Capri: Of Disappointments and Dashed Plans

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“Blue Grotto?” I asked tentatively, well aware how choppy the seas had been on my ferry ride from Sorrento to Capri.

“No, no!” the Italian man replied, confirming my worst fears. “No boats today! Too windy!”

I wanted to scream in frustration. I had committed the cardinal travel sin: lack of advance planning (and, even more frustratingly, it was a mistake just like the one I had made earlier in the year at Chamonix). Capri’s Blue Grotto is accessible only via boat, and any time conditions are not right, the boats simply do not go. I knew this, and yet, somehow, forgot to check the weather that morning, instead piling onto the ferry from Sorrento to Capri alongside all the other oblivious tourists.

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As soon as I learned the Blue Grotto was not to be, the question was: what now?

Honestly, the tourist crowds were so persistent and I was so frustrated with my own lack of planning that the thought of giving up entirely and getting straight back on a boat to Sorrento crossed my mind. However, it seemed a shame to come to Capri – and, let’s be real, to buy the pricey ferry ticket – for nothing. So, I decided to take the funicular up to Capri Town, determined to see at least a bit of the island.

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One thing I noticed right away, even with the hordes of people and my own disappointment, was just how gorgeous Capri was. The sun was particularly bright that day, making the water impossibly sparkly and the already colorful boats even brighter.

I grabbed a spot at a cafe on Capri’s main square – the food was not gourmet, but it was the perfect spot to sit and people watch (and to read; I was super absorbed in Pillars of the Earth during that trip). To say I lingered over my meal does not even do it justice: I sat forever, still not quite ready to get over my anger at missing the Blue Grotto.

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After I had pouted for a while, I dragged myself out of my seat and explored town a bit. From the main square, I ducked down each of the surrounding roads in turn, just wandering along to see what I would find. There were lots of shops for upscale, luxury brands (not exactly my jam), as well as a pretty cathedral I poked my head into (but not for long – they were celebrating Sunday mass!). I also loved the town itself – all the whitewashed buildings looked beautiful in the sunshine.

My brief exploration finished, I hopped back on a boat to Sorrento. Sure, there was more I could have seen on the island, but I was not feeling it, and sometimes I think the best thing you can do when traveling is give yourself permission to admit: hey, I’m just not that into this. Capri was gorgeous, yes, but also distinctly a resort town: pricey, upscale, and not my scene. I’m glad I saw a bit of it, but that slice was enough for me.

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