Day Three: Capri

 We decided on a challenge. It starts with the wild ride down to Capri Town–that’s after Kat retrieves the guide from the room, and Jason googles where we’re going. BW assumes I knew how to get there. I never know how to get anywhere! Honestly, I can’t even remember the name of the palace. I believe it was built by Tiberius. So that’s a clue.
 
BW: But you wrote about it!
 
NR: Over a year ago. Plus, this involves directions of some sort.
 
Shoulda brought my compass.
 
In any case, Jason finds things relating to Tiberius and comes up with Villa Jovis.
 
Yes, that’s it!
 
Kat comes back with the guide, and we’re off.
 
The day is beautiful, the views stunning. But I can’t really look at them as we wind down, just slicking past cars winding up. Then the madness that is Capri Town. Throngs of people, skinny roads leading to skinny roads. BW and I remember we have to take a skinny road, and steps are involved.
 
We wander, and it feels wrong, just wrong that I need to pass all these shops without a peek inside. Farrogamo, Pucci, Piano, and oh, oh, Armani. It stings a bit, but we have a mission.
 
We don’t find the road we’re after, but we find another, and finally a little sign with an arrow for Villa Jovis.
 
We climb, hike up the skinny road, haul up the narrow steps. Make turns, up, up, and yes, finally, I remember the area. We’ve converged onto the route we’d taken before. I remember that sweeping view over white walls and red tiles to the blue sea. Pretty gardens on the right. A big fig tree, red tomatoes, lemon trees, long rivers of yellow lantana.
Capri from road to Villa Jorvis.  Photo by BW.
Capri from road to Villa Jorvis. Photo by BW.
Up, up, up. Garden walls and fancy iron doors showing long shady colonnades into lovely homes. It would be an amazing daily hike to live here, but what a reward.
 

Photo by Kat.
Photo by Kat.
We pass a gate, and Kat and I both exclaim and stop. Inside the lovely garden is the biggest hibiscus flower we’ve ever seen. Big as a dinner plate and perfect and pink. She starts to take a picture through the gate, and we hear a loud click. The lady of the house steps out, invites us to come in and take the picture. This is so sweet and kind. The plant blooms for a month every year, she tells us. She’s obviously, and justifiably proud of her garden.
 

Hibiscus!  Photo by Kat.
Hibiscus! Photo by Kat.
On we go, up, up, up. There are some benches built into the wall, often in shade for a reprieve, and so many beautiful distractions along the hike. That blue sea with the white boats gliding, the rugged rise of cliffs, the stunning gardens and the deep Capri green of cypress. And the scents, the lemon, the flowers, the pine.
 

Photo by Kat.
Photo by Kat.
We pass through a little area with a shop, a market on one side, a little restaurant on the other. BW and I had pizza and wine there last trip on the way down from the ruins.
 
The way is long and steep, and this time narrow little carts–skinnier than golf carts–rumble by going up or down. There’s barely room for them and hikers to pass. And oh, my quads are starting to feel it!
 
The estimated time on the sign where we began was 40 minutes. I’m sure it took us all that, and some more. But we reach a point where we can see it, the biscuit colored walls of what had been the emperor’s massive villa, built primarily by slave labor, and those slaves had to haul the supplies up, up, up the route we’ve just hiked carrying no more than a couple backpacks.
 
Still, we’re not there yet. More steps, more steep road, more gorgeous views. And a lot of sweat.
 
I see two men–golden hair–doing this same hike. One of them is wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt.  Who would dress like that for a hike on a hot, sunny, summer day? Why isn’t he dripping with sweat?
 

Kat, Jason, Nora at Villa Jorvis. Photo by BW.
Kat, Jason, Nora at Villa Jorvis. Photo by BW.
And at last we’re there. The guardian of the gate explains to us–in Italian, where we can see Sorrento, Vesuvius, and on the other side Napoli. I look down–for a moment–and the steep drop, the cliffs, the courageous trees that cling to the rock, and the deep blue water.
 

Sorrento and Amalfi coast.  Photo by BW.
Sorrento and Amalfi coast. Photo by BW.
Much better to look out than down.
 
More steps! We climb up to walk where emperors, slaves, servants, dignitaries, all long dead walked. Walls of brick and stone, open to the sky, wide chambers, cool from those stones. And arguably the best views on the island so high up. We go all the way to the top, onto a flat wide roof for more views and photos, for the glorious breeze. It’s all more than worth the hike, and there’s a satisfaction knowing just how high we climbed.
 

Villa Jorvis.  Photo by Kat.
Villa Jorvis. Photo by Kat.
The annual fun pano. Photo by j a-b.
The annual fun pano. Photo by j a-b.

Challenge met!

 
The way down is a lot quicker and easier–though it pings the hamstrings a bit now and then.
 
Along the way we see a cat lounging in the shade. None of us have ever seen his like. Leopard spotted, so,so handsome, with pale, clear green eyes. Eerie green. The cat is pleased to be scratched and petted by Jason, turning his head, flopping over, stretching out. Deigning in his cat way to allow our attention and admiration. Until he’s done with us and rises to walk away and wash.
 

IMG_0078
Cat by Kat.
Down and down, and we stop at a pretty bar/restaurant overlooking the sea. All shady with little tables and chairs–chairs with cushions! We’ve earned those cushions, and a refreshing beverage. And gelato!
 
I opt for a mimosa and strawberry gelato. Just marvelous.
 
Down and down again after a lovely respite into the crowds in town. Around and around to the cab stand, and the mad ride up. The driver chats some, and all I can think is: No! Don’t talk. Don’t become distracted. It’s a really long way down!
 
But we make it, head up to our room.
 
Time for another refreshing drink. I have over 18,000 steps on my Fitbit. A banner day! And it isn’t over.
 
Later, after a rest, we clean up, fancy up a bit for our dinner here at the hotel. We have a lovely table by the pool side where the billowy white curtains are pulled back. It’s dining in and out at the same time, with a view of another beautiful sunset.
 
The food’s plentiful, the service first rate. A bottle of red, trays of lovely bread. Starters–just some salad for me. I get the sea bass–mmmm–and as I don’t like spinach once you cook it, I split mine between BW and Kat. Give Jason my tomatoes (which I only like cooked into sauce!) My fish is perfect, the wine is smooth, soft, the meal slow and easy as it should be.
 
They bring the cheese cart. I mean to say no, but am talked into trying just a bit. More lovely. Then there’s some little treat–I taste coffee and berries and chocolate. And dessert! I order something with peach and cream and a thin, crunchy cookie. I can’t eat half of it, but it’s wonderful. BW agrees as he eats what I can’t. Then they bring two trays of little sweets. Oh no, more! I can do one bite, of something rich with blueberry.
 
We all groan our way upstairs. And do a short stretch for those hard-worked muscles.
 
It’s near midnight before I give it up after a long, full day packed with sights, the smell of flowers and lemons that is Capri, the rich greens, the blue sea, the tumbling cliffs, the crowds, the movement, the sweat, the food and wine.
 
I sleep late for me–7:30–and the day is again perfect. We’re spending it lazy–though Kat and I did a challenging workout. It’s time for massages as a reward. And I’m tagging on a facial just because. We may do some more walking on our last full day here. Or just sit and look.
 
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll work for an hour or so. We’ll just have to see what the day brings.
Nora
Note from Laura:  Bonus photos from Kat!  Mouthwatering melon and prosciutto and the tiles from shopping on the first day.
Food!  Photo by Kat.
Food! Photo by Kat.
Kat's tiles from shopping.  Photo by Kat.
Kat’s tiles from shopping. Photo by Kat.

44 thoughts on “Day Three: Capri”

  1. Just love reading your journal! Feel like I’m with you. There’s nothing more beautiful then Italy.

    1. Yes its a Bengal very regal i have 2 of the Monkeys they rule the House enjoy your Holiday it looks Fabulous

  2. Ohh! I just love Nora’s travelogues! It’s like being there. And the pictures! Specially loved the photo of the lovely Bengal cat you met on your hike. Thanks so much Nora, Kat, BW, & Jason for being such awesome photographers and sharing them with us. It helps us armchair travellers to feel like we’re right there with you.

  3. Thanks for sharing! A place I’d love to visit. A well deserved vacation for all of you. After all, you work hard sharing your gift with the world. Blessings!

  4. Hey that was a Bengal cat! Definitely not a stray. They are expensive. My sister has had one for many years. His name is Cheetah. He has those same beautiful eyes! Capri looks like a magical place….

  5. Thanks for sharing. I could feel my calf muscles screaming on the walk up that hill! Beautiful pictures, and thanks to Kat for the Bengal cat pic, too.

  6. Thanks to everyone who ID’d the cat. None of us had ever seen one like him, and he was gorgeous! And very friendly.

  7. What a beautiful day to hike, absorb the real Capri- you have made this a part of my bucket list. Love the pictures- the blue waters do feel like they are calling to come swim and visit.
    I love the Bengal Cat picture – what a beautiful animal! And last but not least love the Hibiscus garden! What a treat to live there. Thank you for sharing.

  8. The telling of your adventure and the pics are just mag! Loved the Bengal cat too! I live vicariously through your books and adventures ???❤️

  9. I huffed and puffed an mentally whined with each step you took…but the view albeit vicarious was fabulous!
    Thank you!!!

  10. Absolutely gorgeous photos! If you meant to make your readers jealous, you have succeeded! As for your strenuous hike, my hamstrings cringed in sympathy. My garden has a couple of those large blooming hibiscus that are actually winter hardy, at least in zone 6, an hour north of Nashville, and they have just finished blooming. The flowers are large and quite impressive. I don’t know if they would survive in your neck of the woods, but you can check. Google can find you just about anything!

  11. Stressful work day , but “cat by Kat “gave me the
    needed smile! Scenery is beautiful too. thx for sharing!

  12. A full and exhausting day for sure. Still wondering why you didnt hop one of those carts. The pics are amazing and love the scents. I can almost smell the lemons. Mmmmmm. Have a great evening, rest and then get ready to share the next leg of the adventure!

  13. I love reading about Nora’s vacations. It’s a fun and cheap way for her readers to travel.
    My dad is the same way about tomatoes that Nora is. He will eat them cooked in any form but not plain. I am not my father’s daughter in that. I will eat them any way I can get them.

  14. Reading your journals has brought me right back there. It is certainly one of the most beautiful places to visit…the cerulean blue water is just amazing, along with the lemons and bright pink bougainvillea..what a site. Shopping sounds amazing….and I remember there being this very unique store that sold the finest Italian inlaid furniture..only walked out with some jewelry boxes for gifts, but wished it was a piece of furniture. You are having the most wonderful time…and just love reading about it.

  15. I have seen these cats online and looked it up – here is what it said about them: The Bengal cat is a relatively new (started in earnest in the mid-1980’s), exotic breed of domestic cat originally created by the breeding of the small, wild Asian Leopard Cat to a domestic cat such as the Abyssinan, American Shorthair, Burmese, or Egyptian Mau. The Bengal breed allows those of us who love and admire wild cats to live with and enjoy their beauty and uniqueness in our own homes, while also benefiting from the domestic Bengal’s loving, friendly, playful disposition.

  16. Thank you so much for taking us on your holiday, I can live vicariously . Its like being there, I can even feel the effort of the climb

  17. Thanks for sharing the views, scents and history of this beautiful place.. The blue of that ocean is blinding. But oh, that cat. What a beauty that is.

  18. Thanks so much. You are bringing capri alive to us. First, that unique furniture store is in Sorrento, if i remember correctly.I’ve only been to Italy once, but you make us all want to go.I can’t believe you still did another workout, after achieving 18000 steps on your fitbit. I aspire to be like you, but i know i never will. Ive never seen a bengal cat, Wow.
    That photo of the green planted corridor, i forget what its called, reminds me of the scene with Eve and Roarke, having their moment, in one of the ID books. Delightful

  19. I am totally enjoying your vacation – thanks for sharing! I’ve always wanted a Bengal and the one you met is really a beauty. He’d have gone right in my purse! (Kidding). Now, I know Kat turned you on to cize but I’d love to know what other dvd’s you brought along. You’ve inspired me to do (baby) workouts like the 10 minute Pilates. (It seems like more than 10 when you do it, but haven’t timed it due to crossed eyes by the end!) keep enjoying – we are ALL loving this vacation!

  20. Oh,breathtaking you share so well.The pic are wonderful. What a trip I feel as though I’m there with you all.

  21. I love reading this! It’s bringing the current book to life? I’m new to reading this blog. Can anyone tell me who Kat and Jason are?

      1. Am I mistaken, but didn’t her bio used to write about 2 sons when they were young. Is he too busy to take vacations?

  22. Spent one day there, from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm. Hung with Adi, from Bavaria. She no English, me no German, and we laughed all day long. Had pizza and red wine because the place had beautiful pink tablecloths, and a view. Loved Capri. Thanks for taking me back.

  23. Thanks for sharing your beautiful hoilday. Look forward to your wonderful narrative and pictures every year. Italy is always close to my heart

  24. Thank you again for your lovely travelogue! All of the pictures are so beautiful, and to think of walking where the ancients have walked gives a person the shivers, doesn’t it? The arbor and the hibiscus make me sigh. Thanks again for sharing!

  25. Remembering my trip to Capri. Loved it and the shopping! That pink hibiscus flower is gorgeous! My mom had hibiscus in her yard. One of my favorite flowers! Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with us!

  26. I visited Capri several years ago and this brought it all back to me. I know you had a lovely time!

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