Sunday, April 17, 2011

Capri Times Two

The lovely, pedestrian zone of Anacapri
My aunt asked me a few weeks before their trip if I was going to get tired of going to the same places over and over again with each new set of guests. My answer then, as now, is a very definite "maybe." But so far, I've found new things to enjoy. And all our guests are different in the atmosphere they prefer, activities they most want to do, and reactions. There is enough in the area to mix things up a bit, also, but I'd enjoyed everything I did with Paige and Julia so much that I really wanted to follow a similar itinerary with Mike and Katrina. Especially because once I've been to a place and figured out all the logistics - how to get there, where to park if necessary, a decent restaurant, where the bus/metro/ferry station is and how to buy tickets (this is harder than you'd think - you don't always buy tickets at the source, but that's for a different post), what to see - all of that takes time and mental energy, then factor in the foreign language aspect. I fell in love with Capri while there with Paige and Julia. I love riding the ferry (when there's no seasickness surrounding me!), pulling into the port and staring up at the towering mountains, I'd probably really like riding the funicular up the mountain to Capri Town if it were ever running on my visits. I like the views over the ocean and wandering around pretty, little alleys and going into beach shops.

I don't, however, care for the bus rides. Both trips recently, there was a particular route that, of a group of about 20 waiting to board the bus, about 5 actually make it on. With the bus only running every 20-30 minutes, this means a pretty long wait, especially if you're trying to make a ferry down at the port. My aunt, from south Georgia, had a really hard time with the pushing your way forward that happens at most places here in Italy. The concept of lines and personal space are practically nonexistent, and what we'd consider outright rudeness is just the norm here. The cultural differences are real and vast. At the end of our Capri day, we were trying to get to the port from Anacapri, a 15 minute bus ride to Capri, then a wait for another bus and another 10 minute ride. As I looked around the huge group standing at the Anacapri bus stop, I thought to myself, "There is no way my aunt is going to push her way onto this bus." I let Mike and Katrina know that there would be room for only a few of us to get on the bus, and if we didn't place ourselves at the door and weren't ready to push, we were waiting another 25 minutes or so, where the process would then repeat. They were troopers - those two took what I said to heart, and we were first on. It was helpful that my uncle was a foot taller than anyone else trying to get on and therefore able to run a block maneuver. The locals who depend on bus transport must absolutely despise tourist season.

While on Capri, we spent a small amount of time in Capri Town, just enough to look at the view and visit my favorite patisserie for a takeaway lunch and sampling of pastries, then hopped a bus to Anacapri. We did a little shopping, went back to Chiesa di San Michele (the tiny church with the gorgeous, painted tile floor of the Garden of Eden - posted about in Across the Sea, to Capri), and visited my new favorite jewelry store (owned by a family with their own factory on the mainland, where family members make all the jewelry - and for the cynics out there, both times, when I talked to the owner about living in Naples, she and her son invited me to visit their factory, located nearby, and gave me their personal cell numbers).

Of course, we couldn't leave without trying out the Monte Solaro chairlift. The chairlift itself is almost as much of an experience as the views from the top - at least for Americans, where this chairlift would have long ago been banned. Seriously, the lap bar DOESN'T LOCK...or snap or have any sort of closing mechanism whatsoever. Astonishing. I love visiting countries where there is still an emphasis on personal responsibility rather than everyone else's responsibility to make sure you don't act with stupidity. Crawl around ruins at your own risk. Explore mossy, damp, unlit tunnels in old castles with your own flashlight and no handrails going down the steep, crumbling stairs. All that said, this chairlift may take things a little far.

I couldn't resist taking a dozen more photos. Some crafty person has created a whimsical, art garden that passes beneath our feets, with a koi pond, shell encrusted planters, and a statue wearing sunglasses. Then it's up, up, up, enjoying views over Anacapri and the ocean all the while. And at the top, views, views, views - you can see the Sorrentine Peninsula, up close, or peer down into the brilliantly colored shallows at the edge of the island, or gaze off into the distance at the isle of Ischia and the over-developed mainland. Much progress has been made at the top in opening up some type of restaurant or snack bar. I look forward to another return to Capri, where perhaps we can sit and enjoy some gelato or a glass of wine along with the view.
Mike and Katrina, on top of Monte Solaro
We made it back down in the chairlift (although I admit to a bit of vertigo this time), shoved our way onto the bus, arrived at the port to find a ferry leaving in only 3 minutes, managed to buy our tickets and run to it in time (despite a heckler next to the ticket counter mocking my Italian when I used the wrong word for dock - oh, how much I hate not knowing the language well), and got home quickly, helped along by Nathan, who braved driving in downtown Naples to pick us up on his way home.

1 comment:

  1. I really think it's worth a trip to Capri just to get your mom on the chair lift and get a picture, or maybe even a video!