20 August 2012

Benvenuti a Capri, Part I

This past July and August marked my first ever, but definitely not my last, trip to Europe. I spent my first Italian holiday on the island of Capri, off the coast of Naples, in southern Italy. My hotel, Il Relais Maresca, was located in Marina Grande with an amazing view of the bay and docks from my personal balcony. I immediately noticed the bright blue color of the ocean upon docking and was amazed by the clarity of the water. You can't find anything like this back in the States, folks. Since my first taste of real Italian food was at the airport in Naples my taste buds and stomach were more than ecstatic upon my first real bite of a genuine Italian pizza margherita.

The island has five means of transportation: boats which circled the island, taxis, mopeds (how cute and European, right?), of course one can always go on foot, and lastly the Funicolare which took passengers from Marina Grande to Anacapri. The ride up their funicular gave a beautiful, scaling view of the city below, and once atop the Square was an even more gorgeous view of the island which extended from the mountains, bay, and Naples off in the distance.

Entrance to the Blue Grotto

My friends and I took a boat tour of the island with our fabulous captain and guide, Luca, who had an interesting way of steering the boat. The island is home to the world famous Grotta Azzurra, or Blue Grotto, a sea cavern accessible via a smaller row boat. The sunlight passes through an underwater cavity and shines through the seawater causing the entire cavern to be illuminated by the most stellar shades of blue. I felt like I was in a magical Disney movie.

The mountains, inlets, shores, and other caves of the island were all historically known to be occupied by the ancient Romans. I guess they too saw it as a prime holiday location. Luca showed us a few of his favorite and uncharted spots around the island to where we could swim out, one of which we had to swim under the rocks to access. It was there that we found an above opening on the rocky roof which allowed sunlight to come through and light up the cave.

The Virgin Mary looked a lot better from a distance.

He was a fun tour guide as he was not not only well-versed in the history and geography of the island but also loved showing and allowing us to venture into the more restricted areas, including a cave that housed a naturally formed sculpture of the Virgin Mary. We had to wait for the coast guard to pass before he dropped us off at the steps leading up to the cavern, from where we could see the Lady up close.

I will admit this to y'all now: I can't swim. Yes, it's true. The way one of my best friends, Jo-vanni, tried teaching me was by tapping into our human survival instincts of fight or flight. You would think, though, that I would know how to swim having lived in and even surfed in San Diego, California for a good part of my life, but no. He threw me out of our boat into the rough waves of the open seas, only tossing a foam board out when it was clear that I was drowning.

The boys started off with this bunny cliff on their diving adventures.

While I don't know how to swim and have a fear of drowning, I refuse to miss out on a good adventure simply because I am slightly handicapped. Let's just say that the foam noodle became my best friend and sea horse, though I saw it more as a witch's broom towards the end of the trip.

I thoroughly appreciated the friendliness of the locals, especially when it came to their patience and willingness to tolerate and correct my atrocious butchering of their language. One such woman, Monica, the owner of the Bar Corallo as well as her hunky sons. My friends and I would frequent her restaurant not only because of the amazing food and service but also because she was very sweet and welcoming to us and her other patrons. I mean, it didn't at all hurt that her sons were tall, and tan, and young, and handsome.

My friends and family know that my wardrobe primarily consists of shorts and tank tops so it came as no surprise that I didn't pack any clothes that were appropriate for a more formal night out on the town. Luckily Jo-vanni and I are the same size and basically swap gear whenever necessary. It was definitely an experience walking around Anacapri in slacks, dress shoes, and a button down summer shirt, but I think I looked pretty damn good even without my signature tank tops.

1 comment:

  1. Elle, have you heard from Jo-vanni since your trip? I follow Jo-vanni's Facebook page, but it has gone quiet recently. Thanks.