Capri for Free
It’s good to have friends. Well-connected ones? Even better.
So, we’re in Amalfi, and we’ve arranged with one of my dearest local friends to spend the day on the Isle of Capri. Our ferry tickets are purchased, we’re patiently waiting above said ferry, and there is no Maria. The boat will leave at any moment and we’ve had not a phone call, nor a text, nor seen hide nor hair of her.
Until she emerges on-board. She is talking to the captain in her sing-song Italian and gesturing about, smiling and laughing. We are getting off the boat she says. We are getting on another boat she says. It is a private speedboat and we are going for free she says. Her uncle’s cousin’s son has a charter company that usually charges $100 a pop for a ride to Capri, but for us, for family, it is free. And if we are Maria’s friends, then we are family.
We walk over to the other dock, where the sleek, white luxurious speedboat is bobbing in the water. The paying customers are clustered in the back, eyeing us newcomers with goodwill, and some confusion. We hustle up to the front, towels are laid out and we are meant to lay and sun ourselves while everyone else sits in the back. If I have never felt important before, I certainly do now.
The boat slips away from Amalfi, and quickly gains speed. The blue is so blue it is almost painful, the sky above so clear it’s almost unreal. We laugh and talk, friends from across the ocean, as the boat skims over waves and past the gorgeous terraced coastline. We stop for a swim, the salty ocean water already permeating my skin and hair through the wind that has been blowing through my hair, and we jump in, like children, splashing and flipping about in the sapphire blue.
We’re back on board, having had a chance to converse a little in the water with the rest of the party. A married couple from Turkey, two ladies from New York, a lone Australian. All smiles, united,in a blanket of blue water and sunshine. We cruise up to the Isle of Capri, passing the grottos and circling the island, allowing all of us to take in the sights. There are a lot of oohs and ahhs, but not from me, as I do not personally like the island very much. Too touristy, too expensive, too many stairs to climb for my already almost-broken-by-the-Roman-steps legs.I would prefer to stay aboard the speedboat, flying around on the waves, bronzing in the sun.
But, we alight on the island and climb, climb, climb, to the top, sweat pouring and tempers flaring. It is hot, unbearably so. We seek out fresh lemonade made from local lemons, and a cool place to have a light lunch, if any lunch including a bowl of pasta can be considered light. The view from the top of Capri is lovely, though, and well worth the trouble to get to the top. Pictures taken, hunger and thirst satisfied, we make our way back to the speedboat.
They let my husband, who, again, did not pay, drive the boat on the way back, much to the continued confusion of the other passengers aboard. And as we came closer and closer to the the twinkling white city of Amalfi, the glittering waves tumbling under our speedy boat, my husband at the wheel, I had to agree—It’s good to have such friends as we have.