The water looks so serene and is dotted with fishing boats, a few pleasure yachts and today a four-masted cruise ship sits just offshore. A gull cries overhead as it swoops to catch a fish. Our faces warmed by the sun, we are waiting at the pier by the beach in Positano to board a ferry for the 30-minute ride toCapri—an island off the coast.
Capri started occupying an important role in the political and military matters of the Roman Empire when Ottaviano, not yet Augustus, landed here in 29 BC and, struck by the incredible beauty of the island, took it from Naples, in exchange fo rIschia. After Ottaviano, the Emperor Tiberius resided on the island for a decade and it was from Capri that he managed the interests of the Empire. Ruins of Tiberius’ villa can still be seen.
Marina Grande where the ferry docks is a colorful village on the waterfront clustered with souvenir shops and cafes. It was so crowded with tourists, however, (were we beginning to think that we were the locals?) that we decided to take a taxi to the town of Anacapri on top of the island to explore the shops and have lunch. After we finished our pizza margherita, David, Ben and I boarded the “funicular” (a one person chair lift) up to Mount Solaro, which is the highest point on the island. The views of the village below and the deep turquoise sea were spectacular.
At the top we searched for the trail that we had heard you could hike back down to Anacapri.
“Dove e la traccia a Anacapri? (Where is the trail to Anacapri?)” I asked one of the funicular operators?
He looked surprised as most tourists rode the funicular round trip.
“Vada dietro il negozio (go behind the store)”, he explained waving his hand in the direction of a faded sign and worn path.
We started the trek down which took us about 45 minutes through a quiet forest, an old cemetery and numerous back yards. Chickens, stray dogs and children playing gave us a look at the countryside where the local people lived and worked. It was a hot day and we were perspiring by the time we got to the bottom of the trail.
We found Brandi and Kirsten enjoying cups of gelato while they waited for us. We purchased bottles of water from the tabacchi shop and flagged a cab to take us back to Marina Grande.
“Buona Sera,” greeted a wiry man with a wide smile as we exited the cab. “Would you like to go on a boat trip around the island?” he asked in English.
He explained that he would take us on a tour for less than the big tour boats charged. We had been thinking of visiting the famed Grotta Azzurra, or Blue Grotto where if the tides are right, you can take a low boat through the shallow opening into a cave to see the water glowing a deep cobalt blue due to the light refraction. We decided to take him up on it. He led us to a medium sized motor boat and led us onboard.
The salt spray felt good on our parched faces. We saw lots of natural rock formations and Mussolini’s house on a cliff. Our boat driver, Alfonzo, showed us three other rocky grottos and asked us if we wanted to go swimming.
Brandi, Kirsten and I were wearing dresses and the boys were wearing Bermuda shorts. None of us had thought to wear a bathing suit! The boys decided it sounded like a good idea, pulled off their t-shirts and jumped in the water in their Bermuda shorts. Kirsten wanted to go too and asked Ben if she could wear his t-shirt into the water. When he consented, she discreetly removed her bra and sundress and wearing only her bikini panties and one of the boy’s t-shirts, she dove in after them. They splashed around in the cool water and swam to some jagged rocks protruding out near the rocky coastline.
After they got back on the boat, the driver couldn’t keep his eyes off Kirsten’s wet t-shirt which left little to the imagination. She slipped her sundress on over the wet t-shirt, slid the t-shirt off without exposing herself and then put her bra on from underneath the sundress. Alfonzo kept grinning through the whole process. By the time we were back to the marina, the boat driver had invited her for gelato later that afternoon and told her that if she ever wants to go around the island again, she could go for free as long as she goes swimming.