April 19, 2010 – Sunshine in Capri
I was startled awake this morning by a call from my middle son, whoÂ couldnâ€™t wait to report he had been named Greek Man of the Year for his university. Calls from home are not always a good thing on vacation, but this wasÂ quite an honor and I was thrilled with his call. Fortunately I was able to fall back asleepÂ and by the time I awoke at 9:30, the storm had cleared out and it was evident the day would be a gorgeous one. We made our way to the piazzetta, where it happens the bells ring so loudly you almost need to cover your ears……for a caffe macchiato and a sort of toasted ham and cheese sandwich just to tide us over until lunch.Capri is small, charming, and popular -Â it’s still technically low season but it was still bursting with tour groups making their way through the tiny streets. We popped into the small church, even though we keep saying we never need to see anther church in Italy, just for a minute away from the crowds.For a change of pace, and because a friend suggested it, we grabbed a cab toÂ visit the other town on the island,Â Anacapri – see that small cliff hugging stretch? It’s as terrifying as it looks!The whole Amalfi coast, including Capri, isÂ filled with citrus trees, and we caught this shop making limoncello while handing out samples to the tourists. The views from the entire island are simply stunning – steep rocky cliffs rise up from the most emerald green waters on an island surrounded by grottos. The people seem to just deal with the difficulty of getting around – and I’m sure have great calf muscles from walking the hills!One of my favorite things in Italy is watching children play – they have the same burst of energy that young Americans have, but accompanied by cries of “mama mia!”, I find them charming. BackÂ in the town ofÂ Capri, we sat down to a late lunch at the lovely patio of the Hotel La Palma,Â near the spectacular (and spectacularly priced) Quisisanna to shareÂ a carpaccio di manzo con rughetta e parmigiano (beef carpaccio with arugula and parmesan cheese) andÂ a pizza margherita with tomato sauce so fresh it was almost like eating tomatoes straight from the garden. Do you see a pattern? When Iâ€™m tired and hungry I forget to photograph my food. The island of Capri isnâ€™t a place to stay for a week unless you are looking to just simply enjoy the scenery, but itâ€™s a wonderful spot to begin our anniversary trip together……and the Hotel Punta Tragara is ideally situated at the very end of a street with incredible views and rejuvenating quiet.Â The short 10 minute walk from the hotel into town along the Via Tragara is lined with charm – from ancient doors like this to trendy boutiques with sky-high prices, both fun to look at. As I was enjoying these snacks with my prosecco this afternoon I heardÂ thatÂ two women from my group last weekÂ canâ€™t get out of Rome until next Sunday, a full week after they were supposed to return. I know not everyone considers a week in Rome a gift, but I’m hopingÂ they willÂ enjoy their days in Italy and take advantage of the time to see something new.We dined this evening at Villa Brunella, a small family run hotel close to ours that had been recommended by a friend. I love when dinner starts with something from the chef – in this case a glass of prosecco and some fried antipasti.We began with a shared insalata mista……and then dove into the best risotto I’ve experienced in years, a creamy rice dish just dripping with fresh lemon flavor. Here’s an example of eating locally, and boy did it pay off.We really didn’t have enough room for the fish (a whole sea bass simmered in lemon and olive oil) or the veal (scallopini with lemon) that we ordered, and we surrendered about halfway through. Tired from a long day of walking around the hilly island in the warm sunshine, we retired early, hoping for more good weather again tomorrow.
PS …you may notice that my evening food photos are not high quality. I’ve been shooting them in very low candlelight with a point and shoot camera, and then doing my best to rework them on Photoshop so you can at least get an idea of what the food looked like. Hope you understand!
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