The Isle of Capri is on all of our bucket lists. I think it’s on most bucket lists when you come to this part of the world. We take the ferry over on a sunny morning and arrive at the bustling port. It’s teeming with tourists and we wonder what it would be like in July. The Italians pronounce Capri, CAAPRE as opposed to the western version – CAPREE. We should make the effort to get it right – it sounds wonderful.
Initially we take a boat tour that circumvents the island and takes us to the infamous Blue Grotto. When we are arrive there are at least a dozen boats waiting for little row boats to pick up passengers and take them through the narrow opening and into the cave, with an iridescent blue cavern of water. We float adrift for around half an hour, our boat pilot yelling in Italian, to another boat that tries to push in ahead. We can only imagine he is saying something like, ‘Hey! We’re first! Back off!’ But it’s a little frustrating, as he’s not particularly assertive and everyone seems to get in front of us, particularly the smaller boats.
Finally we are taken in our small group of five and we pay 12.50 euro each for about a 3 minute tour. They cash in. Doing this all day, they must rake in a fortune. Our little Italian tells us all to lie flat as we enter. The colour is breathtaking. He sings to us and takes us around twice in the hope for a tip. When we don’t pay more as we alight, he is furious – but we feel he’s just taken 50 euro for five minutes work. He mutters something unintelligible under his breath.
After the Grotto, we take a taxi up to the Capri township and the taxis are fabulous – open sedans with a canvas top. We see a vintage version and take a picture, although someone gets in ahead of us.
The shopping, is as a rule very expensive. All the top end designers are present. I find the scarf of my dreams, a soft grey woven silk with tiny white beads sown own – until that is, I see the price tag of 820 euro. A$1000. Ouch. Don’t buy.
We have a casual lunch at the La Palma Capri hotel and take pictures of a pyramid of hydrangeas at its entrance. There are flowers everywhere, adorning spaces. And if I could sum up Capri in a few words it would be yellow and white striped awnings, flowers and spectacular mountain views.
We head up to Anacapri, which has none of the glamourous attributes of its big sister, but it’s interesting nonetheless, and there are smaller shops filled with sandals and artisans making customised sandals on the spot. We capture the best aerial pictures of the island here, and our taxi driver is kind enough to stop and let us take pictures on the way down to the ferry.
On the way back, we spy a lovely looking middle aged, American couple on the boat. They are so well groomed – he’s grey haired with a neat moustache and she is glamourous in a pretty sundress and broad brimmed hat. They are gently affectionate with each other – and as she drapes an elegant tanned arm across his shoulder, I notice perfectly painted and shaped finger nails and delicate gold bracelets on her wrist and twinkling jewels on her ring finger. She looks very beautiful.
The next day, we note with some amusement that tourists seem to follow each other around. I chat to ‘Bob’ on the vertiginous bus ride to Ravello. He is lovely. He says, he noticed us on the boat from Capri and I laugh and say, ‘We noticed you!’
They look completely out of place, crammed in standing cheek to cheek with all the locals.
It’s a bum fight. But I give them the nod of approval. It’s not the sort of trip I could imagine them doing comfortably. Even we decide on a car, rather the bus back to the hotel. I turn to Bob and say, ‘We’re glad we’ve done this, but we’re getting a private transfer back to Positano.’
Bob laughs and nods in agreement, ‘So we are!’