June 24, 2011

The Isle of Capri

Sorrento, May 2010 - Under blue skies and bright sunshine at last, we departed the Hotel Michelangelo for Marina Piccola where we would board a jet boat to the legendary Isle of Capri. We were greeted at the port by flowers and palm trees, sparkling blue-green waters and the towering cliffs of Sorrento. This was the Italy I had been waiting to see.

Cliffs of Sorrento

The jet boat arrived, backed up to the dock, and passengers scurried onboard to find the best seats.

Jet Boat to Capri

The crossing was a little rough at times, so I tried to keep my eyes focused on the horizon to quell any queasiness. And before long we had arrived at Capri's Marina Grande.

Marina Grande, Capri

We had made it to the island, but unfortunately conditions would not allow us to board the smaller boats that could enter the Blue Grotto. But our guide did his best to show us the famous underwater cave.

Postcard of the Blue Grotto

We then boarded small buses that would take us up the narrow winding road to the town of Anacapri. I had read about the hairpin turns and sheer drops along this road, so I was a little nervous about the drive. But once we were on our way, the breathtaking views of the rocky coastline and hilly island terrain made me forget about my fears.

The Road to Anacapri

The buses stopped near Anacapri's Piazza Vittoria, where we were free to browse through the shops or take a ride on the chairlift to the top of Monte Solaro.

Monte Solaro Chairlift, Anacapri

We chose the shops, which sold unique scarves, jewellery, lemon products and the island's specialty, custom-made sandals. Then we walked to the lookout for incredible views of Capri and Marina Grande below.

Marina Grande, Capri

Lunch was at a restaurant on the square, Barbarossa, where I had a delicious Spaghetti Bolognese - the best pasta yet. And then we boarded the buses to return to Capri Town.

Capri has long been a favorite vacation spot for the rich and famous.

Grand Hotel Quisisana, Capri

The cobbled streets were lined with luxury hotels, such as the Grand Hotel Quisisana and Hotel La Palma, as well as restaurants and expensive shops selling designer clothing and jewellery.

La Palma Hotel Restaurant

On the Isle of Capri, luggage is ferried to hotels on motorized carts and taxis are white convertibles.

Capri Taxi

Our walking tour took us to the Giardini di Augusto

Giardini di Augusto, Capri

for views of the Via Krupp leading to Marina Piccola

Via Krupp, Capri

and the Faraglioni Rocks.

Faraglioni Rocks, Capri

In the late afternoon, buses took us back to Marina Grande to board the jet boat back to the mainland. The crossing was a little smoother this time, and we enjoyed the views of Sorrento from the sea.

Excelsior Vittoria Hotel, Sorrento

For dinner, we decided to skip the hotel meal and venture out for something more memorable for our last evening in Sorrento. Thank you Rick Steves for recommending Circolo Forestieri (Foreigner's Club). We sat at an outdoor table on the terrace, overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. The view was incredible, and became even more so as dusk fell and the bay was ringed in lights.

Mount Vesuvius from Foreigner's Club, Sorrento

We started with Bellinis while we perused the menu. Then we dined on Insalata Caprese (tomato slices layered with buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and olive oil), pasta with shrimp and zucchini, and a glass of limoncello, the local digestif made from lemon rinds.

Insalata Caprese

Pasta with Shrimp and Zucchini

The food was delicious and the atmosphere was unbeatable.

Foreigner's Club Terrace at Dusk

After dinner, we stopped for lemon gelato and browsed in the shops on the walk along Via Corso Italia back to our hotel.

We had one more day left ahead of us to explore the town of Sorrento. But I had already fallen in love with this beautiful part of Italy.

Next:  Sunny Sorrento

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