Friday, September 21, 2012

L'isola e La Barca (The Island and the Boat)

Before I say anything. Here is the photo that I mentioned before of me and my buddy from Pompeii. What a champ! I couldn't help but give him some of that pastry after this perfectly-captured moment.

True Love
And so the story continues! As a quick reminder, we had just spent the night in Sorrento after a long rainy day. So... bright and early we got a move on because we had a big day planned: Capri!

After grabbing a delicious breakfast at the hostel bar, we started heading down to the harbor to catch the ferry to Capri. Instantly we knew it was going to be an amazing day...

Beauty in Sorrento
We had to hike our way down a like a hundred stairs to the bottom and then walk down that street to the harbor, which was great except for the ravenous pack of wild Americans that were in our way. They were totally hogging the stairs! Ironically enough, we ran into this particular group of travelers many times this weekend in various cities completely by coincidence, and every time they were extremely annoying.

However, we made our way down the lovely street into the harbor, which was also wonderful.

Looking back up the hill to Sorrento
On the ferry to Capri I had a lovely conversation with an Italian woman of about 50 who was with her husband trying to find a place to stay for the night. They noticed that I spoke Italian because they heard me on the phone cancelling our reservations for that night because we wanted to stay in Positano rather than Amalfi, which is where we were planning on staying. 

Upon arrival in Capri, I was absolutely blown away. I had taken one step onto the island and it was just incredible.

My first view of Capri
Yes, this is a real place. It's not just made on a green screen in movies. Of course we had to stop for a photo-op before we even left the dock!

La Bella Capri
We meandered about the harbor area for a bit, checking out the little shops and open-air market. As we walked, we found a sign that said Capri Centrale (Downtown Capri) so we started up a little flight of stairs. Little did we know that this "little flight of stairs" was in fact quite the hike (approximately 25 minutes up to the top) that required a bit of endurance. Along the way, we found out that the house owners don't take kindly to strangers...

"Pay Attention to the Dog and the Landlord"
Although the hike was tiring, it was well worth it. Check out the view from the top!

At the top of Capri
And here's a group photo :)

The Group at the top of Capri
Upon shopping around for decent prices on meals, we found a nice price and wonderful view overlooking the town and sea where we all got some rather delicious pizzas.

Although my pizza only cost 10 Euro, I ended up paying 18 Euro because of 3 things:
1) Service Charge (fairly standard in Italy)
2) EXPENSIVE 5 Euro .75 liters of water ( Usually 2 Euro for a 1 liter bottle)
3) Island Tax (Oh come on!)

Needless to say, we didn't exactly buy a lot of things up at the top of Capri. However, here is the wonderful view from our lunch table.

La vista del pranzo
During lunch, we were talking how cool it would be to get married over at the first area where we took our group photo overlooking the area. They have cool pillars and an incredibly open feel that just makes it a perfect wedding spot. You would never believe this, but guess what happened...

Moments after this conversation, these guys rolled up in their sweet car!

Wedding Couple
Of course I had to go up to them and say "Auguri!!!" which means Congratulations! It was such a beautiful moment to witness. 

After the seeing the wedding couple, we were truly loving Capri, but we had sort of seen everything. That is, until we walked around the harbor a bit and found out about a VERY inexpensive boat rental that allowed us to get a boat for 2 hours that fit all 8 of us on it and I got to drive it! No tour guide even came with us. Amazing!

Captain Jason
My first mate, Eric, and I drove us all around the entire Island! Wow, it was undeniably the coolest thing I have done in Italy, and it gets better!

First Mate Eric and I
Kara and I were baffled by the awesomeness of this experience, so we reveled in our enjoyment!

Kara and I
Here's a shot of the boys during our voyage in the sea.

Da Boyz
As we drove around, we came across this really cool lighthouse next to a beachfront resort.

Resort (Left) Lighthouse (Right)
Here's another angle on it, with a sailboat passing by in front.

Lighthouse and Sailboat
All around Capri there were houses on cliffs and in other strange and seemingly dangerous, yet totally amazing locations.

My dream home
We eventually found a perfect spot to anchor at and go swimming. Unfortunately I have no photos of it, but it was amazing! The sun was shining, the water was the perfect temperature. Not cold, but absolutely refreshing! We anchored near a little cave that we swam into and chilled in for a bit. Next to the cave was a bunch of rocks that I climbed up to the top of, and behind all the rocks and the cave was a little, cute, private sandy beach to hang out on. This was definitely the perfect spot for us to stop and relax.

Finally we ended getting back on land, where we hung out by the beach for a while, waiting for our ferry.

Beaching it
As we sat, we attempted to figure out our plans for hostel for the night. Fortunately, we found this perfect Hostel Birkette in Positano that had a bunch of fun young people staying there as well as working there, super cheap drink specials, and really amazing designs all over the walls everywhere. The lady working there when we showed up had promised us a room all to ourselves, but when we arrived it turned out she had forgotten that someone else had checked in there earlier. Fortunately, although we ended up splitting up, she gave a couple people in our group an upgrade to a better room without paying anymore, even though it should have cost more.

The main downside was the hike up to the hostel. The girl working reception didn't inform us of the bus to the top of the hill, so yet again we made a dreadfully tough hike up all the way to the top of Positano. It probably took us a good 45 minutes of extremely steep staircases to make it to the hostel. The shower that I took once we got settled in was much needed!

This is a 3 in Scopa
That night, I learned the very Italian card game of Scopa!! In this game, there are no numbers on the cards, but instead they have pictures that represent the numbers. I managed to pick up the game pretty quickly, playing against one of the Hostel workers who had only lost once. Normally when you play this game, the loser pays for a drink for the winner, but he wasn't going to because it was my first time playing. I told him that I was game to play for a drink anyways. I took him into double overtime and he told me that I did so well that he couldn't accept a drink from me. Here we are!

Giocamo a Carte (Playing Cards)
On my way out of Positano, I absolutely had to buy myself a pack of Scopa playing cards as a souvenir reminder of this fun night, and to show my friends back home the wonders of Scopa!

And so ends day two of my awesome weekend! I promise to finish this weekend very soon as I have more exciting things to tell you about already!

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