In a recent reply to this post, I told a story about how my partner Kirk and I missed the ships last tender in Bali. I also mentioned that I was once stranded on a mountaintop on the Isle of Capri. Surprisingly, that "mention" triggered a lot of interest from CruiseMates readers who requested me to tell that story. So here's the story, but be prepared for a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong one (Probably in installments).
In 1988, a 3 week Transatlantic/Mediterranean cruise was offered for a give-away price on a highly rated ship, so without hesitation I booked it. For years, we dreamed of such a cruise but never thought it would ever become a reality. Now it was about to happen......pinch me!
There was only 1 port stop in route to Europe, so we had all the time in the world to get acquainted with our fellow passengers. On the second day at sea we met James and Lyle, a nice couple from the mid west. During the crossing, the 4 of us spent endless hours in conversation and by the time we reached Europe we were the best of friends. We became so tight that the buzz around the ship was........... I'll leave it up to your imagination.........Not!
With our new best friends in tow, we went on a full day excursion. It included the Blue Grotto Cavern, Capri, and the mountaintop city, Anna Capri. In a small open-air tender we were transported close to the entrance of the Grotto and then transfered into a 4 passenger rowboat (there were 6 of us). I was ready to complain about the tight fit, but I changed my mind when a strikingly handsome Italian rower introduced himself. Was he worth worth the inconvenience? YES! Once inside the Grotto my attention was directed to the unusual deep midnight blue color of the water and not him. Reflections of light cast on the water through a small opening of the cavern causes the water to sparkle (sort of like a mirrored spinning ball that you'd find in a dance club). It was AWESOME! Historically noted, the Blue Grotto was the porn playground for Tiberius. Anybody got a time machine??? As the tour was ending I gave the Italian stud a generous tip and took his picture AND silently blew him goodbye kisses......Sigh!
Now on land, a group of us were ushered into a mid size older bus (all the busses were old). The driver spent considerable time collecting tickets and counting heads.... I hate that.......waste of time. Finally, we departed for the loooooong drive up the steep mountain. It seemed like it took forever to get to Anna Capri, the mountaintop city.
Now we were off to explore the city, but before the driver would let us off the bus he gave us instructions; WHERE the bus would be parked in the central plaza, and he reminded us that the bus would leave prompty at 5PM.
James, Lyle, Kirk and I decided to take a self-guided walking tour of the city so we could soak up the sights of old-world-charming, it was truely lovely. Our last stop was the Villa San Michelle; once owned by Axel Munthe the eccentric and doctor to the Royal Swedish family, about 150 years ago. He was also noted for a best selling book (worldwide) on psychiartry.
It was perched on the edge of a cliff and built from ruins found in Roma. The jetliner views to the ocean and vallyes below was BREATAKING! The gardens surrounding the Villa were in full bloom and the sky was as blue as sky gets.....I didn't want to leave. But it was time to go inside and explore. There was more to see then I thought there would be......lots of nooks and crannies ans other things to discover. I took my time snooping around, but I soon realized that I was separated from the gang, so I tried to catch up. I got confused in the twisting narrow up and down staircases and ended up back where I started. Anybody got a compass??? Eventually , I found my way to the exit door and waited outside for the boyz. Fifteen minutes elapsed and there was no sign of the boyz or anybody else. Where had they all gone? Surely they would not have abandoned me ??? Guess again Charlie! I looked at my watch and I only had 15 minutes to get back to the bus before it departed. I put on the steam and briskly walked towards the plaza, but half way there I saw an attractive bauble in a store window that intrigued me, so I stopped to buy it. I explained my time constraint to the salesgirl and she obliged me with a quick transaction. Just seconds before I reached the plaza I looked at my watch again and I was very relieved to know that I was 4 minutes early, or so I thought. The tour bus was nowhere to be found, or any of the other tour busses. Yikes, now what???
I stood in the plaza feeling terribley rejected and I was near tears. Just then, a waiter dashed out of a cafe and headred directly towards me, at top speed. If he hadn't put on the brakes he would hav knocked me down. He was pointing downhill and screaming, "You miss de booooose, you miss de boooooose" (bus). Duh, so what else is new? I asked the waiter how to get to the docks but he didn't understand much English (Maybe "I" should have brushed up on my Italian before I left home ???).
The bank across the street appeared to still be open and I needed to cash some travelers checks just in case I had to spend the night in a hotel. When I reached the front door an employee was locking it. I motioned him to unlock it and let me in, but he turned his back on me and walked away. No amount of pounding on the door aroused him or anyone else &*%$#-+(^##$^$@$*U#@!!!!! I had no currency of any kind, just travelers checks and credit cards (Dumb!). Geeeeeze, what do I do now?