Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Hydrofoil ride

With the sun out this morning, I rushed through breakfast so that Bondi and I could be down at the Molo Beverello ferry terminal for the 9.30 sailing to the island of Capri. When we got there, it seemed to have disappeared from the timetable, so we took the 10.35 hydrofoil. Once on the boat, Bondi was not allowed inside, so we had to sit on the back deck as the weather decided to take a turn for the worse. With a high swell for the entire journey, we had passengers rushing past us to be sick over the back, blowing more chunks than Vesuvius. Bondi sat next to me, looking for confirmation that everything was all OK and placing one paw over my ankle for further reassurance. Towards the end of the voyage I was as close as I've ever come to being seasick, not helped by a sudden influx of smokers lighting up right next to everyone blowing into bags and making the generally malaise worse.

Marina Grande (Centro up to the left)

Towards Centro

The sun returned as we docked at the Marina Grande, and scuttled up the walking path towards Capri Centro. That is the resort town with designer-everything where people go to be seen in the small piazza. We continued walking up towards Villa Jovis, from where the Emperor Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire for the last ten years of his life, never returning to Rome.

Looking from Centro back down to Marina Grande

View from Villa Jovis towards Marina Grande

The walk to the Villa (really a palace) took about 40 minutes in all, steep in places, as it sits 354m above sea-level (where we've just disembarked). It must have been a remarkable place in its day, and the views from every side are astonishing. We seem to be the first visitors for the day, and have the grounds to ourselves.

Views to the mainland

Villa Jovis.

Walking back down, I find that all the decent eateries are closed. Capri seems to have high season, or no season, so much of the place will be closed until the Easter hordes. I don't think the locals like Bondi - whenever I walk towards an establishment, I get a snooty look of disgust and they turn away. Obviously the days when celebrated authors and eccentrics lived on the island (one walked around with a leopard on a leash) are long gone, replaced by staider glitterati.

I thought we could catch a bus up to Anacapri, high up on the other end of the island, but the bus drivers are just as disdainful of Bondi

So as the rain set in again, we trekked down to the Marina Grande again and end up eating in one of the snackbars with lowest common denominator coffee, menus with photos of pasta dishes that seem to have been lifted from from Woman's Weekly circa 1977, and of sandwiches that would embarrass a tuckshop lady. We're trapped there by thunder and hail for about an hour, Bondi hiding under the table. We book a return ferry at 4.20, and Bondi creeps onboard, hiding under a row of seats, trying to sleep through the voyage.

Natural arch.

Villa Jovis - our empire for the day

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