Friday, October 21, 2011

Cold Capri

I think our two night, three day stay was perfect. We got to see everything, do everything, and still have some relaxation time. The only thing that could have made our weekend better was if (1) we'd packed blue jeans, closed toe shoes, and heavier jackets, or (2) the weather had actually stuck to the predicted sunny, 70+ degree F temperatures. As it was, we awoke to a bit of cold on our final day. And by cold, I mean that while I was on the terrace reading for two hours while Nathan continued sleeping, I considered ripping the fleece blanket he was using off of him so I would no longer be stuck shuddering under the half size one. Little kitty's little body did not cover up enough of mine to act as a living, fur blanket. As we paid Costanzo for our room, he showed me that the temperature, at 11:00am, was only 13 degrees C (55 F). [Nerdy conversion tip - the easiest way to convert C to F in your head and quickly is double and add 30; it doesn't get it exact, but is usually within a couple of degrees]. We set off, me wearing the clothes I'd been wearing for two and a half days since my other clothes were skirts and T-shirts. Had I known that I'd wear the same clothing all three days, I could have really lightened my backpack. Who knew I'd only need a toothbrush, change of undies, and some lip gloss. Heck, all that would have just fit right into my pocketbook.
Lovely Anacapri
The last site on our tourist list was Villa San Michelle di Axel Munthe. Axel Munthe was a Swedish doctor, animal lover, and writer who had a dream to live on Capri. Twenty years after his first visit, he bought a villa and later added surrounding land. This was in the late 1800s. The villa is beautiful, and there are several large write-ups about Munthe in both Italian and English. What I took away from the write-ups was that Munthe became the doctor to the Swedish royal family, in particular to the Crown Princess who later became the Queen Consort (wife of the reigning King, she held the title of Queen). Munthe and Queen Victoria (of Sweden, not England) were very close "friends," and she spent much of her time in Capri. Their close "friendship" lasted for decades, and she seemed very involved in life at the villa. In addition, Munthe had a lady who acted as his main servant. She was not paid, but he provided for her every need, which frankly, sounds a lot like slavery. What I did not learn, but later found out from Wikipedia, is that Munthe was married to an Englishwoman who spent her time living with their two sons in a villa he built for her back in Sweden. Villa San Michele, now owned by the Swedish state, describes Munthe as a devoted doctor, serving the poor and needy, an environmentalist, a dog lover, and the author of one of the bestselling books of it's time, The Story of San Michele. Now I'm not saying that Axel Munthe wasn't an all around straight up guy, but further research suggests there might be slightly more details to his story. Regardless, he built an incredible villa with views across the Bay of Naples, stunning gardens, and the Sphinx that is such a popular icon of the island of Capri, so I enjoyed our little stroll through his home.
After our visit to the Villa, we decided it was just too cold for further exploration given our clothing. We headed back to the B&B to pick up our stored luggage and then down to the port to catch the next ferry. We lucked out as we boarded an open air ferry, the first I've seen going between Naples and Capri. It was still one of the fast, jet boats, and it got us to Naples in under an hour, but with the joy of an open deck and fresh breeze. For the first time, the ride was enjoyable rather than an exercise in avoiding all interaction with any other passengers that might get seasick. Plus, all that cold and rain and wind had made the air so clear that we got the best view to date of Mount Vesuvius:.

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