Be careful what you wish for, so goes the old adage. During my other life in California as a mum of three school-age children, meaning frequently run-off-my-feet, I sometimes joked that I would escape and be like the woman in a well-known TV Ad quoting the line, ‘She’s gone to Capri, and she’s not coming back’.
Ignoring the part about the cigarette, it promoted a glamorous image of a woman abroad, free from constraints, prancing around in a silky evening gown, osbensibly somewhere in Capri. The very idea of me a) wearing a silky evening gown, and b) going anywhere remotely close to Capri, was so ludicrous, that we all laughed our heads off.
But sometimes we do get what we wish for. Roll on twenty years or so, and would you believe, hubby won a random prize draw. The prize? A holiday for two on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Ever closer to Capri. Must be a scam, we thought. But it wasn’t. We took the holiday in July and have the pics to prove it.
The prize came with a hire car. Great. So far so good as hubby drove out of Naples airport and hit the open road and after Salerno, we entered the famed Amalfi coastal road, otherwise known as Amalfi Drive. With the Tyrrhenian Sea on one side, it clings to an open cliff face on the other, climbing ever higher on a narrow, one lane road with back-to-back hairpins for approximately 80 km (50 miles) to Positano. Buses, motorcycles and local drivers thinking nothing of overtaking on blind turns.
It took an hour to so to reach our hotel in Minori, some 20 km along, and after that, the car stayed in the hotel’s garage until our return journey. Hair-raising, but the views are spectacular, even if snapped from a moving car:
Minori is a delightful fishing village, our hotel just a 5 minute walk from the beach and a good choice of restaurants and cafes and a pretty harbour.
I warded off a nuisance head cold with siestas and lemons the size of grapefruits.
And then we took a boat trip across the Bay of Naples to the island of Capri. With clear blue skies and sea to match, we set out early in the morning for an hour and a half giving us fantastic views of Amalfi and Positano from the water:
We passed one or two rather expensive looking yatchts along the way:
And we got a great view of the beautiful coastline dotted with coves and beaches and one of Sophia Loren’s villas.
On land, we took a bus to the town of Anacapri at the top where it is less crowded and offers breathtaking vistas away from the madding crowd lower down, it being the height of summer.
On the way back down to the harbour, I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the cute cat window:
Designer shops line the path up to the top, cut into the rugged cliff side. Needless to say, it is not cheap in Capri. Being Brits, we sought out a cafe for shade and a cup of tea, at a cost of 15 euros (not far off fifteen pounds) for two cups of tea and a bottle of water. I watched valets haul luggage from arriving guests to a 5-star hotel and for a moment, imagined myself swanning around in one of their finest rooms wearing a silky evening gown…
The prize also gave us a meal at a 5 star restaurant. Perched high on a cliff side above a cove filled with millionaire yachts, we wined and dined in a setting so luxurious that I didn’t dare take any photos. Frankly, I was grateful to have survived the taxi ride there, a thirty minute drive hurtling us further along the Amalfi coastal road with a 70’s Al Pacino lookalike at the wheel, down to the pin stripe suit and gold medallion.
He chatted in Italian all the way, except for the repeated mention of Chaka Chan while fiddling with the radio, as he couldn’t get a good signal. And then, for no apparant reason, he stopped the car. He got out to check something in the back, leaving me and hubby in the back seat to wonder what he was looking for. His Chaka Chan CD? His lunch? A body? Worse? Maybe I’ve watched The Sopranos too many times, but although the sea sparkled far below us, I hoped we weren’t about to swim with the fishes.
The ride back later on had him stopping on the way to introduce us to various restaurant owners. And wouldn’t you know it, his radio got a signal, only to play the theme song from ‘The Godfather’.
The drive back to Naples airport one week later, took us far away from Amalfi Drive and past Mount Vesuvius, a still active volcano to this day. Hopefully it won’t erupt again any time soon.
A holiday to remember for all its twists and turns, and what a prize. Thank you, Classic FM!
As for Capri, did it live up to my dream? If I were rich, maybe. If we had gone out of season without the throng of people and not so incredibly hot and humid, more likely. But, although I am thrilled to have visited, I think, perhaps, of other places where I would rather slink around in an evening gown. Funny how we change.