To say that our pace slowed down is a major understatement…it has virtually come to a sleepy, warm stand still. After the ‘go for it’ past week exploring and walking literally hundreds of kilometres in London and Paris, Italy is the time in the journey, I planned to relax. With the sun shining, sleepy Sorrento is the perfect wind down town. Strolling the town square, shopping in the local stores, and sitting in the trattorias people watching is wonderful. But there is still so much to explore.
You cannot come to the Amalfi coast and not visit Capri. The Island of Capri is one of the most picturesque and visited locations in Campania. Geologically speaking, Capri is underlaid with limestone which has been eroded over the years forming ridge towers and sinkholes in the rock. This process over time separated Capri from the mainland.
There are a few ways to get to Capri. The Hydrofoil, ($50) the ferry, ($38) sail yourself,($300) join a tour (15-20 people) ($80p/p) or hire a boat and captain.($600). We opted for the latter, (a full day ) as it enables you to cruise from the Port of Sorrento to Capri, stopping along the way if you wish. The ferry and hydrofoil are direct routes…and crowded. The group tour boats don’t allow swimming at the grottos. Plus…if you get a loud, chatty group of American tourists..that may do my head in!
We set off with a packed lunch of Caprese paninis, Prosecco and beer… and cruised West along the coastline in water that is the deepest blue. The Amalfi coast on your left is truly stunning sight, as it winds around the cliff face. After about 30 minutes we dropped anchor at the Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto is a sea cave on the coast of the island of Capri. Sunlight, passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater, creates a blue reflection that illuminates the cavern. The cave extends some 50 metres into the cliff at the surface, and is about 150 metres deep, with a sandy bottom. We were able to swim here and it was magnificent.
We ate lunch on the deck of the boat after our swim and then continued around Capri, via the Verde Grotto and other stunning coves, and on into the main port of Capri. Our skipper pulled up at the dock and we asked him to return in 2 hours.
We then wandered through the lower streets of Capri and onto the beach (rocks) for a dip.
What an experience…sitting on rocks…or should I say…balancing on rocks. No wonder our Australian beaches are so popular, with our white sands. Getting in and out of the ocean requires steely determination and great balance. Once you get a few rocks in the right positions, however, it was surprisingly comfortable. I even lay down to catch some rays.
With an hour left you can either sit and eat gelato at the Marina Grande,(2 kids,1 boyfriend) or attack the slopes of Monte Solaro. (1 middle kid and me) The Phoenician Steps are now a major tourist attraction: 921 stone steps from where to admire the island of Capri in all its glory. There is a lift, but we opted to walk it and take in the views. Breathtaking views…literally…no breath left.
Once at the central Piazza you can shop like a star. There’s no way to avoid the shopping in Capri. From the Piazzetta the narrow streets in every direction are filled with the names of Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Fendi and Valentino, plus a range of local artisans. There are sandal-makers, Capri pant-makers, and perfume-makers – plus a whole lot of very glamorous people. Wearing a kaftan and hat, sweating profusely after the steep climb up..we were feeling less than appropriately dressed for the uber chic Euro crowd. So we took a whole lot of pictures, mopped our brow, and headed down. Much quicker and required much less effort. I did a light jog, not my choice…like a goat…due to the decline. Interesting look for those passing us on the way up, I’m sure.
Back to the Marina, back on the boat, back to the front deck to lie and snooze in the sun on the way back to Sorrento. What a lovely way to spend the day.
Footnote: The best day for day trip to Capri is a Friday. The tours usually arrive into Naples or Sorrento on a Friday, and depart on a Friday, so this is usually a quiet day. (I think the word ‘day’ has now officially reached its quota.)