We had a wonderful day on Capri! Today was overcast but the sun came out in the afternoon. The water was still rough and I was surprised the ferries were running. This time I phoned the ticket office before we set out this morning.
We got the 10:00 ferry, which did not depart until 10:20. I was wondering how the one small dock was going to handle the 10:00 Amalfi ferry and the 10:00 Capri ferry. The ride over took almost an hour and was very bumpy. Yuck. They went to high speed for part of the ride. We sat below because it was not sunny and I thought it might be a bit wild up top. Towards the end of the ride two women came down from upstairs and their hair looked like it might never recover. The ferry was almost full, but there were seats for everyone and some left over.
Arriving at Marina Grande on Capri was a shock. Lots of people, a line of bright restaurants with waiters standing out trying to lure you in, several ferries coming in, no tourist office, general confusion. I had read about the Phoenician Steps and the information I had said they started at the port, so we looked for them. We gave up eventually and took the funicular up to the center of town, which sits high up on the hill above the port.
Interesting thing about the funicular, the ticket office is a couple of blocks away, where you buy ferry tickets. No signs tell you this but when you go up to the gates for the funicular the guy points in the general direction of the office. Taking funicular saves climbing up stairs and pedestrian streets. We did enough climbing yesterday and there was not a big crowd for the funicular. In summer it is better to walk because of the crowds. You can also take a bus or taxi to the town center.
We've only been to Capri once before in September 2001, in the days after 9/11. That time we did the walk to Villa Jovis, the remains of a Roman villa. This time we did another walk.
Walk: From Cicerone Guide - Walking on the Amalfi Coast - Walk 8 - Arco Naturale - Faraglioni Circuit, 2.5 miles, 1hr 45min.
The walk starts from the main Piazza and takes one of the ancient alleyways that are lined with shops. I love these narrow alleys. This one, Via Longono, follows 8th century BC megalithic walls. I did not see anything that looked that old, but the alley was charming. The walk turned onto a residential lane (narrow and pedestrian, maybe a few scooters or electric carts) and went to the southern side of the island and Arco Naturale, a natural arch in the rocks on the sea. At that point the stairs started. These zigzagged steeply down the hillside to Grotta Matermania, a cave that the Romans turned into a nymphaeum. All that remains are a few low walls inside the cave. From there the path leveled out, with some up and down, along the water. We were not at sea level but about 300 meters above. We had a good view of the Faraglioni Rocks, those tall rocks that are frequently shown on Capri tourist info.
We had lunch on a bench by the path. Yes, we brought peanut butter sandwichs to Capri which is known for its great food. But it was either have lunch or do a hike and we chose the hike. Then we made our walk back into town and walked around it some more.
I talked to the tourist office person and she told us how to find the Phoenician Steps. Her instructions were a casual "take Via Roma over there, turn right at the Post Office". It was a touch more complicated than that. For starters, the right at the Post Office was down a very small pedestrian lane. We walked about 20 minutes, got lost once and retraced our steps, saw very interesting residential areas and finally found the steps. The info I had said they start at the port. No, you can walk to them from the port, but they start higher up on the hill that separates Capri from Anacapri. Until the road was built in the 1800s, these very steep steps (over 900 of them) were the only way to get to Anacapri.
We climbed up and up on modern steps and finally the ancient steps began. A few groups were walking down them. There were no signs to them anywhere, so you have to be dedicated to find them. They are marked on the map from the tourist office, but not on the maps posted around town. We walked up 130 of the steps, took a few photos, then went back down. I didn't want to climb them, just to see them. We had to make our 3:30pm ferry.
We got back to the port in time and joined the chaos that is boarding the ferry. This time we sat on top and it was freezing. The water was wilder than in the morning and the ferry went on slow speed the whole way. It took 1 hour 15mins to get to Positano. I thought the ferry would be fun and exciting with great views. It was rocky, we got splashed with sea water, it was cold and the views were okay but we get better views hiking.
By the time the ferry arrived Positano was in shade. Praiano was still in sunshine. But it is dark by 5:30. A few trick or treaters were out and about.
Dinner at home and I made the pasta with fresh pesto sauce that we bought from the food market on Sunday.
There is a small shop on the main pedestrian shopping street where we are staying, the one that goes from Piazza Mulini to the church. Our apartment is near the church. We shopped there the night we arrived but they did not have many vegetables. Tonight I realized they had been closing and did not have all their stuff on display. I was thrilled to find cauliflower and brocolli tonight! Now we are stocked up.
Tomorrow Valerie and Bryan arrive! They live in Basilicata, which is not too far away. They joined us for a few days the last time we were in Positano. We have big hiking plans! The fun always notches up several levels when they are around!
Miles: I turned on ViewRanger but had it on in the funicular, so it probably is not correct. It says 5.35 miles. My iPhone Health App says 7.2 miles, 17,000 steps, 64 floors.
The Amalfi ferry leaving in the morning. Our ferry was a hydrofoil.
The endless steps to Grotta Matermania.
The path to the Faraglioni Rocks.
The Faraglioni Rocks.
Walking to the town center. Hanging rosemary!
The start of the Phoenician Steps.
The Phoenician Steps snaking up the steep hillside.