Trip to Capris


Put the stress on the second syllable at your peril.

The geologic beauty of Capris rivals the Hawaiian islands, but the social excesses began when the Roman emperor, Augustus, bought the whole thing as a summer retreat, and that selfish tradition persists to this day. High-end shops gob the streets like coarse sugar on sweet marmalade. Watching the rich display their contempt for restraint is repulsive; I’d rather see a soccer team comparing their genitals…much rather.

Capris is like a priceless antique diminished at the hands of hack with urethane. Sprinkle enough of these people in NYC and LA and Trump would have himself an election.

We quickly took a bus to Anacapris, the island’s other city, a tribute to the linguistic creativity of the Greeks. At the start of this short ride, Rod’s sanity had lost a debate about whether we should take a chairlift ride to a blistering, sun drenched height atop the island’s  2000′ peak. His resolve was not to last.

Along the narrow, hairpin road that our bus driver sped his rickety tub, the right side of the road gave way to a 1200′ drop, guarded unconvincingly by a tastefully low barrier. The passengers let loose a collective gasp as the brave boast of a chair lift melted like soft gelato in the August heat.

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View from the bus

This photo was taken on the return trip from the far side of a narrow road.
When going up the road, the rail was not visible, the cliff is shear, the drop, astounding.

We settled for a pizza and beer under the shade of a canopy. As Marc Antony once spat, “Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.”

It was in Anacapris that I filmed evidence of the driving styles of Italians for which I have included a short video:

It appears that the bikes at the end of the video stopped, but in fact they barely slowed. I nervously stopped filming—as if the cop would care about me. He was just getting out of the sun. If people stopped at intersections, of which there are countless, the country of Italy would cease to function.

Italy has given less regard to automotive traffic than the US. There are a few highways, but city buildings and neighborhoods have resisted demolition done just to relieve congestion. It often seems incredible that two busy areas of a city are connected by anfractuous routes, barely wide enough for an economy vehicle, but such is the country’s subservience to la dolce vita.

A short stretch of water separates Capris from Sorrento, so we made our way back in time for a cold beer in an unpretentious town. Sorrento is blithely indifferent to threats from sea rise (except for the docks). The cities of London, Paris, and Hamburg will envy New Orleans after Katrina before Sorrento has persistent puddles.

At the top of the many steps from the pier to the city’s flat streets stands a statue of St. Anthony, patron of long, enduring friendships.

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2 responses to “Trip to Capris”

  1. Even though jealousy slips in as every new day of your fabulous travels rolls out, I always await the updates with great anticipation. I’ll remember your perilous bus ride on the island of Capris and should I decide to rise to 2,000′ above sea level while visiting this island, the chairlift sounds like a reasonable alternative to the bus.

    The statue of St. Anthony appears to have etched on it a name that quite closely matches that of your best friend. I saw “Tony Abate” instead of Antoine Abbate. Surprised you didn’t pick up on this, if only to let Tony know you’re thinking of him.

    I love the video of the Italian drivers ignoring the stop sign even in the presence of an officer. I recall getting a ticket in Newton, NH at midnight, no traffic whatsoever, because I didn’t come to a complete stop at a country intersection.

    With another couple joining you on this trip I’d suggest we see more pictures of “you” and Rod. The pictures of Rod are always well done. He is very photogenic. For some unknown reason I don’t appear quite as attractive in pictures. On those rare occasions when I do look pretty good, I send copies to everyone I know and a few to people I might have known in the distant past.

    Our best to all of you as your journey proceeds to Sicily. Can’t wait to get feedback from you.

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