Finally Back to Italy – Capri and Anacapri

Capri and Anacapri from the port  Photo by me.

Capri and Anacapri from the port Photo by me.

Day five in Naples started with me waking up to say “Honey it’s 6:30” when he intended to get up at 5 and I wanted to get up at 6. We both dashed to get ready. I skipped shower as I had to be at the roundabout outside the gate at 7:15 to catch the bus to the boat for my day on Capri. I got there and then learned about Italian time… it is approximate. I was the only one there until 7:30 which is when the bus was to depart and up strolled three couples from base. The bus rolled in about 7:45. It’s all relative… except when it comes to boats going to Capri. We were rushed from the bus to grab our tickets from Aldo, our guide, and dash aboard a hydrofoil to Capri. Once again I got the most envied of all seats the middle of the middle. I could see nothing. Dosed off for the hour over. Once there we caught mini buses to Anacapri.

View from Anacapri.

View from Anacapri.

Anacapri is the settlement on the top of the rocky island. Villa D’Capri is the one that rings it down by the sea. The island has been human inhabited since 5,000 BC Capri in Eutruscan meant boar – the island is where they hunted boar. Later Romans moved in and brought goats Capra thus inn Latin Capri means of goats.

We took off from the port in a small bus covered in ads for a tacky watch covered in Swarovski rosetta crystals of various colors called a Capri watch. It sells for 300 euro about $450 US. The road we took clings to the rock cliff and is called the Etruscan road hewn by the Greeks & Etruscans to trade easier with Anacapri.

If you look there on the side of the rock you'll see the Etruscan road to Anacapri.  See it there with the supports?

If you look there on the side of the rock you’ll see the Etruscan road to Anacapri. See it there with the supports?

It has not been widened since before Christ and has a granite wall on one side and a drop to the blue blue Mediterranean sea on the other. It is wide enough for two of their one goat wagons or just wide enough in parts for our minibus and an adventurous scooter driver. The drivers radio to one another when they are heading what direction on the road the others wait in the wider spots. Oh and by wider I mean where they barely pass… BARELY. But don’t think that slows down any driver because it doesn’t. Nor do the pedestrians on the road flinch for bus, car, truck, or scooter horn. I rode in the front seat on the way down to get a shot of the wider parts.

Wider part of the Etruscan road.

Wider part of the Etruscan road.

Once in Anacapri he we toured the graveyard where burials have been for 1000s of years. Then saw Tiberius’s vineyard. Seems the white grapes grown there make an impeccable wine that Emperor Tiberius

View of Emperor Tiberius Vineyard.  Still in private operation today.

View of Emperor Tiberius Vineyard. Still in private operation today.

loved so his vineyard still growing grapes today for a family’s private wine but given to VIPs who visit Capri. You cannot buy any. Then we followed this narrow walk way to the center of Anacapri where we were set free for about an hour and a half.

I headed down to the red museum which was the nautical one. Found it and even could read the sign’s times. It opened at 10 am now it was 11 am but still not open. I look about the vendors now opening their stores and bringing out their displays. I asked one about the museum.

View through the closed gates of the Red Museum on a "freddo" morning.  Photo by me

View through the closed gates of the Red Museum on a “freddo” morning. Photo by me

“It is a cold day, they will open later when it warms up.” It was in the low 60s F (teens in C). I went back made a few pictures and looked over the sign, no where did I spot anything about closed when “freddo” mornings arrive.

So I strolled out to the overlook past the just opening shops all bidding me “Good morning, open soon. Very cold this morning.” The funny thing is on the “cold” morning the ice cream stand was the only one open on time. The over look was beautiful, again made some photos. Walked back and kinda had to go to the bathroom but it is “50p to pee” as Aldo told us. The smallest I had was 20 Euro and we were going to lunch next where a bano would be available. So I just enjoyed sitting in the warm Med sun at the meeting point.

It was then another ride down the Etruscan road to where we had lunch. It was a house with a nice covered patio. The people have a restaurant-like business feeding tour groups that book them. First we had rigatoni with tomato sauce, made from fresh tomatoes. Then ravioli stuffed with 3 cheeses (buffalo mozzarella, ricotta from sheep, and goat feta) that was topped with a veggie sauce. Next you could choose from roast pork (called roast beouf here from some unknown reason), herbed chicken (cooked over open fire on spit), or the Capri traditional dish of pan cooked squid (calamari Capriese). I went for the squid – when in Capri do as Capriseans. This was accompanied with a basic garden salad topped with a light vinegar and fresh olive

The meal was so good I didn't think to take a foodie until it was too late. But as you can see I enjoyed it.

The meal was so good I didn’t think to take a foodie until it was too late. But as you can see I enjoyed it.

oil. All this was with warm fresh crusty bread they kept bringing and kept bringing and I swear forced everyone at my table to eat at least a loaf each. That is our agreed upon story- that they forced us- and we at table 9 are sticking to it! It was capped by a vanilla gelato (ice cream). It all was to DIE for food. All the squid I’ve ever had has been chewy. This was melting in your mouth tender it broke with slight pressure from a fork. Very buttery with garlic and basil flavor and briney sea flavor. Mmmm-MMmm The pasta was perfect al dente not mushy. It was all so fresh. Oh, and I got to use the bano without having a 50p coin.

Next he took us to the Capri lemon shop. Lemons there are Caesar lemons. Think the size of a large navel orange or small grapefruit. They are sweet-like lemons. There I got some lemon chocolate and orange chocolate. Drat 5 Euro change still no 50p for the bano!

Now was a walking tour to the south side of the island where the rich live. We went up into the medieval walls and walked there. Originally these were the sentry walk and barracks.

The walk through the sentry walls of Capri.  Photo by me.

The walk through the sentry walls of Capri. Photo by me.

Now it is a public walk with non-tourist shops in the former barrack rooms. It was interesting to see that one side for a good distance was a grocery. One barrack room vegetable produce then pay and move to the fruit produce pay and move down to the bread pay then sweets and so on through canned goods, dry goods, etc. Some were small pizzerias with workmen crowded in the skylight courtyards eating their lunch. We came out on steps filled with flowers that were a florist’s display.

North Capri steps to sentry walk now used partially as a florist display.  Photo by me

North Capri steps to sentry walk now used partially as a florist display. Photo by me

Then to square of the important – tables set up with chairs and various upscale restaurants. Here the important people of the island gather to drink wine, play chess, and in good Italian tradition argue. We went down a winding street of all the upscale name shops you can name. Yes you too can own a Dolce Gaban t-shirt that says Capri on it for only 800 euro ($1000) or dress your babe in Grey Flannel brand baby clothes for only 1200 euro for one outfit. Oh and get a gelato for 16 euro looking much like the 3 euro gelato I saw for sale on the south side.

We moved on to the Sanatorium which was where people with lung disease came to be treated by the good sea air. It is now a four star hotel. Passed it and down Via Rupp a nice stone walkway made by a German named Rupp. We went to another major industry on the island besides Caesar lemons (for many a Lemoncello) is perfume. We toured the perfumery’s garden and I loved it as Aldo knew much about the plants flowers and uses. The views from there were glorious.

This is a view of the Via Rupp on north Capri

This is a view of the Via Rupp on north Capri

It was there Aldo said he’s meet us back at the buses on the south side. I got a bit of a fright hoping I could remember my way back! Then I thought, eh, it’s a small island keep following the coast and I’ll find the other side. However bano was NOW calling. I went in asked the attendant for change for my 5 euro. She was nice and had to call the men’s room attendant for help but between the two of them they made change. I thanked them both and tipped each a euro. Trust me I’d gladly given them the whole 5 for one 50p to pee! Now I dropped my coin in the slot (I had many as he opened a change box to get me change I’m sure he thought “Touriesta!”) And was relieved.

Then I started navigating my way back stopping by the Swarovski store in the rich section. Swarovski is a prized crystal jewelry piece maker. They are made in Austria and I deal with them regularly making jewelry. So I know many of their prices in US. There in the store a crystal that is about $0.75 US was selling for 14 euro ($21) a crystal pendant $3 US was selling for 118 euro ($170). I chuckled to myself at the snobby shoppers and headed for the sentry steps that were now a florists display case. Then through the walls past the grocery and down a few streets and I found the buses in plenty of time. Some were not so lucky so Aldo fretted about his babini (children is what he called us, his children) until they came from the opposite direction from what he had taken us. Seems they got turned around and figured as I did keep following the coast and the wall you’ll have to pass it being an island.

It was another harrowing bus ride down to the port. There we had to wait for the boat. We were running late it was 4 pm already and originally we were scheduled to be back at base at 4:30. Being a good papa Aldo let those who needed to use his cell to call babysitters, loved ones meeting them etc to tell of the delay. Me eh, Mike is in a secure area and I’ll get back when I get back.

The hydrofoil ferry we took to and from Capri.  Photo by me

The hydrofoil ferry we took to and from Capri. Photo by me

So it was an uneventful hydrofoil ride back to the bus to the walk to the base then the walk to the inn on base. I got home as Mike did. He wanted to walk out to a restaurant for dinner. I gave him the very fatigued “I’ve walked all over Capri all day” stink eye and we got sushi at the food court.

Even though I didn’t label them all, all photos are by me.  You can click on any one to see it larger and go to my Flickr account where there are many more of my day on Capri.

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