blue ocean and blue, blue sky. I wandered past 5-star hotels, knowing I could live and travel for a month on what people pay to stay there for two nights. Would I mind staying there? Um, no. But do I need to, in order to be a happy traveler. Not at all.
We had four hours to explore the island, or we could go back to the beach or boat to swim; I had planned to go back after about three hours but took a wrong turn — a good one it turns out — as I ended up by some stairs where for 1 euro you could enter a garden with the best views on the island (or so the sign said) but it turned out to be true. The gardens were edged with an iron fence overlooking the cliffs leading down to the bay, where you could see the iconic rocks and tons of boats speckled around them. Breathtaking!
When I got back to the harbor, the dingy took me out to the boat, where most of the other people were already swimming or drinking beer, and I immediately doffed my tank top and skirt and jumped into the sea to cool off. Aaaahhh!! Soooo nice!!! The only thing that got me out was an ice cold drink.
On our way back, we stopped to see another couple of grottos — there’s a green grotto, a white grotto and a blue grotto, and we also stopped to swim again, and snorkel. Then we headed to Sorrento, the sun still hot on our backs, and said our farewells. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t go on a lot of tours, but this one was totally worthwhile.
My driver back to my hostel had a bus instead of a car, and I was the only passenger. He spoke English and we chatted — he gave me a restaurant recommendation, and he also told me I should get a job as a tour guide and meet an Italian man, that they’re very romantic.
I love Italy!
Lynn is a 50+ free spirit whose incarnations in this life have included graphic designer, children’s book author and illustrator, public speaker, teacher, fine art painter, wine educator in the Napa Valley, and world traveler. Through current circumstances, she has found herself single, without a job or a home, and poised for a great adventure.
“You could consider me homeless and unemployed, but I prefer nomad and self-employed, as I pack up my skills and head off with my small backpack and even smaller savings to circumnavigate the globe (or at least go until the money runs out). Get ready to tag along for the ride…starting now!”
Reprinted with permission