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What a day!

This morning we had to drop off clothes for Brandy to get washed (her bag was still MIA this morning). Afterwards, by here for breakfast and a little internet time before heading out. We went by the room to pick up our stuff and as we were walking out I happened to spy a space heater in the closet the maid had opened. She spoke no English but with the little Italian we’ve learned we managed to explain the heat problem and she gave us the space heater. We were at once grateful and a little miffed that it had sat there while we were cold. The owner has been scarce every since we got here. Not much we can do except tell people about the treatment we got. I’m sure it’s a nice place in summer – nothing stupendous but nice. In the winter, at least, say far clear of the Sorrento Relais B&B!

Happy to know we’d have a warm room, we walked down to Marina Piccolo to catch a boat to Capri only to discover that the boat we’d watched leave as we descended the steps and hill from the city above, was the last one to Capri until 2pm… Well… nice… We also found out that there were limited chances to get back today, the last being at 5:25pm. But I’d heard Capri was georgeous and Brandy wanted to see Tiberius Ceasar’s home on Capri – where he apparently ran Rome the last of his life. So, we decided a quick trip over would have to do. Left and wandered around the town for awhile – much to my dismay for that second ascent and descent that I knew was coming. I complained bitterly that I’d spring a euro for the bus back up when we got back from Capri.

Slightly before 2pm, we arrived at the boat and were underway. It was a great afternoon to be on the boat. The deck seats were full so we sat in the front with the sun pouring in on us. I felt such warmth that I had forgotten from the past week in Italy! It was like Spring was finally here!

Getting to the island, I have to say it is beautiful. Green mountains rising out of the sea covered with little homes here and there. I’m sure incredibly expensive to live there, but oh, I could so retire there and never leave. I understand why an Emperor lived there! I also expect that slaves carried him up that hill!

I had read in my guide that there was a Funicolare that takes one up the hill, so we found the ticket office and then the actual Funicolare in the city center. It’s like a train that’s built on an incline and crawls up the mountainside. Great views but the glass did not make for good photos. At the top, we asked how to reach the Villa Jovis, and a local pointed us in the direction and said it’s easily an hour. Looking at my watch, I knew that if that was true there was a chance we’d miss getting there before closing (4pm). The only option is walking the little trails the locals live and shop on.. So, we began to walk… and walk…

…and walk… Along the way, we had concerns we were not on the right trail and asked one guy who told us, “Si, Arceola Naturale” when asked if this was the trail to Villa Jovis. So on we went, finally arriving at this gorgeous site. I had to stop and take pictures. It was a large rock arch with beautiful blue mediteranean water all around. It was just picture book perfect. Getting ready to continue we noticed a little problem… hmmm… dead end… where the heck??

Heading back up, I suddenly understood his answer, the site we’d seen was the NATURAL ARCH… oh… We began to ask people as we ran into them for Villa Jovis. As we went we got better and better instructions and figured out that we’d been on the wrong route for at least 30 minutes… great… lost time… a lot of lost time… now less likely to make it…

Finally back on the right route.. I started to fear just how high we were going to have to climb. I pointed to a far away rocky outcrop and statue and said, gulping for air, “I think that’s where we have to go!” Brandy said “no! just climb!” She’d make an excellent drill sargeant one day… I don’t think I was fully aware for the last few minutes of the ascent. I only remember issuing vague threats about people who count the steps as they go up stairs and about hurling myself (and the hotel room keys) off a cliff if I didn’t make it so as to punish my torture… erm… travel companion…

As the site finally came into view, Brandy had to conceded the far away statue and rocks were our destination… oh… THUD! That would have been the sound of me falling if I had the energy to…

We got to the gates and they were… locked… It closed before we got there… so we resolved to take a few pictures through the gate and head back… We were about to leave when an old local man walked up and asked where we were from and about us. Then he said, “I live here. We go round gate. I do everyday!” He asked where we were staying and how we were getting back then told us we had time to make it to the boat. He lead us to a spot where there was a way in and showed us the site himself. He knew the place as well as a guide would have. From the top he pointed out the sites around us, Sorrento, Massalubrense, Positano, and the Amalfi Coast as well as Vesuvius. He told us he had family in Miami. He was just the nicest person I’ve met on this trip. He showed us back around to the other side and directed us back down the hill.

We still ran desperately down the hill. It’s a little intimidating to imagine not making the last boat and having to make arrangements to stay there with little in the way of belongings with us. We were off the top of the hill, Funicolare and all, by 5pm. We stopped at a couple of souvenir shops before making our boat.

Now, we got back to the room and Brandy found out her bag has been located! It’s at the Rome Airport, so since we are heading back there tomorrow, we’ll try to get sent to the Hostel there instead of here (no point now), but she’s happy to get that back!

We also found out that we pretty much missed the epiphany. We saw a parade this morning and everything has been very festive, but the Epiphany gifts and all that were this morning. The big celebration was last night after we stumbled in from Naples (which explains just a bit of the insanity we saw there).

So, incredibly tired but happy, we had a meal at a little italian restuarant. I think we’re both pretty stuffed and tired. We both have added blisters to our feet today and I think the morning wake up will be very hard!

That’s probably it from Sorrento – next stop Rome!

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