The acquamarine Blue Grotto - hobnobbing in Capri

The brilliant sheen of the sparkling emerald tinged waves rhythmically lapping against the sides of denizens of pristine boats languishing along the pebbled shore of Marina Grande were some of the first sights and sounds which greeted me as I giddily placed my pink sneakered foot on the famous isle of Capri. Situated in the Bay of Naples, a few kilometres from picturesque Sorrento, this majestic playground of the rich and famous is an Amalfi Coast gem – a treasure worth exploring, whether as a budget conscious day-tripper or as a bling-blinged jetsetter leisurely squandering away time and money in the pursuit of excess indulgence.

A mere 6 km long and 2.7 km wide, the isle of Capri has long seduced and enticed, its weatherworn limestone crags jutting out of brilliant aquamarine sea – home to Homer’s mythical Sirens, whose hypnotizing melodies so mesmerized and captivated Odysseus and his sea farer crew, that they narrowly escaped being lured to an untimely shipwrecked demise.

The allure and mystique of this Mediterranean oasis continues to this day, bewitching and enchanting current generations, from celebrities to just ordinary everyday folk.  Once regarded as a chi -chi exclusive retreat for “the out of this stratosphere ultra elite” (i.e. – think of Jackie Onassis and Princess Grace of Monaco), Capri is now quite accessible, but not necessarily affordable, to the multitudes of gawking curious tourists anxious to mingle amongst the swank upper crust, hoping that a smidgen of privileged fairy dust might also magically flutter their way.

A not to be missed “must-see” highlight of this spellbinding isle is the “Grotta Azzurra” - a teal coloured shimmering limestone sea cave - discovered in the early 19th century by a German writer, whose vivid depictions of the cavern’s aquamarine blue waters instantaneously catapulted Capri into one of the world’s most sought out travel destinations.  Once believed to be inhabited by witches and monsters, the once shunned “Blue Grotto” is now shamelessly overrun by boatloads of adventure seekers, eager to capture a National Geographic digital photo worth a thousand words, or better yet, a thousand Euros.

So it was with fear and trepidation that I hesitantly placed my pink-sneakered foot into Lorenzo’s tour boat, apprehensive about how this small craft would succeed in navigating the cavern’s low ceilinged opening. Having read in my tour books that one has to lie down in the bottom of the boat in order for the vessel to access the grotto, as its incredulously narrow entrance could barely accommodate even a crouching oarsman, I now questioned whether it had been either a wise or a foolish choice to venture to the ancient cavern.  Yikes!!

Did I really desire to see this enchanting geographical wonder and glimpse the streams of light magically shimmer off the water and limestone walls of the luminous aqua blue grotto? Perhaps a glossy illustrated picture book would suffice, and grant me that “up close and personal” view that my extreme claustrophobia would not permit me to experience in person.

As luck would have it, Poseidon and his crew must have taken kindly to me, as the seas grew a bit choppy, playfully rocking our vessel back and forth, thus forcing our sea captain to venture back to shore - therefore granting me the luxury of languishing in an open-air trattoria, hobnobbing with the day-trippers, in the hopes of perhaps catching a glimpse of the swank privileged elite.

Pink Sneakers on the Go Helpful Tidbits of Info:

  • Cars are not permitted in Capri Town, so don't set your sights on cruising around town in your brand new gold Ferrari.

  • If you love walking, Capri is the ideal place for you, as it is a "walker's paradise", your only other options being to either bicycle or roller-blade.

  • Your sneakers will be worn out climbling up and down narrow staircases, especially if you opt to ditch the funicular ride and hike up the steep 300+ steps to Capri Town.

  • Roman Emperor Tiberius resided in Capri centuries ago - Legend has it that he frequently hurled his subjects (those who fell out of favour with him), off of the steep precipice overlooking his home at Villa Jova.

  • Since Capri is an island, it is only accessible by water.  Regular folk and budget conscious tourists usually opt either for the ferry ride or hydrofoil for a cost of less than 12 Euros.  Or, you can elect  to “go big or go home” and splurge all of your Euros and retirement fund on hiring a helicopter to transport you back to the mainland. I read somewhere that the 15 to 20 minute chopper ride from Naples to Capri will set you back close to several thousand Euros. Yikes!!

  • Pink Sneakers on the Go recommends one to purchase your return ferry or hydrofoil ticket as soon as you arrive in Capri so as not to chance missing the last connection due to it being fully booked. You wouldn’t want to have to be stranded overnight in Capri, with no way of getting back to the mainland now, would you? On second thought...
Come hobnob with backpackers and celebrities, discover the shimmering turquoise waters of the “Blue Grotto” and traipse along the cobblestoned paths in Capri with me…
Next week – what new adventures await? Stay tuned!!

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