Friday, May 15, 2009

May 2

Sorrento – Capri – Sorrento

First things first – cappuccino!

I woke up at about 0730 (local) after a very sound night’s sleep (duh!). I showered and went down to one of the local bars (do they ever close?) and ordered “due cappuccino per esporte, per favore”. It’s not quite the same as a “triple grande, three pump sugar-free caramel, non-fat, extra hot, latte” … but that’s OK; perhaps even better than OK. I brought the cappuccinos back to the “hotel” and caught up on this blog.

The streets were alive again for early on a Saturday morning; but a different type of alive. Shops that were closed yesterday are all open. Vehicular traffic has returned to streets that were dominated by pedestrians yesterday.

We’re just about to join Kevin and Penny for breakfast, then off to catch the ferry over to Capri.
(More of that “time passages music)

There was quite a crowd at the ferry terminal/ticketing station; so great a crowd, in fact, that we were unable to get passage on the 1145 sailing and had to wait for the 1230. We wandered the area, looking at some of the shops and admiring the views of the city and coastline. After a while, we decided to head over to the boarding area and wait.

We got to the boarding area well in advance of the sailing; in fact, we were among the first in line. The ferry was there, but they weren’t doing any boarding. The line continued to build behind us and got quite lengthy. Finally, they commenced the boarding process and since we were so near the front of the line, we had first choice of seats. Seating was all inside – although there was a bit of space on the foredeck (but no chairs) – and since we would be heading west towards Capri, we decided to sit in the front row of the left-hand (port) side of the boat so that we could watch the coastline pass by.

The crew was trying to tell people that they were not allowed outside, but when we pulled away from the dock, there were about 20 to 25 people out on the foredeck. As soon as the boat pulled away from the dock, those outside began to pull on their jackets. And once we cleared the sea wall, quite a few decided to come inside. The boat quickly accelerated to what I would guess was about 40 knots (nearly 50 Km/hr). The ride was very smooth and Kevin and I decided to go outside to see what it was like.

I’ve never been on such a large boat (ship) that was motoring so quickly. We were passing private motor cruisers. I could have water skied behind this ferry. Outside, on the deck, there was a gentle up and down motion of the deck that made walking across from one side to the other a bit awkward; but it was still quite the experience to be out on the open water, on the deck of a boat that was moving so rapidly. The only word that comes to mind is “awesome”.

On arrival in Capri we went around the corner to the right to buy tickets for funiculare. We joined the queue and gradually moved forward bit by bit. They would meter in 80 people at a time to a vestibule and then once the car arrived, an inner door would open to move that group onto the car itself. The inner door would then close and the next group of 80 would begin moving through the portals. There was a big counter above the portal area that counted down from 80 as each group of passengers moved through. When we were getting close, Kevin estimated that we would either just get on at the end of one group, or be at the very beginning of the next group. As we approached the portal, I looked at the counter and it was nearing zero rapidly. In fact, Penny was about to put her ticket in the validation machine and the counter read “2”. I told her to wait. In front of me, people continued through and their group was broken. So we had to wait for one more departure. Once again, since we were the first in line, we got our choice of where wanted to position ourselves on the train – we chose the front row of the lower car for the potential views.The funiculare was as I remembered it from last year’s trip with the Korah High School group ( The difference this year was that there were far more people in the narrow streets. And the weather was much nicer – in the low 20’s. We pressed through the crowds and went to a park and had a picnic. The view was fantastic. Small boats and large yachts bobbed on the sea far below. The colour of the water was incredible.

After lunch, we worked our way back up towards the centre of town. Along the way, we stopped at the perfumery and Marg bought some eau de toilette. We continued on past the square and over to the local bus terminal. We bought tickets and boarded the bus for the ride to Anacapri.

The ride to Anacapri was every bit as exciting as it was the last time we did it just over a year ago. Once again, I was standing, but this time, I didn’t have to look straight out the door. The hairpin turns were still exciting, but nothing beats the view out (and straight down) as the bus crosses a bridge spanning a gap in the cliff.

We wandered around a bit around Anacapri. The last time Marg and I were here it was mid-March. And although we found the weather pleasant enough, the locals were wearing their heavier coats. Today, the weather was very pleasant (although not summer-perfect) and Anacapri had a much different look. Most of the small shops had things displayed in front of their stores. It was still mostly the same things that were for sale down in Capri (and Sorrento). After our wandering around, we took the bus back down to Capri.

We got back down to the main square in plenty of time to catch the funiculare down to the Marina Piccolo – but there was quite the line waiting to get on. So we decided to continue down to the Marina Piccolo on foot. We were a bit early for our ferry so we sat at a café to wait.

It was an internet café so I went on-line to check on the status of our bags. The news wasn’t good. There is an on-line tracking web site into which you enter the baggage tracking number given when you first report the bags as “missing”. The tracking site reported back that the search for the bags was still in progress. This was counter to the information we had received earlier which said that the bags would be on the next day’s flight from Toronto to Rome.

So if the tracking system was reporting that the hunt for my bag was still on, how was it that Mario – the proprietor of the Babyluna – said in an email that he’d been contacted about my luggage and that it was to be delivered later in the evening?

>>Hi Paul
>>They will deliver luggage at about 9.30-10pm this evening. Now what do you prefer to do? Do >>you want me to come before dinner or shall we meet directly for luggage?

And shortly afterwards …

>>Paul consider that the developer of the luggage will call me few minutes before arriving in >>Sorrento; this evening I will have a pizza with my family in a restaurant in the nearby of the >>Babyluna, and so as soon as I will be called I will send email to you and come out of the >>Babyluna to receive luggage.

I began to wonder what was being delivered.

Soon same the time to catch the ferry; I (along with most of the other passengers) slept the whole ride back. Kevin said that when the captain announced “PORTO” there was an audible groan that went through the passenger deck. I guess most people had enjoyed the gentle rocking of the boat when it got to speed and were just getting into their deeper sleep patterns – only to be interrupted by the announcement “PORTO”.

Mario had recommended a small fishing community just to the west side of Sorrento, and we planned to head that way. But there was no direct route, we would have to go back up to the main part of Sorrento, and then back down to the fishing port, then back up to walk back to the Babyluna. We took a different set of stairs up to the top, and came out at the west end of the city’s main square. We turned west, but fatigue was starting to weigh heavily. We spotted a restaurant that had tables set up on one half of the street. It was still a lovely evening and we decided that we’d walked enough for the day.

After supper, we walked further up that same street and found ourselves in the midst of a bustling market filled with small shops and restaurants. First things first; some Gelato to help regain our strength. The streets were crowded with people, as you would expect anywhere on the Saturday of a long weekend. As we turned left to start heading back towards the Babyluna, I got an email from Mario: our luggage had just been delivered. I wrote back and told him that we would be there in 10 minutes. While we were heading back towards the hotel, we could hear fireworks. We only caught a glimpse of them as we crossed the main square and soon the noise subsided.

We got back to the Babyluna … finally … our bags! Mario said that the driver had called him to say that he was having trouble finding the hotel and was about to head back to Rome with our bags. Mario reminded the driver that there was supposed to have been a call 30 minutes before arriving in Sorrento – so as to allow Mario the time to arrange a meeting place. Mario interrupted his supper and came to meet the driver. Our bags had literally only arrived 15 minutes before we ourselves got back to the Babyluna. We settled up our bill with Mario and he went back to finish his supper with his family. Grazie mille Mario.

We capped off the evening with a bit of socializing with Kevin and Penny – and off to bed.We’ll be up early to begin heading north towards Florence – but before we leave the area we’ll be making a stop in Pompeii.

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