April 18, 2016
Today is my little sister’s birthday, though I suppose I can’t really call her “little” anymore…I guess I haven’t been able to call her “little” for a while actually. Still, it’s not every day that your sister turns 21. Oh dear, we are all getting old, aren’t we?
Currently I am sitting with my legs hanging over the edge of a wall above the port in Capri. What a city and what a day! [Oh! Some little boy – maybe 10 years old – just said “attenzione” to me and pointed to the ground below me. I nodded my head and said “Si”. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, he looked up and waved at me. HOW CUTE.] Well, I woke up and had cookies, milk and an espresso for breakfast (the true Italian way) and then Roberto handed me the vespa helmet and we went cruising through the streets of Sorrento. It is official: I am head over heels in love with vespas! So far I have always been the passenger and that is a-okay by me, but perhaps one day I’ll be the driver. I think I’d be able to handle a vespa much better than a car. Although, I really must work on alighting from one in a more graceful manner. Maybe it’s because my legs are short, but I always nearly fall over trying to get off. I must also learn how to un-click the helmet button on my own instead of waiting there like a child for my driver to do it for me. Anyway, it was the perfect morning to wake up and cruise through the narrow, cobble-stoned streets of Sorrento, sliding in and out between the cars.
I waited in line to get my ferry ticket (the guy behind the booth reprimanded me for not stating upfront that I wanted a return ticket…oops) and then I nearly missed my ferry (at 9:25) because I was too busy dilly-dallying, admiring the view! Oh, I would have been so mad at myself if I had missed it! The thing was that I assumed everyone around me was also waiting for the same ferry and I was going to follow them as soon as they started walking towards it. But at 9:20, I glanced at the time and the people around me were not looking fazed at all. So I had to run down to the dock and basically jump onto the boat like a regular Jack Dawson. [By the way, I moved off the ledge because the little boy telling me to be careful felt like a bad omen and I had a sudden terror that someone would push me off from behind. So now I’m sitting safely on a bench.] The ferry ride was 30 minutes and stunning. We floated along a view of rugged mountains, dotted with trees and houses. The morning clouds were enchanting and it almost felt as though I had entered some ethereal universe. They were like a silk ribbon, creating a kind of wispy path – the kind of path you can run across in your dreams and somehow not fall through. We landed in Capri to blue skies and even bluer water. Everything about the scene promised me a lovely day and in short, Capri was a pure delight. It’s exactly like what you see in the postcards only it’s a million times better than the postcards because the postcards don’t have you in them and Capri does. It looked like this: a waterfront full of boats, mountains in the background, and streets lined with restaurants and shops selling summer hats and dresses.
I immediately went down to the water (of course I did) and waded in a bit too deep because the waves splashed the back of my dress, making it look as though I peed myself. I briefly spoke to an American girl named Brenna who actually got a big cut on her leg from riding a vespa (oh no!!) but that was because she was with a Swedish girl who didn’t know how to drive one. Then I waited in line for the bus to the blue grotto and looked at the people getting into their convertible taxis or private chauffeurs. Life must be very wonderful when you are rich, except for when it isn’t. I think I could have stayed on that bus all day long because the route featured spectacular scenery. There were lemon and orange trees everywhere you looked and houses with beautiful coloured tiles. I’ve never had such a strong desire to own a lemon tree or a rose bush. I’d actually like to have a rose garden, only the bushes wouldn’t grow in neat, even rows like desks in a classroom. They would be scattered, and wild and grow wherever they pleased – perhaps even up the side of my house. There was a man on the bus wearing a Vancouver t-shirt so I asked if he was from there, only I suspected he wasn’t because no one actually wears t-shirts from their home town (I don’t think). I was right: he was from France! Anyway, higher and higher we climbed and every corner we turned (it was a very windy road) seemed to reveal something even more beautiful. The streets were very narrow and many times we barely scraped by another bus. All the drivers had to honk their horns before rounding a corner because you never know who may be zooming down the other way (I’m talking to you, scooter drivers!)
Upon arriving at the Blue Grotto, we had to descend down a rather steep path to the water where the boats were waiting for us. I led the way because everyone else was quite old and walked slowly. The water at the bottom was filled with rowboats with Italian sailors shouting and yelling. And old couple from Holland said I could go in their rowboat with them so I did – how kind! Once in the boat (which rocked quite forcibly because of the waves), the Italian steered us around – while another sailor handed out wine to fellow sailors – until we were at the ticket boat. I was supposed to get a discount because I’m German and under 25, but it was really quite disorganized and chaotic. When there was enough space to get through the tiny cave opening, we all had to duck our heads and the sailor took us through. For the most part, the cave was dark despite them saying that the best time to go was between 12 and 2. Once your eyes adjusted, however, you could see how blue the water really was. The reason it’s so blue is because of sunlight, which enters the cave through an underwater opening positioned directly under the cave’s mouth. (I learned that from the flyer). Apparently in the olden days, local sailors used to avoid the grotto because they thought spirits lived in it. (Also learned that from the flyer). Anyway, we rowed around the grotto a few times while one of the sailors badly sung “Volare” and then we went back out and got off the boat. HUH?! That was it?! I didn’t realize it would be a mere five minutes in and out. I wasn’t the only one disappointed: the Dutch couple didn’t like it and an American family told me they thought it was overrated and wouldn’t do it again. Me neither!
I took the bus back down to Anacapri which is a quaint, little town mostly full of old people (from what I saw) and where I can imagine the sun always shining. All the stores were selling pastel coloured clothing that I can imagine myself wearing when I am a grandma. I wandered off the beaten track (I was actually trying to find villa San Michele but got lost) and then I had to ask quite a few people where Piazza Vittoria was. (The most important words you have to know in a foreign country are “where is”, “straight”, “left”, and “right”.) From Anacapri, I went to the town part of Capri. (By the way, the Italians pronounce it CAH-pree, not cah-PREE.) There are many nice walks you can take from here and you have to walk because the streets are too narrow for cars (except for golf-course sized carts which they use to transport supplies) and vespas aren’t allowed. I first walked to the Faraglioni rocks which had a lot of climbing up and down steps but it was overall very pleasant because all the flowers were in bloom and it smelled like my grandma’s garden. I then continued to the Natural Arch, which everyone I met along the way warned me about it being covered by scaffolding, but I decided to go anyway. It was a bit disappointing (especially after all the stairs I had to climb!) but the good thing was that it led me to another lookout point which was beautiful. From there, I walked back to the main piazza of Capri – past a man petting a cat, many lemon trees, and many flowers. I took the funicular back to the Marine.
The ferry shall be here any minute! Back to Sorrento I go!