20 June 2017
The plan was to do a day-long pitstop in Capri island between our visits to Naples and Sorrento, since this famous playground of the rich and famous lay conveniently between the two gulfs of Naples and Solerno, at the end of the Sorrento peninsula.
We’d booked our tickets to Capri at the port when we arrived, so all that remained to be done in the morning was eat breakfast and check out before walking (back past Castel Nuovo) to the ferry.
We were surprised and delighted to see some hot fare on the buffet, which had all been strictly Continental until this point. There was a little bain-marie with 3 dishes and we served a spoonful of scrambles and a hearty serving of streaky bacon – but we passed on the green peas (!!) with little blocks of ham.
Just the jetfuel we needed to lug our suitcases across the Harbourfront to our jetty, where our ferry was ready and waiting for us to board.
The journey was pleasant (thanks to great air-conditioning mostly) and an hour or so later we saw the paradise coast of Capri.
We alighted at Marina Grande and followed the directions we’d found on the internet for a place to store our bags for the day. As luck would have it, the baggage store was opposite the other ferry terminal, where we’d be catching the crossing to Sorrento at the end of the day. For €3 each, it was cheap at the price to be rid of the bags for the day with the peace of mind they were safe.
It’s a small island so there is a finite list of things to do and it was easy to knock a few off right away to make our itinerary fit the day. We were able to lob off a whole coast by skipping their Blue Grotto in the North West (starting to feel like “seen one grotto, seen ’em all”) and the collection of forts in the North East, and decided to catch the bus to the farthest point and work our way back.
That took us to Anacapri. The ancient Greek prefix “ana-” means up/above, signifying that this elegant little village lies above the village of Capri (which is why we took the bus, to avoid further climbing).
Anacapri is less famous than its counterpart and even drawing out our little tour couldn’t have taken more than half an hour and, having seen all 3 major sights in Anacapri, we took the famous Phoenetician Steps down to the Marina Grande, which had been the only access from Marina Grande and Anacapri until 1877 – quite a mission at almost 1000 unevenly spaced and sized stone steps!
It was thirsty work getting down all those steps – don’t be fooled, downhill is still hard work! – and swimtime was a good incentive to keep up the pace.
The beach was, as we were discovering to be the norm, a sliver of pebbles, with the usual half designated to side-by-side extortionately priced loungers and the other half a patchwork of sunbathers. As usual, being South African, we packed all our things into our bag, covered it with our towel (the trusty free-gift towel from Catania. What would we have done without it??) and kept and eye on it from the sea.
As much of a mission as it is to get in and out of the sea because of the blasted pebbles, it’s always nice to be in the water, cooling off.
And essential, since the next trick was to climb the path to Capri. It’s quite a steep and winding path to get you up the mountainside and again we were reminded that Google Maps doesn’t take altitude into account and not all 650m walks are made even! It felt like an epic achievement, but bearing in mind it’s the main path through Capri’s suburbs, this is (still) everyday life for a lot of people!
We’d timed it to be in Capri town for lunchtime, to not only get a bite but (probably more so) to miss the worst of the midday heat. We’d booked a pizza place on the edge of town, fancying it to be a little less busy – the town square, Piazza Umberto, is known as “the lounge of Capri” because all the restaurant tables and chairs blend into one – and we were right. With a lovely view and on the edge of the chaotic little town, we enjoyed a salami pizza that took forever to come, but was delicious when it arrived.
All that remained for the afternoon was a visit to Marina Piccola, which was supposed to be the smaller, quieter beach, so we set off on foot to enjoy the winding panoramic downhill road.
Marina Piccola was smaller. It was not quieter.
With a section of (pebbled) shoreline servicing two channels of water with a massive boulder in between, there were people everywhere. Worse still, there were teenage boys goading others on the massive rock to jump into the shallow waters. I couldn’t bear to watch as 2 of them jumped in, fearing we were about to bear witness to these youngsters’ undoing.
They were fine. We were off.
We got the bus back up to Capri and trotted down the path back to Marina Grande, which now seemed so much quicker that it was a familiar route.
The ferry schedule gave us lots of options, but we figured our day in Capri was done and successful so we might as well beat the rush, catching the 4pm ferry to Sorrento.
We got our bags from the luggage check and got on the ferry, which was so full we couldn’t even find seats together. Not a big deal though with only a 20 minute crossing to get us to our next instalment.