After our first night at our beautiful hotel in Sorrento, we hopped on a tour bus that would take us down to the ferries heading to Capri. When we arrived down there, we were surprised to see our guide from Pompeii, Francesco, who was to be our guide again that day. This was great as we knew that he was great at his job and it also helped that he was pretty good looking – in an academic scooter riding kind of way. It was quite a cloudy day and it had been raining earlier in the morning, but the sea looked reasonably calm which was good, as we were about to spend quite a bit of time on there as we made our way over to Capri.
The ferry ride was around 30-40 minutes and as soon as we arrived, a few of our group hopped on a small boat to take a tour around the island. It was much windier on Capri making the ocean a bit choppier, which in turn made the tour around the island in a smaller boat quite bumpy and at times a little scary. But it was an interesting little tour all the same, being able to see all the special rock formations around the island and see some of the amazing
houses mansions built into the cliff sides – I do believe one of the ones we saw had belonged to Sophia Loren once upon a time. We didn’t get to see the Blue Grotto, but we did see the Little Blue Grotto. Perhaps not quite as magnificent, but still very beautiful all the same. The ambience of the trip was added to by the running commentary of Francesco, broken every now and then by some singing from he and our boat driver. The dried and crusty saltwater on my face at the end of the tour was worth it.
Following the little boat tour, we met up with the rest of the group and went on a walking tour of the island, which included taking a bus up to Anacapri, the town right at the top of the island of Capri (the town of Capri is the one you are in when you first arrive on the island). As the roads are so narrow and windy heading up the mountain, regular sized buses and coaches are dangerous and impractical. So they have these cute little buses which are about the size of a large van, but look like mini buses, not vans (you can see one here) which are the perfect size for following the long, windy and at times scary roads up the island. Anacapri had the most stunning views and I would highly recommend going up there if you’re ever on Capri. It was also a bit quieter up there as there weren’t so many tourists. It was very windy though. At one point I saw a bird literally being blown around in the air as he struggled to land on the ground so he could walk to wherever he was going. We had to lean into the wind to walk. Good times! One must see in Capri is the Augustus gardens which have a magnificent view over the ocean and also a view down onto the Via Krupp – a steep walkway that consists largely of a series of super sharp hairpin turns cut into the mountain. It’s pretty amazing to look at. The gardens themselves aren’t huge (from what I saw) but if you don’t have much time on Capri, this is the best place to go to get beautiful photographs out over the water.
For those interested in the spending of money (i.e. shopping), there are some really unique places to shop. One of my favourites was Carthusia, a perfumery taking it’s name from the Carthusian monks who used to reside on the island. In the late 1300’s, one of the monks left some flowers in water for a few days and forgot about them. It was when he finally went to discard the flowers that he noticed the water had taken on the scent of the flowers and this was the first perfume of Capri. The monks continued to make perfume on Capri for centuries, completely by hand until the order eventually disappeared on Capri. These methods were revived with the birth of the Carthusia perfumery and the scents celebrate the flowers on the island and are probably the most natural smelling perfumes I’ve ever had the pleasure of sniffing. They also use the scents in body creams, lip balms and just about everything else you can imagine. There are several shops dotted around Capri and Anacapri, but make sure you stop by the factory in Capri (you’ll know it from the big pipe thing out the front). Not only can you buy the products there but you can also see out the back to where they actually make all the products, still by hand just as the monks did over six centuries ago. My favourite scent is the Mediterraneo – it has a beautiful lemon scent and is reminiscent of hot Mediterranean night insert sigh here. I also bought some lovely linen scarves at one of the street stalls in Anacapri. The linen is made in Italy and the scarves are made in Italy (unlike many of the boldly patterned ones I saw in other parts of Italy, which were made in China). I love scarves so these were a must have for me and at about €18 each, I thought they were a fair price. And if they weren’t, well I was on holiday so who cares. If you have time, there is also a shoe maker that has been on the island since 1946 and has been a favourite amongst the rich and famous for most of that time – in particular Jackie Kennedy, who had a sandal named after her. He makes genuine leather sandals to fit – they don’t keep a stock of sandals on hand, every pair is made to order and to the size of the person buying them. As you can imagine, this makes them a little pricier than just going into any old store and buying sandals, but if they are in your budget (average is probably around €200) then you should definitely go and check them out. If they’re not in your budget, go in anyway because the display shoes are pretty to look at. Also make sure you grab yourself a bottle of Limoncello while you’re on the island – or even the Limoncello creme, which has the same lemony flavour, but doesn’t burn quite so much on the way down. Finally, make sure you find a jeweller that sells the Capri watch. When I first saw a picture of the watch on the back of one of the cute little buses, I thought it was a bit tacky looking. But then one of the ladies on my tour bought one and I fell in love and knew I had to have one. Sadly myself and some of the other ladies decided we wanted one after we had left Capri, so you can imagine how much fun we had trying to find a Capri watch seller anywhere but Capri. But I’ll save that for another post. Just don’t do what I did – if you want one get it on the island. They are incredibly beautiful and unique and come in lots of colours and designs. Do it.
Anyway, after shopping we had lunch at a restaurant called Capri Moon. We had a fixed menu as we were part of a large group, but I can’t say that I was amazed by the food and some of the waiters were quite rude, which I had not experienced anywhere else on my holiday. If you aren’t part of a group it might be better, but judging by the fact that there were a couple of other tour groups in there at the same time, I would say that most of their clientele are tour groups, meaning that’s their usual standard of food. If you’re looking for lunch, I would recommend somewhere smaller – maybe even time it so that you are in Anacapri for lunch as it’s not quite so busy up there. But if you have to eat, you have to eat.
After lunch it was back on one of our little buses to head back down to the wharves to catch a ferry back to Sorrento. It had been a long day of walking and we were all pretty worn out by the end of it. There was definitely enough to see on Capri for us to spend an entire day there and I would recommend that anyone going there set aside a whole day to enjoy it.