Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mom, Part One

It felt good to sleep in until 8:00 am, but does it count as sleeping in if you don't go to sleep until 2:00? I'm excited that today is one of the last that I'll have to take on the road from hell. I must admit, my legs are starting to feel firmer, but tacking this hill each night after a full day of walking makes me have great empathy for folks on the Biggest Loser. Amy is definitely my Jillian Michaels: pushing, prodding, pulling -- everything but carrying me up the hill. 

We are way too early for the bus when we arrive at 12:00 noon and decide to walk to the next stop to wait in the shade. Oops. Read the schedule wrong. The bus barely arou 
Nd the corner stops for us anyway when we wave him down. We arrive in Sorrento and stop for a coffee and tea at the Internet point, and then down about a hundred steps (thank God it is DOWN) to the marina. 

Did I mention the steps in Italy? These people have steps for their steps. You go down five, down three, up four -- right in a row. I'm getting muscles in my legs. Hopefully, they will go all the way up to my butt!

We purchase our ferry tickets and sprint down to the dock. Amy can't believe I'm moving this fast, but it's the old tuck your tail and run for me -- from the heat. The boat is air conditioned, and quite cozy. We have good seats where we can look out over Capri and half of North Korea, as we are sitting amidst a large group of Asian tourists. 

The boat ride is one of the most relaxing things we've done all week. Umbrella trees dot the cliffs of Capri. We wander around from shop to shop along the waterfront, where we both buy different versions of a scarf wrap and I look for a hat. Amy convinces me to buy an umbrella instead. Not the small one -- the big one -- which when I open it up, almost pokes her eye out. Twice. She tells me to hold it higher, to which I respond, "I'm not a tour guide."

After talking to several places about a tour to the blue grotto, the Grotta Azzura, we decide to go with the inexpensive version at 24 euros total round trip for both of us. Luckily, we have less than twelve people on our boat, compared to the fifty they cram on the others. The ride out is breathtaking, and thankfully -- not too rough. When we arrive at the grotto, terror of terrors... we must leave the comfort of our big boat and get into a tiny wooden boat build for five people, sitting flat on the floor.

First, we have to step off one boat I to another moving in an opposite direction. That's not the most challenge part. I am sitting with another couple. He gets in first, then she sitting between her legs. I am edged in next to them -- so I had to be careful not to step on her as I get down into the boat. Our "captain" laughs when Amy wants to sit next to her mama, but she's wedged into the front. All 5'11" of her. 

We make our way into the grotto, as the captain pulls us into what looks like Alice's rabbit hole with a chain attached the the stone. Our guide tells us to watch our heads, and as I duck down, I can feel the dampness of the rock by my head. Inside is spectacular. The water is an electric turquoise blue, from the sun shining through the opening. The guide tells us the grotto was used for swimming but an ancient emperor of Rome -- the Tiberius family. 

A quick whirl around the inside, as our guide sings songs for us in Italian. I ask if he had do be a good singer to get the job, and he says it came after. I tell him he has a great voice, and of course. He starts sing the Carusso song about Le Americana. He's working for a tip. 

Now, I'm just hoping there is something equivalent to the jaws of life to get me out of this boat and UP on to the one that will take us back to shore. The lady whose legs I am siting between says, "everybody can do it." That's a brave attitude. With her pushing and the guide pulling me, I was able to get upright and hop up on the edge of the big boat. I am IN -- no harm, no foul. Back to Capri.

Amy and I head for a little stony beach, where we have a little lunch we brought with us of cheese and salami, with a bottle of wine. Amy goes for a swim while I take pictures and watch the bags. In the process, I see the good, the bad, and the ugly in the bathing suit department. On the way our of dodge, we grab a homemade gelato. Amy has creme caramel and I have a tiramisu. We are learning which places will but good by how the gelato is displayed. Not even all the homemade gelatos are the same. The tiramisu is just so-so. But with about thirty more flavors to try and Rome and Florence ahead of me -- all hope is not lost. 

We grab the ferry to Sorrento home and sit on the top deck next to this lovely Italian- looking family of five, who surprisingly turn out to be from Philadelphia and are as American as apple pie. Two town boys, six, and a daughter, Ella, eight, with an angelic personality. The family has travelled to many places in Italy and suggested Lucca and several other great spot to visit. 

When we arrive back in Sorrento, we stop in for calamari. In this case, chewier than I would like, but we are by the water. The sun is setting, the temperature is perfect and I think I might been make it half way back up the hill from hell tonight without dying. 

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