Thursday, October 15, 2009
The Aegean Sea Cruise: Beautiful Capri
Yesterday we sailed due south along the Mediterranean Sea and arrived in beautiful and sunny Naples. Just offshore in view were the islands of Capri and Ischia. We were briefly in Naples last year, on our way to a very memorable day in Sorrento. I still talk about Sorrento to this day. The name of Naples dates back to when the Greeks founded this spot calling it “Neapolis” which translates to “new city” and later evolved to Napoli when the Italians conquered it sometime in the 4th Century BC. This region has incredible natural beauty from its highly fertile lands that produce copious amounts of food products. During the Roman Empire, Naples was known as the bread basket to the empire. Today Naples is a busy densely populated city with charming hustle bustle. Naples has a thriving art scene balanced with its history, traditions and local southern Italian culture. Since we've been to Naples before, we decided to spend more time in Capri. This photo below is what we saw when the hydrofoil arrived at the port.
Capri is a charming island whose name means “goat island”. It is stunningly beautiful with a base of limestone so the rocks look white. Emperor Augustus built a villa here because of the natural beauty of the island, so there is a fair amount of history still evident. As we walked around Capri, we saw some incredible villas with such beauty it made me humble. I could easily live here!
While exploring Capri, we took the Funiculare (cable car) up the hill to the
main area of Capri where we found shops, restaurants, bakeries, churches and all kinds of fun things. I passed by a pasticerria (bakery) that was baking. It drew me in and I had to buy a brioche, which was still warm. Later, we passed a restaurant that was making the dough for its pizza right in the open window. We went back to that restaurant for lunch; we had fresh Capricciolo pizzas, fresh home-made ravioli, fresh crusty Italian bread and vino rosso, of course! It was a delicious lunch for sure!
We took a ride up to the town of Anacapri, situated way up high over Capri. This tiny yet elegant neighborhood was so beautiful. Mostly residential, its shops and restaurants gave you the sense this was all for the locals. This was where we spent a great deal of time. Without a doubt, this ranks up as one of the most beautiful places I have seen throughout Europe. For some reason it just clicked for me. A brief 12 minute ride up a chairlift brought us to the very top of the mountain, offering stunning views of the island, its rocky coast and of the azure-blue waters below.
Despite having facilities and shops for tourists, the island of Capri does not feel like a heavy tourist destination. It has the sense of an island that is primarily occupied by locals who allow tourists to stop by. One interesting observation was that among the winding, elegant streets of high end retail shops and restaurants, there wasn’t a single vacancy or closed store. (This contrasts sharply with what I’ve seen almost everywhere else I travel, where lots of shops went out of business). Even high end places like Beverly Hills in LA have lots of stores that have gone out of business. For some reason Capri seems to be doing well. Perhaps a testament to the popularity of this wonderful island. Here are some photos of Capri. Sorry they are random, I can't seem to arrange them properly:
My apologies for the crazy formatting of photos and descriptions. I'm really struggling with the new Blogger software. While still early on the journey, Capri is sure to remain a highlight of this cruise. Today we are at sea all day, en route to Athens! Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate it.
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