… that I found her
Beneath the shade of an old walnut tree
Oh, I can still see the flowers blooming ’round her
Where we met on the Isle of Capri.”
Can anyone else still hear Bing Crosby singing that song in their head? It haunted me all day as we finally made it to Capri, with all its romance.
Our main goal was to see the famous Blue Grotto, and we were extremely lucky with our timing. The water was not too choppy to allow boats in, and the sun was shining. Perfect weather.
After taking the ferry from Sorrento, we took a medium-sized boat to the grotto, and then Don and I got into a tiny rowboat where we had to sit on the floor. Our guide pulled up to the ticket boat and handled the transaction for us down below.
The first thrill came when we had to get all the way on our backs in order to get into the grotto. It was high tide and the clearance was very tight. It felt like being at the top of a roller coaster. But then we were in, and the sight was as magical as I have always imagined. And I was delighted to get any usable photos half-lying in a rocking boat.
That was a special experience, definitely worth it. After we clambered out of our return boat to the harbor, we took the funicular to the town of Capri, which is a lovely, upscale village, with gorgeous views.
And then it was on to the town of Anacapri. This was a much more quiet but equally upscale area, sparkling clean and not too crowded. We stopped at the Church of San Michele, which is remarkable for its ornately tiled floor. Don’t walk on it or you will disturb the unicorn in the Garden of Eden!
Lunch was a major high point, which I will leave to Don. Following a long and leisurely meal, we strolled through town and headed back on the boat to Sorrento, which is starting to feel like home.
Don’s Food Corner
When we were ready for lunch, I called the restaurant that I had picked out for a special meal. Alas, it is not open yet for lunch for the season. We sat down in a little piazza in front of a church and checked TripAdvisor for some other options. The number one rated restaurant of the entire island — L’Angolo Del Gusto — turned out to be 50 feet away from where we were sitting so we decided not to argue with TripAdvisor this time (although I often do).
We took one of the few tables set up outside this small family-run restaurant. We were fawned over by the entire family — papa, mama, son, daughter. Of course we had to try the specialties of Capri. That meant starting with insalata caprese — bufalo mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil. Balsamic vinegar and olive oil was served on the side as was a small bowl of freshly grated pecorino cheese. The mozzarella was served as a single ball, not sliced. The thinly sliced tomato looked “knobby.” A sign of some type of heirloom tomato?
We then moved onto ravioli alla caprese. This local version of ravioli, which was shaped like balls instead of flat, featured a filling of caciotta cheese, which had the texture of ricotta but with a much more tangy taste. All was topped with a light tomato sauce.
For our main course, Jo zeroed in on scallopine Milanese. The English translation on the menu said it was prepared with beef. Jo questioned whether it really was meant to be veal. The owner — Papa of the family — said “No veal. Not ready yet.” In other words, it is too early in the season for veal from this year’s calves. (The menu made a point of saying that none of the food served was frozen.) Although we are far outside the region of Milan, it was prepared exactly as expected – crispy breading, topped with a salad of extraordinarily ripe and deeply-flavored grape tomatoes.
I went for the grilled octopus. Perfect. Mostly tentacles. Not rubbery. It was served with a huge wedge of lemon and thinly sliced ginger-pickled fennel on top. There were tiny pieces of fresh ginger tossed in with the octopus.
Since all was going so well, we also had dessert: Chocolate almond cake with a drizzle of chocolate sauce on top. Sparkling water and a very nice bottle of white Greco di Tufo went well with the meal, finished off with some limoncello, a Sorrento import to top off a perfect Capri meal.