A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Well I changed my mind. No sleep but up at 6am to catch the no5 and then the train to Sorrento, then the ferry to Capri to have a wonderful day mingling with tourists and seeing the once home of Leonard Cohen (and numerous other fab celebrities). Bad start as the Sorrento train quickly fills up with loud obnoxious youth who have no sense of body space, manners, or respect. They loudly take over the carriage and the top alpha male shows all the others that if you have a wisp of facial hair, a copycat American GI haircut and passably fashionable clothes(a cool jacket with Kim Kardashian your ass would look big in any dress on the back). While I quietly pondered whether to hit him hard in the throat, or elbow his Ray Bans so as to cause some serious facial damage the other passengers studiously avoided any eye contact. Luckily they got off at some ghastly stop to probably learn some useless skills that will see them stay unemployed. Italys youth unemployment is 24%).
Onwards and upwards. I had agreed to Capri if we could avoid the tourist rush which meant catching a ferry before 8.30 am. Good plan but someone else had read the guide book so there was still a fair crowd. They alight from the ferry at the marina and there is a desperate scramble to get to Capri village by bus (cheap and oversubscribed) or taxi (expensive and very, very scary.) I described the Amalfi coast bus ride but it has nothing on the ride to Capari and Anacapri, the other village on the island.
While standing in line a peculiar looking older gentleman asked me in Italian what the fancy taxis cost (Nissan extended sedans, a cool Fiat convertible from the 70s and some weird extended li o Fiats). I looked at the fares and they seemed to range between €20-40 . He suggested that he and his wife share a cab to Anacapri. €25 and we are off. The roads are narrow, 1000 ft drops and major buses, scooters and cars competing for space. I have never been so scared and Alison has now developed a fear of heights. Amazingly no accidents but I noted that his rear vision mirrors were folded back, as were most other vehicles.
We arrive at Anacapri and try to see The Axel Munst garden down a long drive called shoppers alley full of tourist traps and large guided tours of Germans and English and Italian tourists. Ghastly. The views out over the Gulf of Naples are spectacular as is the 1000 ft drop off the side of the track. The gardens are aloft the track and we only see some of the elaborate statues that this eccentric Swiss put there. Then on to the funicular which chairlifts you to the summit of Capri. Relaxing, scary, thrilling, not be missed. As the chairlift ascends you have a view of back gardens and this highlights the intensive horticulture that Italians undertake. Few animals, mainly horses, but well tilled fields full of new, healthy plantings, which the local markets feature on a daily basis. If I had to give advice about visiting Capri it would be to get there early morning, catch or share a cab to wherever you want to go, do your stuff and get-out early afternoon. Avoid eating there (three times the price and half the quality as Sorrento). Then back on that ghastly train, thankfully only half full and high speed (another piece of advice – avoid public trains and buses. Full of horrible people, dirty, graffiti strewn and thoroughly confusing). There is a reason they are cheap.
We are currently making our way further south on a Trenitalia high speed train and a whole different kettle of fish. Clean, efficient, comprehensible, and non of the riffraff of public though the guy across the aisle has been looking funningly at me . Oh! Hes the guard, that dazzlingly dresses man with the manicured look. On the local trains you don’t see a guard until you alight. He forgoes ticket validation and policing the delinquents and drunks to schmooze with the driver. Typical. The suburban rail, the garbage, have mafia’s hands all over them. The parking situation is the same. Why am I surprised?
My other piece of advice would be to explore the possibility of a group of five or six sharing the cost of renting a boat for 4-6 (self drive). This would mean you could see the island from the water, enjoy a swim, and be away from the tourist horde. My hatred of wandering groups of (mostly) elderly people traipsing around after some umbrella touting guide has intensified each day. I am thinking of setting up roadblock on SH88 and extracting huge tolls from cruise ship people. They really are a blight. A plague. Parasites.

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