Continuing on from my Pompeii post and subsequent arrival on the beautiful Isle of Capri: The next day after a sumptuous breakfast, we got into a minibus taxi to go helter skelter, heart in my mouth once again, back down the hill to board a speed boat at the docks.
We were off to experience the wonders of ‘The Blue Grotto’ (Grotta Azzurra), a noted sea cave on the coast of the island. Our guide told us that due to sunlight, passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater, there is a blue reflection created, that illuminates the cavern. The boat journey was quite smooth, and when we arrived at the entrance to the cave, we were greeted by the sight of lots of little rowing boats which each took a maximum of four people. When I gingerly stepped over the edge and onto the rowing boat, I was told to lie flat in the bottom. I must mention here that the previous evening we’d been shopping, and I had been persuaded by a charming Italian boutique owner, into buying some rather elegant cream linen bermuda shorts and a crisp white shirt, so lying in the bottom of a rowing boat, wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I decided to wear them that day. An Australian woman, somewhat larger than myself, followed me into the boat, and she also had to lie flat, which meant she was lying right on top of me. We had become good friends on the tour, so I really didn’t mind as she was such a sweetie. I couldn’t help wondering though, as I struggled to breathe under her considerable weight, what my pristine outfit would look like after the ordeal, and wishing she’d got in first. Hubby and her 6’4″ son, lay in the other half of the boat, and we were expertly maneuvered through the very low and narrow opening into the grotto.
Once inside, we could thankfully sit up again, and marvelled at the beautiful deep blue of the water.
The boatmen all started singing that old Italian song, “Volare,” and everyone joined in. The sound echoed around the cave, and it was all very jolly. The words of the song are “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (In the blue, painted blue), most appropriate.
On the way over to the grotto, we saw the ancient ruins of a villa built by Tiberius Caesar, now standing right at the edge of the water.
Once back on the mainland, we went on the Funicular railway,
up to the town of Capri, where we were to have lunch at a restaurant on the Via Roma.
The most famous hotel on the island, is ‘Quisisana Capri’, originally built as a health retreat in 1845 by Scottish doctor George Clark. In 1868, it became a quaint ‘pensione’, but today, it’s one of the world’s most exclusive resorts, frequented by movie stars, royals, politicians and heads of state when they decide to spend a vacation on the Island of Capri, When they were excavating in the early 1900′s to enlarge the hotel, the remains of a Mammoth from the Paleolithic era, was found.
The day was very warm, and perfect for sampling the delicious home-made gelato. My choice was limone and fragola in a waffle cone, which was so superb that I just didn’t want it to end.
At the top of a few flights of steps, are the exquisite Caesar Augustus gardens overlook the Marina Piccola Bay and the Faraglioni Rocks.
There are beautiful villas set into the cliffs all around the island. Here are just a few and the one almost in the middle with the four pillars, belonged to Versace, and was inherited by his sister Donatella when he died.
Apparently many famous people, including Sophia Loren and Armani, own properties here. We had free time to wander around, and walked down the most famous street, the Via Camerelle, which has the most expensive designer clothing boutiques, perfume shops and jewellers.
I didn’t see any celebrities though, as apparently they only go there once the season ends, and the ‘Hoi polloi’ have all gone away again.
It was an idyllic day, then it was back to our Capri Palace hotel in Anacapri. We had a very early wake-up call the next morning, and after breakfast, we had to endure another scary taxi ride down the long and winding road, to catch the ferry back to Naples, from where we were to travel to beautiful Florence.