March 1997 was an exciting time for B. J. and me. We spent twelve exhilarating days visiting historic, romantic and adorable Italy from north to south and east to west. Our guide, Young, blond, vivacious Jeanette Berends sporting a graduate degree in English Literature looked as if she would be more at home in Hollywood than on a tour bus. Jeanette, a former college instructor who discovered that she could make more money as a tour guide than teaching, was flown from London to live with and guide us throughout Italy. Jeanette was well versed in the history, geography and other intricate details of Italy. She was loads of fun and kept us on our toes and in high spirits.
Our hotel in Naples was on the Gulf of Naples in the Tyrrhenian Sea (actually the Mediterranean); it was big and gorgeous. We arrived early in the afternoon. There was time before dinner to explore some of the ins and outs of the exquisite décor and delicately designed interior of this adorable lodge.
After a fabulous, fundelicious dinner served in the finest fashion by refined servers, B. J., I, and a couple of other curious couples ventured into the night to discover the sights of this inn in the moonlight; it was surrounded by lush gardens of lovely flowers that flaunted their colors in the glow of the moon.
The gardens were threaded with handsome walkways lined with palms on each side that wound through the area and along the seashore; it was awesome in the radiance of the moon. B. J. scrunched up close and squeezed my hand. I liked that. It was hard to leave the garden but we had to get a good night’s sleep. In the morning, we would board a high-speed hydrofoil that would ferry us across the Bay of Naples to the elegant island of Capri.
Early the next morning, we filed out of our bus and gathered along the shore to await permission to board the hydrofoil. We chatted anxiously while Jeanette frisked around to see if all were present and in good shape. Her playful manner and humor kept us in great morale.
For most of us, that was our first “ride” on a hydrofoil. We loaded up, found seats or something to hold on to and waited. Soon the thing began moving. It moved slowly for a few minutes and then the pilot hit the gas and it acted kind of like Big Red. It reared up and started skiing across the waves like Moody’s goose. I had never been in a boat that big going that fast. I was clinging tightly to some hand straps and B. J., looking a little wild, was clinging to my arm for dear life. Jeanette was looking straight at me and laughing. Soon things settled down a little and I began moving around to get a good look at things. The Port of Naples was getting smaller behind us and Capri was dead ahead. The trip would take around forty-five minutes. We would be able to tell people that we had had a short cruise on the Mediterranean.
Capri is in the Bay of Naples, south of the city of Naples and near the tip of the Amalfi Peninsula, in the Campania region of Southern Italy.
Capri is an enchanting and picturesque island made of limestone rock. A favorite with Roman emperors, the rich and famous, artists, writers, and honeymooners Capri is still one of the Mediterranean’s must-see places. The island’s top attraction is the famous Blue Grotto, Grotta Azzurra. Tourists arrive by boat at Marina Grande, the island’s main harbor. Beaches are scattered around the island (the beaches that cater especially to the rich and famous—and nudists—are off limits to tourists). There are only two towns - Capri, just above Marina Grande, and Anacapri, the higher town. Lemon trees, flowers, and birds are abundant.
As you would expect, I worked my way over to Jeanette and asked about lunch. “I knew that you were coming over here for that,” she replied with a chuckle.
Are we going to dine with the rich and famous today?” I continued.
“If you want to dine with the rich and famous, I’ll be happy to show you the restaurant,” she responded with an even bigger chuckle. “It is $200 a plate and you have to wear a dinner jacket.”
“O, I see, what are our options?”
“Sack lunches, apples and cokes at open-air tables on a cliff overlooking the sea.”
I hoped that it would not rain on Capri while we were there.