I heard of Capri. I wanted to visit Capri. I knew it would be expensive as everyone seemed to pour into this tiny little island off the gulf of Sorrento. It is the crown jewelry of the Tyrrhenian sea.
There are 2 sides – Capri and Anacapri. Capri, closer to Sorrento, is the port, with many restaurants, hotels on top of hotels, boutiques inside boutiques. It’s the land of 15 euro pizza and overpriced pasta. Anacapri is the sister village, only 20′ on bus from Capri yet hold some of the island main attractions – mount Solaro and its famously scary chairlift , Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), Villa San Michelle and a few more. I opted to stay in Anacapri to soothe my funemployment pocket.
So at first I booked in one of the cheapest airbnb but has great view and a pool in Anacapri. Then I decided against it to spend more time in Almafi Coast. Then I was convinced by Isabella to just go there even to stay only 1 night and make some nice pretty sandals there. Using up my hotels.com award, I managed to get a hotel in Anacapri just the day before getting to Capri. The ferry took me from Ischia to Capri port in less than an hour, where the hotel manager greeted me at gate 21 in a tiny van. There were another English lady on solo trip and a young couple. As we squeezed our way out of the packed marina, we started climbing up the mountain road between the 2 villages. I was relieved I did not plan to ride a scooter here. I would freak! The driver skillfully took us through the smallest alley that somehow still fit the car and arrived at Hotel Il Girasole (which means Sunflower).
The hotel is a little run down, 1980 styles, yet it has a pool and a large veranda with impeccable views of the ocean and Ischia island. That’s a nice surprise! I asked the hotel manager about a nearby restaurant called Da Gelsomina and got his approval. He also offered to help me arrange for the pick up service. Hospitality at its grandeur!
After arranging my little things and taking many good photos of the view, I headed down to the main square for a walk and some late lunch. Anacapri around 12-2pm is nice and quiet as all the day-trippers are now flocking down Grotto Azzurra to catch the best time of the light. There were an ongoing Pizza festival that weekend I learnt as I saw random colorful pizza ovens were set up on the street. In front of the big cathedral, a small stage was being prepared for the yearly outdoor concert. A few people sat down for the rehearsal performance. The streets are small and clean and crammed with restaurants, bars and boutiques. Handmade leather sandals, linen fashions, ceramics, Italian condiments, lemon and all its products – to name a few. I found Antonia Viva shop as from Isabella’s recommendation. In total honesty, I was not crazy about the all complicated dedicated strappy look of the sandals here – I had become way too practical and minimalist in my attire for the last 2 years. I tried them on and made my final no as the soles were so stiff and slippery. Really just for show sandals. I settled at a small cafe with a humble 4 star on Google review and order just a seafood pasta. I really wanted to save myself for dinner (I did had a massive dinner at Ischia’s Nano Cantino the night before and still stuffed!). Here even in the cheaper side of the island, you still expect to pay 25 euro for a very average lunch.
The island was baked under the sun. 39*C is not my forte. A lot of A/C and some swimming later, I sat on the porch watching out to the sunset, the best I had ever seen. The sun was glowing like a fireball falling down casting its dark shadow on the calm sea. Far away is the symmetrical cone shape of Ischia. The sky changed its coat from blue to orange to red to mulberry. Everything was still, so still at that moment, wondering what an incredible chore that universe had done. Even my mind was calm.
At 8.30, a tiny van from Da Gelsomina picked me up and climbed up the hill. In the car there were 2 more ladies from the accent of whom I knew they were American. The restaurant lied on the hill top, even higher than hotel Il Girasole with its outdoor pool and al fresco dining room. As I waited to be seated, the host come and took a couple, then the 2 ladies BEHIND me. I looked at him and said politely “Excuse me, would you ask if I need a table please?”. He looked at me in dismay like the first time in his life he was asked to wait on a customer. “Only you?”. I didn’t say anything. The 2 blonde yelled “Oh you can sit with us if you want”. I turned around eyes in a bullet shape “Thank you, but no thank you”.
Then I was seated in a corner of the restaurant, the darkest corner where mosquitoes were await for their Asian dinner. And I seated. I finished 2 glasses of wine and I was still seated, the idiot waiter was still busy serving the blonde. After much of a hassle, I wandered to the fish tank, counting fish to take attention from the CHEF. Then finally I was served. Food was delicious and expensive (very) and I shall not return.
The next day I aimed to explore the Capri side in the early morning before the 10am mark of day-tripper arrival. Taking a small local bus to the other side, at some point, i thought i was thrown out to the seas and at another point, i thought we had crashed a scooter to the rock! From the bus station I started walking toward Faraglioni passing many fancy boutiques. I wondered what a boring holiday it would be – trapped in a beautiful and expensive island with very limited beach time, tiny hotels, drink limoncello, and do nothing but shop at Versace, Prada, Misoni, etc.
The rain started as i reached the beach club down the cliff, stormy to be true. I looked out to the sea to all those tiny dingy boat and it scared the s*** out of me. I have always been scared of open water, especially choppy open water.
On the way back to the main square to visit Via Krupp, I heard a shiny voice singing O Sole Mio – it’s the lemonade seller. Her Granitta di Lemone is the most expensive as well as the most disgusting in town. I forked out 3 euro just to hear her sing. And guess who else? Everyone.
The famous Via Krupp was one of the most beautiful road in the world zigzaging from the cliff down the water toward Marino Picolo. The view from the top down the silk like road to the turquoise water is very charming. I was rather disappointed the Via Krupp was no longer accessible and will never be completed due to falling rocks. It would have been amazing to walk all the way to Marina Picolo listening to the ocean waves. And you paid a fine 5 euro just to get in the tiny Augustus garden to look at the walkway.
By the time I left Augustus garden it’s around noon and the town is so so crowded. I wandered around checked out a few restaurant and get into one with many celebrity review. 25 euro later, I had a pizza and a glass of wine. Pick up a pretty leather sandal (not strappy!) on my way back to the bus stop, i squeezed myself in a full of teenagers ride back to anacapri, ready for a good nap. Should i go to the blue grotto? Should I stayed in this heat for an hour and then pay silly money to get in a cave? Lucky me, as the sea was rough, the cave was closed that day. A perfect afternoon to chill on the porch!
On my last day in Capri, I decided to take the famous chairlift to mount Solaro instead of 2 hour hiking up. It’s scary as f***. just a chair, with a handle across your front, and off you go, all airy up the mountain. You can walk around and take in the entire island in your eyes. So so beautiful! This is definitely the best 11 euro I had spent on the island.
My verdict – if you have money to splash, go to Capri and stay a few night. The island is way better at night, before 10 and after 5.30pm as only the true holiday makers are left behind. Calmer and quieter.