Friday, August 3, 2012

Recess and Dismissal

I"m finally back in the states after a 24 hour day of flying.  It was a short two weeks in Italy, but I have to admit, it's nice to see the wide open spaces of America and to sleep in my own bed. By the way, Italians love America, because, as they said "Everything's so big there! The stores! The roads! The buildings!"  All the locals we talked to had been to the states at least once.  Where do they go when they come to the U.S? New York, Miami, Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas.

I wanted to end this blog with several pictures of the Amalfi Coast and the Isle of Capri, both of which are resort areas and a wonderful way to spend the last 4 days of our trip.  We stayed in Sorrento, which is right on the coast, across from Naples, (Napoli) Italy.  Sorrento is a charming little village but very touristy since the Amalfi Coast is one of the top ten vacation destinations for both Italians and the people of western Europe.  However, we could see why. Sorrento is one of the only coastal towns that's relatively flat, which makes walking much easier! Plus, the vistas of the bay are stunning!
Sorrento is on top of the bluff. The buildings on the water are part of the marina.
We spent one morning at the beach, but the beaches in Italy aren't anything like those along the Atlantic coast.  Because the shore line is mostly rock, the beaches consisted of a series of wooden docks extending out into the water.  As with everything in Italy, we had to pay to sit in a chair on the dock. We were prepared for this, thinking it might cost a couple euro a person to rent a chair, but it actually cost 8 euros ($11) per person plus 5 more for the umbrella that goes with it.  For the four of us, that added up to 52 euros or $67 to sit on the beach. Holy cow! Instead, we chose to stake out a spot in the very, very tiny public beach area. Setting up camp wasn't easy either, because the beach was so crowded. We swam in the cool, clear blue water, which was much saltier than the Atlantic.  This struck us as odd because even though the water tasted more saline, the air in Sorrento didn't have that same salty smell we associate with beach towns along the Atlantic.  Plus, there were no bugs and no sea gulls.  Lots and lots of pigeons though!

Each chair and umbrella cost 13 euros per person or $17 to rent, even those umbrellas you see on the sand. We didn't get a picture of the public beach because some of the swimwear was not especially appropriate. :)
To get in the water, mostly people jumped off the rocks.  
While we were staying in Sorrento, we took a ferry across the bay to the Isle of Capri.  If you are wondering like I was... Yes! This IS the island that capri pants were named after.  Evidently, the shortened style was all the rage on the island in the late 40's and 50's and the style was picked up by a famous clothing designer and made famous by Mary Tyler Moore who starred on the Dick van Dyke show. Historically, Capri has been the vacation spot of Romans for centuries. Only 12 thousand locals live on the island, the rest were tourists like us.  We visited both the town of Capri and Anacapri, ("ana" means higher). The island was breathtaking from any vantage point.  No wonder so many people go there!  We took a heart stopping trip to Anacapri considering the width of the road (one car), and the sheerness of the cliff should we make a wrong turn, but we made it! I heard Chelsea, who was sitting by the window, gasp a few times but the view was incredible!
This is where we were going, the Isle of Capri!

We were pulling into the marina on the island.  That's the main town, Capri, in the center.  Anacapri is on the bluff behind it. Before the invention of cars, people walked up 735 stairs to get to Anacapri! 

It was a 13 minute chairlift ride to get to the very top of the bluff.  Chelsea is on her way down.  The single chairs made the ride very serene. 

Our rode to Anacapri.  Yes, our small bus made it through with approximately 4 inches on either side.   I'll admit I held my breath a few times.  I kept repeating to myself, "The driver does this every day....the driver does this every day...." I really wanted to get a picture of the sheer cliff which our bus cleared with about 3 inches to spare, but honestly, I  couldn't force myself to look down.
The charming town of Capri
We took a boat ride around the island and went through the famous arch of the Faragilioni, or rocky outcroppings.  It is also one of the most photographed spots in all the world.

One of the many grottos around the island.  The most famous is the Grotto Azzure or Blue Grotto.  Look how iridescent the water is.  On a side note, I learned that a grotto is the italian word for any natural or manmade cave used by humans.  
One of the many luxury yachts moored in the bay.  This one is owned by the owner of Victoria's Secret and the Limited Clothing Stores.  It's called Limitless and is the 14th largest yacht in the world.  
This yacht is owned by Roman Abramovich, a russian business tycoon and owner of  Chelsea Football (soccer) Club in England.  It dwarfed the Limitless and was worth more than $115 million, one of the biggest, most expensive yachts in the world.  I wanted to take a field trip there, but unfortunately, it wasn't on my itenerary.  Rats.
The other 3 days we spent exploring the town, shopping, sleeping, eating, and relaxing.  It was a fantastic way to end our trip!

Once more, I'd to thank both Tom McGlothlin and the anonymous person who recommended me for this award.  This experience has certainly opened my eyes and made me a richer person. I've gained a wealth of information and I understand so much more about people, both past and present.  In the spirit of this award, I hope I've brought some of that understanding back to those of you who read my blog.  Arrivederci, friends!  Hmm, now where can I get some decent pizza.....?


  1. Welcome home to the USA Kate, Eric, Chels and Alex! It's been so enlightening to follow your blog. You've certainly educated us on the fascinating history and life style of Italy. The photos have been great.

  2. Oh, Kate, who told you that was The Limited Owner's yacht. That was actually me following you! Wow, the water looks like ice. So glad you and your family are back safe and sound. It is always nice to sleep with your own pillow & use your own bathroom. The smile on your face when we get back to school will be priceless. I enjoyed your vacation!