My first morning in Italy was everything I’d hoped! I have been conflicted between whether or not I should sleep in and waste valuable time or to have a relaxed schedule. I tend to overdo everything, so I’m planning on the happy medium. This morning I slept in until 9am. Still battling some jet lag and getting to bed late justified this decision.
I got out of bed, got dressed and stepped out onto my balcony. The street directly below me was quiet, but I could hear the bustling of a town that was already alive with tourists and merchants.
I checked the breakfast hours and was surprised when I realized they quit serving at 10:00 instead of 11:00!I Kiya gets cranky when she misses her breakfast! I quickly headed to the rooftop terrace where there was a buffet with an amazing spread of food to choose from. The sun was already out and beaming down, so I chose a table shaded by some of the terrace vegetation. A very friendly Italian girl was attending to guests and I liked her even more when she brought me some much needed coffee! The best part of my breakfast was the strawberries. They were small and very apparently home grown.
With check-out time drawing near, I hurried back to my room to pack. Alessandro informed me the day before that I could leave my bag at the desk if I didn’t want to carry it around Sorrento with me. I walked down the beautiful spiral staircase to the front desk where Carolina was waiting. After checking out I headed out on the town. Sorrento is known for its fresh citrus fruits, so I couldn’t pass up fresh squeezed orange juice! When I say fresh, I mean I watched her take the oranges out of the basket, make the juice, and pour it out of the container. It was delicious!
I walked the main street in Sorrento, perusing the shop windows and looking for something that would beg me to come in and look around. Would you be surprised if I told you the first shop to do so was a gelateria? This time I had Nociotella, Pistachio and Crema di Frutta. My only disappointment was that I didn’t get to savor each bite as long as I’d hoped as I was in a race with the sun.
As I continued to walk down the street I came upon the bell tower, and the cathedral. As is usually the case, the interior of the cathedral was extremely ornate.
In one area I saw a little angel sculpture with his arm broken off. He was up pretty high and I couldn’t help but wonder how he lost his arm, and how long ago? I can just imagine some irresponsible Italian hundreds of years ago carrying something by and Oooops!
With nowhere in particular to go, I decided to explore. I came upon some beautiful streets, the Piazza di Vittoria with an amazing view of the coast and ocean, many types of fragrant flowers, some jovial Italian workers on lunch, and some clueless tourists.
For safety purposes, I chose my wardrobe with hopes of “fitting in”. I didn’t want to do anything to draw attention to myself. Apparently I succeeded because I had two different people come to me and ask me a question in Italian. I have no idea what they said, but at least I look the part!
As I’d been planning my trip, I’d read on TripAdvisor about a beautiful lagoon area that was a good walk from the historical center, but well worth it if you had the time. With my next destination only a 20 minute ferry ride away, I decided to take the time to try to go. The map was confusing and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but it would be an adventure nonetheless. I knew if I made it, I would have the opportunity to swim. I headed back to Magi House and grabbed my swimsuit out of my bag, but Carolina said there was nowhere for me to change. This would mean I would have to go into a business and buy something in order to use their restroom.
When I’d had dinner with the DC couple the night before, they were telling me the surgeon who did the gentleman’s esophagectomy was Italian and made a long list of things they had to do while in Italy. The only thing they didn’t get done was to visit an enoteca. I decided I would do it for them. I had passed a little entoteca called Ristorante con Giardino Enoteca on my walk earlier and went back for a glass of wine. I was greeted by a very nice woman who welcomed me in and showed me a table. Though I’d only had plans to drink a glass of wine, I couldn’t pass up the meat and cheese plate. I ordered a local wine to Sorrento, the Falanghina Beneventana for €4 and the Piatto di formaggi stagnate e salumi. The wine was of the most fragrant I’ve ever smelled. I’m not good at wine scents, but I could smell the fruit in this one! I also received some bread with the meat and cheese tray. In the middle of the tray was a small bowl full of honey. It tasted so different than the honey I’m used to, and actually had a taste similar to the scent of a flowering tree I remember from my grandparent’s house in Connecticut.
As soon as I was finished, I headed to the bathroom and changed into my swimsuit. I then started my journey to Bagni Regina Giovanna. Initially the sidewalk was adequate and I encountered many other tourists. The further I got from the city center, the smaller the sidewalk got, and I there were fewer people.
What would have been a peaceful walk was slightly stressful as I carefully hugged the wall distancing myself from the buses, cars and Vespas that nearly struck me. Suddenly, one of the Vespas that drove by, stopped ahead. I knew what was coming. I’d been warned and so far was doing pretty good avoiding such situations. I approached and passed the Italian man on the Vespa. Maybe pretending not to see him would help? No… “Ciao Bella!” I kept walking. The Italian man on the Vespa drove up to me and started talking to me. Under normal circumstances I like the opportunity to use my Italian, but here I thought simply saying “inglese” would deter him from pursuing me further. No…. “Oh, you speak English?” Uhhhhh…. so in a nutshell, from what I could decipher, his name was Tony. He is friendly and wants to meet up later. Would I like that? Am I going to the beach? He could take me. I simply told him I wasn’t interested, to which he asked if I was married. For a split second I thought about saying yes, but I knew I didn’t have a ring on and he would wonder where my husband was. I told him I had a serious boyfriend and I was just walking. He exclaimed how “bella” I am, and I said “grazie” as I quickly walked away. (What I didn’t know was that I was supposed to turn right but I was so distracted I ended up walking 5 minutes in the wrong direction).
Once I finally got back on the right track, I entered the cobblestone pathway to Bagni Regina Giovanna. It was long and narrow, and for once I was walking downhill! There was not a soul in sight and it was so serene.
Every time I turned a corner, there was another long path ahead of me. Suddenly, I turned a corner and saw ocean. There were multiple pathways through the grass and I wondered which I’d need to take to get to the lagoon. I passed one. Then another. Suddenly I decided to try one and see where it took me, and lo and behold, I chose correctly and it led me directly to one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen! Surrounded by rock, this little lagoon had greenish-blue water that was crystal clear. It was secluded and while there weren’t a lot of people there (initially), I couldn’t help but wish I had the whole thing to myself.
I took some photos. I took some videos. I swam. I sat on the rocks and soaked it all in. Meanwhile I kept hearing what sounded like thunder. The view of the sky was limited by the rock cliffs that surrounded the lagoon, but straight above me it was sunny skies! I figured it must be boats nearby. I decided I probably needed to head back since I needed to get to Capri at a reasonable time.
I walked through the grass up to the top of the rock cliff at which point I saw it was extremely dark up north. I was not hearing boats. I thought, “It will be fine, it’s too far north.” About that time I felt a raindrop. I put my shoes on and decided I better turn my leisurely stroll up a notch, just in case. As it turns out, booking it up a hill like that is pretty rough. I had been dealing with allergies before I left Kansas City, and there was a point I actually had to stop and focus on my breathing. I decided the secluded walkway in the middle of nowhere was not the best time to have problems breathing. For a split second, I was actually really worried. I chilled out for a minute, and it passed. I decided booking it up that hill was an inferior option to taking my time and getting a little wet. It was only sprinkling, anyway.
Enter torrential downpour. By the time I got back to the road, it was dark everywhere and there was frequent thunder and lightning. I’m not afraid to get wet, but it literally started raining so hard I couldn’t keep it out of my eyes. All I could do was laugh! I figure being caught in a thunderstorm on the Amalfi Coast is not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
Just when I thought it couldn’t rain any harder, it rained harder. I admittedly kind of wished Tony would drive back by on his Vespa so I could catch a ride! Where’s Tony when you need him? I finally decided to take refuge under an awning of a nearby hotel. As soon as I got under it, I heard a voice from above me. I looked up and it was an Italian man asking if I wanted to come up. Really?! No! It was letting up anyway, so I proceeded on and the sun was back out before I reached the city center!
Now let me defend myself here. I have been repeatedly checking the forecast, AND Alessandro told me the weather was going to be beautiful AND the card on my desk at the hotel had the week’s forecast and there was no rain in it. Oh well… adventure!
I finally got back to Magi House and caught the front of my sandal coming up the stairs. I was able to catch myself with my hands on the top stair but the tile was still wet and I slid all the way down to my stomach, though it was slow and semi-controlled! I looked up and Alessandro’s toothy smile was replaced with a look of concern and surprise. I convinced him (finally) that I was ok. When you fall as much as I do, you take it with a grain of salt.
Before grabbing my bag, I was able to get a photo with Alessandro. He was so nice and welcoming and made my first stay in Italy a great one! I was kind of sad to leave, but on to the next!
The 80 degree incline and 30 million stairs was so much easier on the way down, and after my day, I welcomed it. I got to the port and bought a ferry ticket to Capri. When he handed it to me, he said, if you hurry you can catch it. I looked at the ticket and it was for 4:45pm. I looked at my phone and it was 4:45. Seriously?! I didn’t even know where I was going, so I headed to the same place I got dropped off the day before. The only boat at port was a cruise ship. No ferry in sight. I looked at my ticket to try to find instructions on where it would be, assuming I’d already missed it. Suddenly I saw the number 6. I looked up on the wall and the numbers went from 1-5. Ahhhhhh… must be the other side. So I ran all the way back, over the stairs and there was #6! People were still coming off the boat, so I was able to take a breather and relax for a minute.
Twenty minutes later I arrived to Capri. The port was crowded with day-trippers ready to return back to the mainland. I pushed my way through and pulled up my map. You would think having a map would make it easy to find the hotel. Unfortunately, it was not. The first 5 minutes were great… left here, right here, take my first left – but wait… there’s a stairway to “center”. I knew my hotel was in the center of Capri and I have been refusing transportation with the hopes of getting additional exercise. There was a funicular that went up to the city center. That should have been my first clue.
I headed up the stairs. Remember that 80 degree incline and 30 million stairs in Sorrento? That was a downhill slide compared to this. I thought I was going to die. My feet hurt from sliding around in wet sandals and I felt I was literally walking straight up. In fact, I was.
I wish I had counted, or had a fitbit or something. If you have never climbed this path, there is no description that will do it justice to make you understand how grueling it was. Once I finally got to the center, La Piazzetta di Capri, I pulled out the map again. I had no idea which direction I was facing so I just chose a direction and went with it. As it turns out, it was the wrong direction. It’s always the wrong direction when your feet hurt. I ended up making a big circle and finally got to Il Gatto Bianco. I was greeted by two men who acknowledged my last name was Italian and joked they would give me a discount!
One of the men took me to my room. He barely said a word and once he unlocked my room he just turned around and walked away! (Not that there is much to the room to explain).
I set my stuff down and then noticed there was a bag and jacket on the chair. I decided someone was going to be really upset when they got back to the mainland and realized they forgot a bag. Woops! How does that happen? I decided they weren’t going to be seeing it again anytime soon, so I had time to take a shower.
Once I got cleaned up, I brought the belongings to the front desk where Mr. No Personality told me he thought they must’ve been delivered to 214 instead of 114. Lucky for them, I’m an honest person.
I strolled the streets of Capri up to La Piazzetta.
I had read that after the day-trippers leave, everyone comes to the square to socialize. That was definitely the case! It was full of people enjoying their aperitifs! I chose a table on the outside and the people watching commenced. There were people dressed to the nines. There were people dressed like they were going to a party. There were people dressed like they were going to the beach. I saw poor outfit choices and I saw extremely chic women. The men were overall very stylish, although I saw one middle aged gentleman in way to tight skinny jeans walking through the square barefoot. Three couples dressed extremely well walked through and 3 photographers were taking their pictures. I don’t know who the people were, but I think the photographers were paparazzi. They seemed to be waiting for them and as the group walked by, they paid no mind to being photographed.
I sat on the square and ate a Caprese salad (because you have to in Capri) and drank my Prosecco.
The sun began to set, so I armed myself with some gelato (Straciatella and Caffe) before sitting on a bench to watch the sun go down. Clouds were drifting in and though the sun was below the mountain, I could still see pinks and oranges peeking out from behind.
I came back to the room to look for my credit card and suddenly was overwhelmed with fatigue. I was out at 8:30pm! Not how I intended to spend my evening in Capri, but I guess I needed the rest! Consequently, I’ve been up since 2:30am. The sun is up now, and I’ve been able to write this blog post watching the sunrise.
A worthy alternative to staying up late, in my opinion. It was 4:30am before the streets became quiet. I figure I can take a nap and be back up and at ’em before most of Capri!