Capri at Last

June 24, 2014

Capri has (apparently?) been touted as an amazing resort spot for decades, but it only came up on my radar about ten years ago. What can I say? I’m always a little slow to discover things. That’s me: Mrs. Behind-the-Times.



I first read about Capri when hubs and I were researching our first European trip (we ended up going to Greece, but Italy was a contender). There are incredible pictures of celebrities in their heyday–Clark Gable, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot–vacationing in Capri and soaking in the sea and lemon-scented air. It all seemed so glamorous.


I’d always thought Cannes was the primo R&R spot for that kind of crowd, but apparently Capri has given Cannes a run for its money for decades. Who knew?


Probably everyone except me.

Once I saw the pictures of that place, I knew that if I ever visited Italy, I wanted to park my butt in Capri for a few days. Hubs took a little convincing in that department. He’s a history, art and archeology buff, and Capri doesn’t have much to offer in that department. The purpose of Capri is loafing, dunking toes in salt water and eating–not big priorities for him.  How we manage to vacation together, I don’t know, because loafing, dunking and stuffing myself silly are the main reasons for living, if you ask me.

He came around, though. I promised him that he could drag me to any ruin, museum or historical site he wanted in Venice, Florence and Rome (without complaint!) if we could end our journey in Capri. He thought that was a pretty good deal. Especially since I can’t seem to last even a day without bitching about something. If I stuck to the deal, he was looking at a good ten days gripe-free.

You know how I said that nothing really went wrong on this Italian vacation? It’s true, but I feel the need to state that several things almost went wrong, and the things that almost went wrong happened on the Capri leg of our journey.

Near Miss #1: We almost missed our train from Rome to Naples, where we were then to catch a hydrofoil over to Capri. I mean, we came very close to missing our train. We were running down the length of the train station, heavy suitcases flying, utterly panicked. But we didn’t miss the train. This is a good thing, because I would have been absolutely devastated and livid if the Travel Gods decided to fuck with me on anything remotely related to Capri. It took me a good half hour on the train (and a glass of wine) to get my heart to stop hammering.

Near Miss #2: When we arrived at our (holy heck amazingly beautiful) hotel and they asked for our passports, hubs said, “Honey, they’re in your bag.” Ummm, no. They were so not in my bag. Immediately, my heart began hammering again and my voice rose about 17 octaves as I ventured, “Babe? You didn’t forget our passports, did you? Honey? You didn’t do that, did you?”

He hadn’t. He’d just forgotten which bag he’d put them in. It took us about 5 minutes to ascertain that, though, so I sat on the deck at the hotel, looking out at this beautiful, magical view, wondering if I’d just missed any chance I had to enjoy it.

A little bit about our hotel. All hotels in Capri are expensive–it’s that kind of place. We were able to swing a few nights here thanks to travel/airline/Amex points; otherwise, the JK Place Capri would have been way out of our price range. I guess that’s one benefit to waiting and saving four years for a trip–you have plenty of time to collect points.

I think it’s safe to say that we could have just stayed at the hotel 24/7 and been perfectly happy.


I mean, the thing is basically hanging off a cliff, for heaven’s sake. The food was delicious and the staff was warm and welcoming and we had a lovely little deck in our room to relax on if we wanted solitude.


And we did spend a lot of time there, but we ventured out to the town of Capri a few times to window shop and eat and wander around. The town itself isn’t much–a bunch of very high-end designer shops, a few touristy trinket joints, some fetchingly quaint places to stop for a drink or a meal. During the day, the cruise ships dock in Capri and it becomes over-run with visitors, but once the sun sets, the town becomes quite a different (much nicer) place. Everywhere we went, we heard the same thing: avoid town during the day. We also heard that we were visiting at a very good time–just the beginningist-of-the-beginning of tourist season. Apparently, June-August is just crazy mobbed.

We ate a few meals at our hotel, just because we were lazy and the food was good. Breakfast was my favorite meal there because the JK Place serves my kind of breakfast–local mozzarella and goat cheeses, grilled vegetables from their garden, juicy tomatoes and fragrant basil, teeny, plump baby artichokes marinated in silky olive oil…oh, wow. For a girl who hates traditional breakfast food, this was heaven. I think I ate insalata caprese (the official salad of the island of Capri–tomatoes, fresh mozarella and basil) for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

We ate dinner at our hotel once and the food was delicious but a little too fancy for my taste. I mean, the dish you see below was listed as zuppa de pesce. Zuppa de pesce is traditionally a rustic (almost peasant) dish, made from the day’s catch and any other odds and ends you can throw in. I don’t think I’m seeing any “odds and ends” of anything in that dish, are you?


It was that night, our first night at the JK Place, where the Great Carbonara Bet came into play. As we were relaxing before dinner with a few lovely olives and nibbles of things, my husband said “This place is really swanky. Wanna bet that there aren’t any prices on your dinner menu?”

Still stinging from the 300-Euro lunch in Venice, I refused to believe it.

“No way, I said. This place is fancy but way more laid back than that place in Venice. They’ll list prices on the menus.”

“That’s not what I said,” my husband replied. “There will be prices on my menu. Just not on yours.”

“Whaa? Get the heck outta here,” I said. “That’s totally antiquated. No way would they do that. That’s weird.”

“Weird, maybe, but I read that a lot of the fancier places do that.”    Hmph. Where was this little tidbit of information when we were jet-lagged and ravenous in Venice? Had he been studying since that little debacle? How did he know this?

“Well then, since you know all this, no deal. No bet. You obviously know that I won’t have prices on my menu, then. I’m not falling for that, bucko.”

“No, honest. Really. I don’t know. I didn’t read anything about that here. I’m just getting a feeling that it’s going to be that kind of place.”

I looked around at all of the couples sitting around the pool. It was an eclectic mix of young, middle-aged, beautiful, craggy. Designer-clad and Levis-clad. I couldn’t get a fix on it, but I knew that this was a far different breed of clientele from the geezers at our Venetian accommodations.

Well, shit. I couldn’t say anything with confidence, but I’m a betting woman, so I took him up on it. “Okay. I think I’ll have prices on my menu. Wager?”

My husband shrugged.

This is classic hubs: he comes up with some crazy bet and hasn’t yet thought out the spoils of battle. It’s really cute and incredibly irksome at the same time.

“Fine,” I said, rolling my eyes. “If I lose, I will come back home, do research, and make you the best pasta carbonara you’ve ever eaten. How’s that?”

The idea of another plate of carbonara in his near future must have addled him, because then he said, “Sounds good. If you win…ummm…I’ll buy you any trinket you want in town.”

“You’re a moron!” I gave him the crazy eyes. “As if. Did you see the shops in town? There was one called ‘Prada.’ And one called ‘Dolce and Gabanna.’ And that little place called ‘Chanel.’ And a bazillion jewelry shops. Don’t you think you ought to be a leeetle more specific about parameters than ‘I’ll buy you any trinket you want?'”

He smiled winsomely and adjusted his sunglasses. “Honey? You’re wearing a swimsuit from Target. I’m not worried.”

“Hey, I could change!” I protested. “I could suddenly love to shop and not be so cheap that I…argh! Piss off!”

I lost the bet.

I think he cheated.

In fact, I know he cheated, but he refuses to admit guilt. L-I-A-R.

I’d be pissed off, but then again, his plate of homemade carbonara means another plate of carbonara that’s all mine. Look forward to that little experiment in the near future.


I also ate a lot of spaghetti vongole on that island, another Capri specialty. Oddly enough, I never found the spaghetti vongole of my dreams in Capri, though. The versions I had just didn’t quite hit the mark–they were either too oily, too briny or too skimpy on the vongole (clams). My favorite version of spaghetti vongole was eaten in Venice, at Trattoria la Madonna in the Rialto seafood market. I guess I’ll have to come up with my own version rather than leave it to fate. I’m gonna do it, folks, even though it won’t be easy in a landlocked state like mine.

I think we have some pasta in our future, readers! Ready for it?

The last culinary delicacy belonging to Capri is, of course, the liqueur Limoncello. No surprise, given that Capri is literally covered with lemon trees. I’m not lying when I say that the air even smells like lemons. It does. And mint, too. It’s pretty dang delicious. Limoncello is the only item I brought home with me from Italy. Turns out, my husband is right. When it comes to shopping, I’m a cheap bastard. A cheap bastard who has some Limoncello cocktails coming for you.

My favorite day in Capri was our solo boat tour around the entire island. It was just me, hubs, a little boat, and a charming tour guide who my husband claims I flirted with but I totally did NOT.


We stopped at the famous blue grotto and dove off the boat to swim through the equally majestic emerald grotto. The water was vibrant and verdant and so bracing that it took my breath away.


We got sun-kissed and sea-stung. We floated by Mariah Carey’s villa and the huge properties of the privileged. We looked across the water at Mt. Vesuvius and hoped it wouldn’t decide to explode. We saw the red grotto and the white grotto and (shudder) the bird grotto, which I couldn’t get away from soon enough.

As the tour came to a close, I told my husband, “this was one of the best two hours of my entire life. Thank you, thank you, for bringing me here.”

I cried a little when we left Capri. I felt so lucky, and loved, and awake to the beauty of things. And I thought about this late fall/winter, the hardest seasons I’ve ever endured, and how I couldn’t see the beauty in anything then. How I almost didn’t come out of this winter alive. I thought about days like this one and this one–days that are in my past but are days I still can’t forgive myself for. I almost lost it all–by my own doing–because I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see the beauty in things that were right in my lap and I certainly couldn’t see the beautiful things that life might have in store for me.

I want to forget those days, but I need to remember. It’s the blindness and the not remembering that makes things dangerous. I need to remember the days that seemed horrible and endless and the days of love and lemony, sea-misted air, and how they’re completely opposite and interconnected at the same time.

I’m pretty dang old, but I still have a lot to learn about life and blessings and memories that you need to store in your pocket, so when you need them, they’re there. Those memories can be your map, your bearings, the things that bring you home.



{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon June 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

It sounds like a magical trip. But not magic. Very, very real. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and can share it with us.
Love to you, my friend.


Alison June 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Capri looks stunning. I’m so glad for you that you got to go!


Annie June 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

So many happy days and memories. Thank you for this. You deserved every moment as did hubs. Of course you made me tear up at the end, darn it! I hope you print out a few of these photos and hang them front and center this next winter. Xoxoxo


S in AK June 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Judging by the expression on your face in the picture, you totally were, too flirting with the boat tour guide!


Tiffany June 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm

This was beautiful in so many ways…I’m so glad to see you enjoying life!!


elizabeth June 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Any good European vacation requires some time to sink your feet into the Med and sit and stuff yourself, because otherwise how will you soothe your tired feet from and/or fuel yourself for all of that walking? In addition to that, I believe that the mark of a good trip is that ache of sadness as you leave, because you were able to appreciate all of the beauty before you and the nostalgia is already starting to kick in.

I’ve had an email draft open for ages now since you’ve started your recaps but have felt at somewhat of a loss of what to write–check your inbox in the next day or two for a message!


Velva June 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

It sounds like a wondeful trip-the break from everyday life is divine.

I ahve another friend who was heasing to Capri and was just giddy about the experience.

Welcome home. Start planning your next trip soon.



Abby June 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm

1) It looks absolutely beautiful.
2) You look absolutely beautiful.
3) This post makes my heart happy.


ayala June 24, 2014 at 6:19 pm

You look gorgeous and the two of you are one hot couple :). Happy you got to go !


Jody June 24, 2014 at 7:25 pm



Erica June 25, 2014 at 5:43 am

Oh my, you had me crying at the end. I’m so very glad that you made it through the winter and were able to go on your beautiful trip with your fabulous husband. xoxo


Gibby June 26, 2014 at 6:10 am

Oh, these pictures! I can’t stop looking at them! Just gorgeous, heaven.
You deserve it, glad you had a great time!


Elaine A. June 26, 2014 at 9:03 am

Wow. Looks like heaven. Love the photo of you on the veranda.

And my hubby does the same thing with little bets like that! I usually lose too. I feel ya.

I adore your words at the end. I can relate, so that is part of the reason why…

Now Capri is on my “I want to go there” list.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri June 26, 2014 at 9:11 am

All shades of lovely. Love all the smiles. xoxo


C. Troubadour June 26, 2014 at 11:30 am

Love! You look radiant, Kitch. So glad you shared the joy of it all with us :)


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes June 26, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Oh Capri… I’ve wanted to go for ages!
It looks fabulous!
Glad you had such a good trip.


Devon June 28, 2014 at 3:02 pm

If there is any way possible for you to get over to Procida, I highly recommend it. It’s like Capri before it got discovered, which means this time you can be one of the first to know about it.


Dana Talusani June 30, 2014 at 6:59 am


Off to Google “Procida”–sounds awesome!


Pamela June 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Dang. Now I’m crying. And not cause I missed out on Capri. You DO see the beauty in everything. It’s what I love about your writing. Maybe we need the suffering to get to the happiness. I’m so happy you had such a wonderful experience.

Have you read Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter? I think it takes place on Capri in the 69s. Lots of movie star action and it’s so well written. Xoxo


Dana Talusani June 30, 2014 at 6:58 am


I haven’t read that book! It’s added to my Amazon list now–thanks for the rec!


KitschenBitsch June 7, 2015 at 8:09 pm

I just read this tonight, and your next to last paragraph made me weep. Thank you. Timely. *raises glass* Cheers.


Dana Talusani June 8, 2015 at 8:21 am


It’s good for me to go back and read it sometimes, too. Hope you are well.


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