Who cares about Capri? That’s what I was thinking when we were planning our 3-week trip to Italy back in 2008. What I knew of it was that it was a Mediterranean hoity-toity haunt for the rich. Maseratis, casinos and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, right?
“Mariah Carey has a house there,” my wife added. Thanks … all the more reason to keep my distance. We had other priorities: Positano, Sorrento, Matera, Puglia, Rome, Umbria, Tuscany…it was already a long list.
So when we rolled into Sorrento at the start of the trip — at the end of what my wife and I will forever refer to as The Longest Day in Human History: an 8am departure from Denver, an overnight flight from Philly, a rental car debacle in Rome, a two-hour train ride to Naples, a transfer to Sorrento on the stop-every-50-feet Circumvesuviana, a two-mile hike uphill to the hotel — Capri was not on the agenda. It wasn’t even close to creeping onto the agenda.
And yet within an hour at the Hotel Minervetta in Sorrento, we were decompressed. The boats in the Bay of Naples bobbed like sleeping ducks. Mt. Vesuvius crowned the horizon, looking like it had been in a good mood for a few decades. Authentic Campagna-style pizza and red wine filled our bellies. This corner of Italy was pretty damn special. Maybe we should see as much of it as we could.
A few days later, we left Positano and the Amalfi Coast so that we could take the afternoon ferry ride to the mystical island that gave us caprese salad and short pants. We had three hours — not much time — but upon pulling into the harbor, we knew this excursion would be worth it. Chalky cliffs rose in all directions, and a pastel village with a humble expression on its face hugged a low, green saddle that separated the island’s two peaks.
We beat feet to the depot and took the second hair-raising bus ride of the day: the precipitous journey from Capri to Anacapri, a landlocked town located high on the island’s rocky shoulder. The bus was standing room only, filled with — surprisingly — a lot of locals. Below us lay a sea whose color can only be described as cerulean. Between us? Air and vertical rock. Not much else.
Anacapri was pleasantly sleepy and clearly removed from the outside world. It’s town alleys ensconced us in white wash, and our feet tripped here and there on uneven pavers. With the exception of the school kids who skipped and sprinted around the piazza, the town was largely silent. We giggled at yet another Amalfi Coast restaurant named “Il Saraceno,” had ourselves some gelato, took fashionable pics of each other leaning stylistically against white walls (ahh, the days before kids), and then boarded the Dare Devil Bus to catch our ferry.
We missed a lot on Capri: the Blue Grotto, the Faraglioni sea stacks, P. Diddy and his yacht… But that was perfectly fine with me. For an island that has such a larger-than-life reputation, it’s quite small, and yet we still found a corner where local life felt like … well, local life as you see it elsewhere around Italy. For a blitzkrieg three-hours of observation, we got a pretty good sense for the place.
What prompted this post? Steve Jobs.
“Oh c’mon!” you must be saying. “If I read another tribute to that guy, I’m gonna——”
I should say that one of Jobs’ most unsuccessful products, one of his “biggest failures” — Apple TV — is prompting this post. We bought one of these devices back in July so that we could run slideshows of our travel photography on our TV. For under $100, its been worth it, and so I’m going back through the archives, and retouching photo sets for the upstairs boob tube.
Is this blog timely? No, not always. So what. The whole reason to take pictures is to capture a story so that you can retell it forever.