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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting to Capri

In the last few days in Umbertide, I didn't have my camera out. Margaret was happy to enjoy the time, and would like to have more long-term stays. Our trip to Perugia was just to have a SlowTrav GTG with Tery and Greg, no sightseeing, and we didn't do the usual Assisi trip. We went to the nearby hill town of Montone, eating at the Trattoria del Verziere. We had a last Umbertide dinner at a third ambitious restaurant in less-touristed Umbertide: da Zibu' . We had a juge dish for two of veal shin, getting it wrapped up to have in sandwiches for the next day's train ride.

The next day we had everything packed and needed to drive to Perugia to return the car. We made good use of the GPS to get to a gas station and Perugia station. I feel stress in these situations, but overall it wasn't too bad. There was no place to park in front of the Hertz office, but from previous experience I knew of a lot where I could park it and go to the office, and wait for the agent to check it out. Although I wanted to allow more time, we were 30 minutes ahead. We used the ticket machine to get, we decided, first class tickets. I validated them, and I think the conductor found people who hadn't done that once the trip was under way. We needed to deal with taking our bags down and up stairs with the underpass, located the first class car, and boarded with time for me to rush back to the station bar and get a bottle of water. I'm on the slow train as I write this.

Now updating: the train arrived at new tracks at Roma Termini, 1 and 2 Est, comparable to the Ferrovie Laziali tracks on the other side, set back a distance from the main tracks. We went to the head of the main tracks and had coffee. We found, 30 minutes prior, our train ready, IC 555, which goes to Reggio Calabria. I was expecting the IC train to be in compartments; in fact it was a new train with an open seating area, with 1/2 seating in second class, where we'd gotten a €9 fare. Our assigned seats 65 and 66 were in different rows; we went ahead and sat together, letting the person who eventually turned up take the previously assigned seat. I don't remember if I saw the diagram when I booked those seats, or perhaps the train was scheduled to be in compartments at that point, so we would have been together. Margaret reports a revolting experience in using the lavatory.

We arrived in Naples on time; we'd decided to store Margaret's big bag at the station. Based on what I'd observed at luggage storage in Rome (we weren't putting it there because we'd be coming back to a different station), I expected this would make it sure that we'd miss the earlier possible ferry to Capri. In fact the bag check was quickly done, even though they needed to copy her passport. We took the taxi at the front of the line to Calata Porta di Massa; we had our brief look at the craziness of Naples traffic; this was a Fiat Multipla, where from what I could tell the middle front seat was down and covering the meter, and the driver charged €20. We were in plenty of time for the fast ferry at 17.25, when we had expected that we'd get the slow ferry at 18.35. We got the tickets, and did some searching to find our right ferry, next to a big Norwegian Cruise Line ship.

Boarding meant carrying our bags up a long stairway, and finding seats in the big seating area. I called our hotel, Il Girasole in Anacapri, to alert them when we'd be arriving, so they could send their shuttle. The crossing took a little under an hour; on the phone they mentioned Largo Fontana, which I was worried about finding, but in the crowds on arrival I saw a driver holding a sign for Il Girasole. We got into his little shuttle vehicle, and he described the features of Capri during the harrowing drive. We got a friendly check-in and were helped to our room., exiting to a garden with a room.

We had seen rain on the train to Naples, and the weather on Capri was potentially threatening, but we got this nice view.



One drawback of the hotel is that there is a walk to get to anyplace to eat. We talked about getting to a seafood restaurant that offered a ride, but they needed more notice, so we walked to the Pizzeria Aum Aum. It was nice enough, but Margaret wanted a taxi back, which the waitress called and took it as close as it could (only the narrow shuttle could get close) for €10.

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