15 July 2012 Sunday | 1:43 | 2012/06 Europe
Memories of the harrowing hotel experience in Rome were rapidly deleted when I entered Hotel Tirrenia in Sorrento. The original hotel was full, so we were bumped into this place next door. The view was awesome. (I’ll be using this phrase repeatedly throughout my series of entries on Italy.) It helped that my door was only three metres away from their alfresco terrace, where I promptly sat down for a cup of cappuccino. It wasn’t a fancy hotel — they had some really rough linen posing as bathroom towels — but it was clean and adequate. The sea and the surrounding hills gave the hotel some bonus marks. And there was free Wi-fi service too.
I discovered that when it comes to the sun and the sea, it doesn’t matter whether you are a Singaporean living on a little island, or an American living in a huge landlocked area. Every single person on the boat ride to the isle of Capri was visibly excited.
The Tyrrhenian Sea was breathtakingly blue. I looked into the distance and all I could see were two beautiful shades of blue separated by the horizon and unadulterated by any man-made objects. All my troubles — not that many, really — went away in an instant.
A noticeable change of colours at the Green Grotto.
It does feel like a tourist trap at the Blue Grotto, where you alight from the original vessel and pay €12.50 to hop onto a smaller rowboat for four people. I went with the crowd and wondered what the fuss was about. Before I could convert the amount to Singapore dollars, I saw the waters in the enclosed grotto glittering in an incredible shade of cobalt blue. There was light coming from the tiny cave entrance, and from underneath the waters. It was so surreal.
The cruise took nearly ninety minutes and we accumulated an insane amount of salt on our faces by then. No one was complaining, not even the ones who were seasick.
Food obviously doesn’t come cheap at a touristy restaurant with a sea view to boot.
I wanted to bring back six of these cans but I decided a photo will do.
There are severals options to go up the hills in Capri. You could pay to go up by taxi, bus or cable car, or you could walk. I clearly didn’t want to do too much climbing when the temperature was above 30 degrees. It was €1.80 for a sixty second ride on the cable car.
The Chinese in me commented that this place must have really good fengshui, where one could have a hill behind your house and water in front. And the Singaporean in me began to wonder about the cost of living there, as well as the proximity to amenities. What a damper. Duh. I could barely tear myself away from the cliff — not even when Prada and Gucci were beckoning behind.
Monster aloe vera!
We walked into a garden beyond the row of retail stores, where White tourists were enthusiastically snapping pictures of the various flowers on display. I sniggered discreetly, “Ah, the bougainvillea. I see it on the overhead bridges back home. Hahaha.”
Can you believe it was the first time in my thirty-plus years of existence that I actually saw the sun dipping below the horizon? People must be laughing at me the way I chuckled at the angmohs and the bougainvilleas. Heh. And for the record, I saw an actual sunrise- a fiery ball of light appearing from behind the mountains in Taiwan.
During the four-course Italian dinner, I exclaimed that our table was special. There were people from four different continents- Asia, North America, Australia and Africa- dining and wining together in another continent- Europe! It was an enjoyable evening of fine food and great company at the Foreigner’s Club overlooking the Bay of Naples. And we refused to tip the lounge singers because they sucked.
The place was plastered with photographs of famous people. So we see that this marketing tactic isn’t unique to Asia. That was one of many gelatos I had in Italy. I must have burned off a fraction of the calories as we wandered in the tiny streets full of shops and bars. I picked up a pair of slippers for €7, and realised much later it claimed to be a pair of ‘Havaianas’. Pardon me, I didn’t set out to buy counterfeit items. I merely wanted a pair of black slippers which wasn’t as garish as the other ones on the rack.
Walking back to the hotel, I sheepishly confessed that I was going to slap on a facial mask after an entire day out in the sun. Anti-aging routines have to be taken seriously, more so when you’re in your thirties. Heh.