Tag Archives: Capri

Italy Day 11, Capri, the Blue Grotto, Toni & Nunzia



The Faraglioni Rocks


Waiting for the Bus


The View of Marina Grande from our Apartment

We were not up early the next morning.  My best guess is we walked to the bus stop around 10AM.  Our plan was to take the direct bus to Anacpari and walk to he blue grotto as Toni had suggested. We watched bus after bus go by; none for Anacapri. We asked the market shopkeepers when the next bus would come.  “quindici minuti”, the bus would come and it would not be for Anacapri.  Strangely it would not be for Capri either.  We stood and waited.  Finally the Annacapri bus drove by, right by.  Ellen flagged it down furiously, but the driver waved her off.  The bus was full.  Ok, we’ll take the next bus and go from there.


The Dramatic Isle of Capri



A stroll along a Via, Capri

The next bus took us to Capri, though it was labeled something else.  We walked to a ristorante for espressos.  We also had caprese; Ellen’s as a salad, mine as panini. The price was excessive.


Pathway of Forts, Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto


Our Oarsman Giovanni

We walked back to the bus terminus and queued for the Anacapri bus. We missed the first bus, but we were the first couple on the next bus which arrived almost immediately.  We took the bus to the last stop, past Anacapri and had to retrace our steps a bit to find the road down to the blue grotto.  It was a long walk.  Most of the views were obstructed by trees, walls, and villas.  Here and there we saw well maintained gardens and trellises of wisteria in full bloom. The road stretched down and down.  Down and down.  Bicyclists passed us coasting downhill and later passed us again going up hill!.  I kiddingly called out,” ancora, un altro”  That got a laugh and, “Si,, certo”

Still we walked down toward the water.  Eventually a British family passed us, the sun and husband first followed by the wife.  We exchanged pleasantries, though I had the impression they were not happy.


Father and Son fishing at the Blue Grotto

Eventually we arrived at a walkway to the sea with a restaurant on one side and a trinket seller on the right.   On the sea there must have been eighteen rowboats, some servicing tour boats that had arrived, taking couples from the tour boat into the blue grotto and back.  IT is a well orchestrated affair with the rowboats queued up taking turns.  I caught the eye of one oarsman who turned his boat and rowed my way.  I discussed pricing. 15 euro per person entry fee and whatever we chose to pay him.  I asked if he could go twice around inside, “Si”.


Souvenir Time?

I had some difficulty explaining that there were two of us and that I wa  s waiting for my wife who should be down in 4 minutes. After a bit Ellen came down and said that they would not let her use the bathroom. Then Ellen said she could go up and ask again and she asked the oarsman how much time she had (meaning would he wait for her).  The oarsman chuckled and said, “that depends on you, how much time do you need!”  We had a good laugh and Ellen and I piled in the boat after some assurances to the oarsman, “va bene”.


A tour boat loading and unloading passengers




An Unexpected Delight, Alone in the Grotto.

The tour boats bring a dozen or so people to the grotto.  They are loaded into the rowboats in pairs.  The last two rowboats from a tour boat were ahead of us rowed into the cave as we paid the entry fee. One other rowboat was inside as we entered and a moment later we were alone in the cave.  Ellen, I, and Giovanni. Giovanni serenated us a bit and more importantly showed us some of the beauty of the cave.  As I had asked we took a very slow double loop around the cave.  It was memorable.


Not a Tour Boat in Sight.


Arrivederci Giovanni



Atop Monte Solaro

We took the bus back from the grotto to Anacapri, bought calzone and a beer at a pasta shop, and took the lift to the top of Monte Solaro. You have a 360 degree view from the top. Capri sits three miles off the tip of the Amalfi peninsula.  It looks like you could reach out and touch it.  The calzone was not what we expected.  It appeared to be deep fried thick dough with some mystery sausage and greens inside. The beer was great. We lingered a while, our hopes to see sunset dashed by the 7pm closing of the chair. I assume the path down the mountain closed sooner to avoid having people lost after dark on.  For me the ride back facing downhill was fun.


One View from Monte Solaro

We walked Anacapri.  The chapel was closed.  The shops in Anacapri are much more modest than the Capri shops.  Is hardly a designer shop on the main street.  The merchandise quality is a small step down, but still good quality.  The prices are significantly lower.  We both eyed scarfs, but did not buy anything.  At the end of the main street sits a small park probably near a school.  There were many children playing.  I noticed one mother with a young child looking anxiously around.  She eventually found her two boys and gave them 5 euro for gelato.  Both Capri and Annacapri’s main street were filled with people. The pace seemed slower in Anacapri.


Descending Monte Solaro


Fresh Squeezed Orange with a Touch of Lemon

We found the bus back to Capri and took the the Funicular down to Marina Grande.

This was our first time on the funicular; we had to try it once at least.  There is a single track that doubles up in the center.  The two cars run past each other in the middle, one going up, the other down in the middle.  It is a smart and inexpensive way to double the capacity of the funicular.  The cars move slowly, but arrive quickly,, the track takes a very direct route.  The uphill section of track is quite steep.  The uphill car takes a hold of a cable that pulls the car to the top much like a chair lift cable.


Nearing Sunset, Marina Grande, Capri

Now in Marina Grande, we sat for an espresso, looked at the menu, and ordered a spaghetti Bolognese and spaghetti vongole.  I’m sure you know who had the vongole.


Marina Grande Sunset Looking Towards The Amalfi Peninsula.

We had forgotten how long and steep the walk back to the apartment was.  We could have taken a bus bit chose to walk.  It was the golden hour of photography and our last night in Capri.  Without hesitation we walked “home”.   The market was still open.  We stopped in for a few items.

Capri is not to be missed, but to really feel the island you must get away from Capri’s hotel and shopping area.  That is not the Capri I will remember.

Tomorrow we leave for Amalfi by way of Sorrento and Positano. We meet our driver at the ferry dock in Sorrento.  We will take the 9:25 ferry that arrives Sorrento at 9:45.


The Faraglioni Rocks at Sunset


Sunset on the Island of Capri


Now How Do I Get Off this Thing?


Waters the Color of the Caribbean


Alone Again on the Piazza overlooking the Faraglioni Rocks

Planning for Spring in Italy

Today Rick Steves, ” A Pocket Guide to Florence” arrived in the mail.

Last year we visited Rome ahead of a Seabourn cruise of the Greek Islands. The cruise landed in Venice, where we met our friends, Markus and Alexandra, before moving on to Florence for four days. We absolutely loved the Greek Islands and Italy. We vowed to return to Italy for an extended stay. We also hope to do some island hopping in Greece, but on another trip. For us, a return trip to Italy came first.

Today, thinking back on our last Italian sojourn, Florence stands out as the place to stay for an extended time. Rome and Venice are outstanding. We had a wonderful time learning how to live in both cities; walking the streets seeing the piazzas, seeing world renound art in museums and discovering lesser known ones. We both enjoy taking chances on trattorias with an occasional forgettable experience. Rome and Venice are perhaps the most stunning cities in the world. In spite of all that, for us, Florence felt like home.

I remembered vividly two Florentine restaurants where we had lunch.Unfortunately I did not remember their names and couldn’t locate them on a detailed map. But… looking back over our Florence blog, I found one is “Il Barroccio”. I remember that the other is closer to the Giardino della Gherardesca and the Four Seasons Hotel. There it was in our blog: Trattoria Cibreo. Many other restaurants were memorable for service or for their location. These two restaurants were unassuming and served the most wonderful dishes.

This trip first lands us in Palermo, Sicily where we rent a car and drive the north shore of Sicily to Messina. From Messina we take a ferry and train to Salerno. From Salerno we self-tour Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello before renting a car for a month at Salerno. From Salerno we drive the coast visiting Paestum, Pompeii, Torre del Greco, Erculo, Bacoli, Gaeta, and Sperlonga before turning inland toward Tivoli. We will visit some of the castle towns of Velletri, Genzano, Ariccia, Albano, Laziale, Castel Gandolfo, or Frascati then stop in Tivoli. The road from Tivoli to Orvieto runs near Calcata and Bagnoregio. From Orvieto we drive to Florence. All our lodging for this eighteen day trip as well as our six weeks in Florence is now booked and confirmed.

Booking accommodations was amusing if sometimes frustrating. I used bookings.com, homeaway.com, tripadvisor.com, and hotels.com. Often a listing was common to all with different prices. Sometimes one site would have a listing the others did not. Where prices differed, some included the taxes and fees in the price, some included just fees or just taxes, some included neither. The least expensive listing often was acutally the most expensive after fees and taxes. We booked six stays through bookings.com, four through homeaway.com, three through TripAdvisor, and two through hotels.com. We booked our stay at the Villa Igiea, Palermo directly.

We would book our connections now, but it is not possible to do so online. Train tickets can only be booked 120 days in advance and the 2017 ferry schedules are not yet avaiable online. Then too, it may be better not to book ahead to avoid missing a connection.

What a marvelous adventure awaits.

Here are some stock photos that present the scope of our travels from Palermo to Florence.


Lavenzo Island


Lorenzo petroglyphs

Petryglyphs on Levanzo Island

villa igiea 2 villa igiea 1

Villa Igiea, Palermo





Capri BlueGrotto capri

Capri and the Blue Grotto





AmalfiCoast amalfi

Amalfi Coast and Amalfi







sperlonga 2 Sperlonga




arricia ariccia(1)


 albano laziale

Albano Laziale

Calcata italy




tivoli 1 Tivoli 2


orvieto orvieto 2



IMG 4980 cropped