My blog has been delayed by some technology issues here in Anacapri, a small price to pay for the privilege of spending three days in such a remote area of an island that boasts some of the most heart-stopping vistas I’ve ever seen.  Where does the sea end and the sky begin? I find myself wondering.  Along with:  I never knew what blue was till now.  Because in Capri, you are forced to redefine the color.

Getting here, however, had its challenges.

My flight from New York to Rome went smoother than you can possibly hope for or expect in 2010, making my $800 ticket seem a bargain (we’ll see what happens on the flight home!).  But following eight plus hours in the air, never sleeping a single minute of it, I felt a bit over-stimulated navigating my way through the train station at Fiumicino with my luggage, onto the jam-packed train, and into Termini Station.  The train to Termini left 15 minutes late, the Eurostar from Termini to Naples half an hour late.  Then, Naples.

Half an hour there may have given me a bad first impression, but the chaos, the filth, the squalor, the angry people.  There was the cab driver who had me follow him quite a long way to his car from the station, without offering any help with my bags, and took off like a sprinter.  He then had me sit in the front seat with him and as soon as we were underway, he stopped for gas, during which he started a fight with the station attendant, gesturing in that mildly violent way I’ve always thought of as an Italian stereotype.

When we had reached my destination—the Molo Beverello port—and I could pry my fingers from the dashboard (I thought driving in Manila was bad!), he now told me the fare was 25 euros as opposed to the 20 he quoted me at the train station.  “Big traffic,” he said, which was the same thing he said to explain the initial fare of 20 euros.  I feel like a sucker now for actually giving him 23, especially after I realized he had dropped me off several blocks from the port!  Let’s just say that the hunched over beggars tugging on my jacket, the cars and motorcycles trying to run me down, the litter in the streets didn’t give me the best impression.

Nor did the ticket office, where two men outside watched conspicuously as I struggled to navigate my suitcase through the closely spaced blocks of concrete, but never offered to help.  The ticket man was gruff, seemingly annoyed that I asked him which of the several docked boats was the one to Capri.

My smiles and buon giornos were not working their usual charm!  Maybe if I’d been less tired…?

But I did make it to Capri, and an extremely friendly taxi driver and possibly the best driver in the world maneuvered up and around the cliffs to Anacapri on the far western side of Capri.  Hairpin curves, narrow roads that at home would have to be one-way but were two-way here, the dizzying heights, the striking blueness of the sea below—way below—no better word to describe it than WOW.

And then, after 18 hours of traveling and more than 24 hours since I’d last slept, I arrived at Hotel Al Mulino, run by a delightful mother-daughter team:  Antoinetta and Simona.  Apparently I am the first guest of the season!  Antoinetta welcomed me with a hug and wishes for a buon cumpleano.  I’d forgotten it was my birthday.  She presented me with a bouquet of flowers and in my room, too, there was a bottle of red wine (which I’m drinking right now) from Ken.  (Miss you, Ken!)

Benevenuto Capri.  Happy birthday to me.