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Published: April 12th 2013
After a week off getting up "whenever", today started with the unfortunate necessity of arising early in order to get coffee and a light breakfast prior to catching the ferry to Capri. From Positano the ferry ride is about one hour. Seas were fairly calm today.
Capri has seen human habitation since the Stone Age, but became a Roman resort and refuge during the Republic and Empire. Augustus had a large villa there, and in 27 CE Tiberius established himself there and ruled from Capri until he died about ten years later. The Villa Jovis established by Augustus is still a popular tourist destination. The two towns on the island are Capri city surrounding and slightly above the harbor, and Anacapri, high above the sea.
But the bucket list item is the Blue Grotto (Grotto Azzura). As we left the ferry from Positano, we immediately purchased tickets for a tour of the Blue Grotto. The Grotto is a few minutes by boat from the harbor. We got on board, and with powerful motors thrumming under our seats, tinny speakers playing Dean Martin extolling the virtues of pasta fagioli in "That's Amore", and our boat captain half-standing, half-sitting and dancing
on the tips of his toes, we headed for the Grotto. The route takes you along sheer limestone cliffs rising several hundred feet above you. Reminded me of the back side of Molokini - I kept waiting for the boat to pull up to the wall and drop us in for our dive. When you get to the Grotto, they have a very efficient process for separating you from an inordinate amount of money, giving you the briefest of tours, and getting you back on your way. Only very small rowboats can enter the very small opening, so they pull up to the boat that brought you, and four people per rowboat are loaded. Then they row you over to the ticket boat where three men looking like Vegas pit bosses are dispensing tickets and taking your money, then you row to the entrance. When getting on the rowboat, you are made to virtually lie down on top off one another, sort of of a supine version of a formation the Navy called nuts to butts. As you approach the entrance to the grotto, the oarsman ships the oars, grabs two chains, and as a wave subsides to give a
larger opening, lies back on top if you and pulls you through. The opening is certainly less than three feet tall.
Inside, you can barely see, particularly if you are on the bottom of the scrum. But the name comes from the brilliant aqua blue color the water takes on as sunlight lights it from outside. While you are enjoying a leisurely 3-4 minute visit, the oarsmen sing touristy songs such as Funuculi, Funicula and Torna a Sorrento. Actually, saying they sing may be somewhat exaggerating the reality. Once back outside, you are quickly returned to your waiting transport. With the boat captain still dancing, now to the Village People doing YMCA and Macho Man, you are whisked back to the harbor. Needless to say, an excursion of this magnitude required sitting in the sun for a while with a glass of Greco di Tufo.
A short visit to Anacapri seemed essential. A somewhat hairy bus ride takes you up. There are a couple of museum type attractions and a lot of shops, but nothing real distinctive. Coming back, we must have gotten on the wrong bus because it dropped us in the upper part of Capri city,
so we took the funicular the rest of the way. That called for another couple of glasses of Greco di Tufo, then we boarded the ferry for our return.
Tomorrow: ad libitum
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