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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Italy Day 5: Capri Island Tour

We are over the halfway point of the Italy posts...I promise I'm trying to speed them along!!!

Before heading to Italy I actually wrote out an itinerary for our entire trip (shocker!). We packed exactly enough clothes for what we were doing and planned out a rough schedule for each day. Since we were traveling so much during the trip we had to have a solid plan for several of the days. Most of the things we knew we wanted to do I booked in advance. I feel like we spent more money booking things from home, but it was worth it to not worry about it once we were there. We talked about how people backpack through Europe and how it'd be less stressful b/c you wouldn't be on such a schedule but how you also wouldn't get to do as much. In order to fit in everything we wanted to do...a rather strict schedule was a MUST. So thankful for my mad planning skills ;)

For our day in Sorrento/Capri I actually wrote on the schedule "sleep in!" I knew we'd need ONE morning to relax and I wanted to just be lazy...and this was the day we decided to do it. It did end up causing us somewhat of a stressful moment later in the day but we enjoyed our morning. We got up at 8 (okay, I know that isn't really sleeping in but we'd be running on like 4-6 hours of sleep so sleeping until 8 felt awesome). We just stayed in our bed-head morning looks and ran down to breakfast then went back to the room to get ready for the day! While I was pumping that morning I saw that a lot of people on Facebook had written me in concern regarding the earthquakes. There had been TWO earthquakes in Northern Italy about a week apart. The first one happened before we left for our trip, but the second one happened Tuesday while we were visiting Pompeii. Both were in northern Italy and we, thankfully, were visiting Southern Italy. Still horrible and scary, but we were happy that we weren't where it was all happening. I was thankful for everyone's concern but it was slightly humorous too only because it's like someone worrying about us in south Georgia because there was an earthquake in California ya know?
 Sexxxxy
Such a sweet husband, he helped me out with my pumping situation a LOT. He's a HUGE support system for me with nursing, I'm very blessed. He didn't complain about all the time pumping took up (about 20 min per session at least 4 times a day), didn't complain (at least not too much) about the heavy book bag he often had to lug around, and he'd help me transfer milk to storage bags and label them for me to cut down on time :) Yes, I'm the one providing our daughter with the best nutrition for her, but he helps make that possible!
The milk I had stored in under 24 hours! The main reason we kept our hotel room in Rome was to keep my milk there nice and cold and to not have to worry about transferring it. I had a cooler and ice packs to get this back to Rome and it all worked out perfectly!
I really did enjoy our hotel but the elevator situation confused the heck out of me!!! Since it was built inside a mountain side everything was backwards. The lobby was the highest floor and it went down from there. I was so confused. I went to talk to the front desk at one point and ended up getting off at every single floor because I couldn't figure out where the lobby was. I gave up on the elevator and took the dang stairs haha.
Our train tickets from Naples to Rome weren't until 7:00 so we had most of the day to enjoy Capri! When we were planning the trip I couldn't decide what we should do on this day. I'd heard amazing things about the island of Capri as well as the Almafi coast and I was torn on which to do as we didn't have time for both. I ended up posting it on Facebook (I swear, Facebook is AWESOME whenever I need some advice!) and every single person that replied said Capri was far the better choice, so we stuck with that! We wanted to be back at the hotel by 4 so I could pump and we could ride the dinky train from Sorrento to Naples and have plenty of time to get there. We left the hotel room and walked to the pier.
 Statue Bride?
When we rode our taxi into Sorrento our driver told us about the town square so we were glad that we were able to walk through it on our way to the pier. On our way we had one goal: buy sunglasses. I had packed a pair of my Coach ones but had forgotten to pack them for the Sorrento trip and I knew I'd regret it. Zach hadn't packed any sunglasses at all and it was a sunny day. We knew we'd be out on the water and I knew that without some sunglasses I'd totally get a headache. Shopping for them together was so fun and we bought a style that we'd probably never buy at home. It was GREAT because we didn't have to worry about them. I just tossed them in my purse because they were so cheap I didn't have to care if they got scratched or broken (whereas my Coach ones I would have had to be anal about putting them back in their case every time I took them off). It was the only real souvenir I bought on the entire trip! We had fun wearing them together and were both glad we bought them, it made it something fun :)

 Only one way down!!!
Heading down the mega huge staircase
 Made it to the bottom :)
 Looking back from the pier

When we got to the pier we had a slightly stressful situation. It was 10:45 so we'd missed the 10:40 shuttle boat over to Capri. We didn't know it was a scheduled thing (we thought it was more of a ferry that runs every 30 min type situation for some reason) and we had to buy tickets for a set time to go and return. With us having to be back to the hotel by 4 we didn't actually have much time. We ended up booking the trip and an island tour once we were there that would include the main thing on our agenda for the day - the blue grotto. It all worked out PERFECTLY but it was a scary moment when we thought we wouldn't have time to fit it all in! It also was our most expensive day of the entire trip (not include train travel days as those weren't cheap either but since I pre-booked them I had already deducted that money off of our spending money so it didn't "count"). The tickets for the boat ride over were pricey, as was the tour of the island and the blue grotto (over 115 Euro total which is even more in US dollars!). All 100% worth it but I was thankful we had done such a stellar job at saving up the dough!

Our boat!

 We officially used all methods of transportation while on this trip: plane, train, bus, car, and boat! Also plenty of walking :) The only thing we didn't do was ride a bike!
Right when we got off the boat we had to RUN to catch the tour boat. Like legit run. We were afraid they had already left us which would have been AWFUL. Luckily, they were still there and we made it in time! Kinda rediculous that they would schedule the tour so close to the arrival time of the ferry boat.

  First pic together in Capri!
 Views of Capri


 Checking it all out!
Our tour was an island tour of Capri by boat. It was an hour and a half long and was actually recommended in my Frommer's Guide Book. It gave us some relaxing time out on the water and allowed us to see the sites around the entire island. Plus it included transportation to the Blue Grotto. So it was a win-win situation. It was wonderful and we're both so glad we did it!

This is the highest point of Capri
 I know, I'm strange but I just love cool looking boats for some reason!?! I'm such a nerd

The statue on top of these rocks greets all the boats coming and going to and from Capri. Our guide said the reason he is so happy is because he's not married ;)

 Love the bird sitting next to him



This is where King Tibet would bring his lovers to be rid of them...by throwing them from the cliff.
When we first got to Sorrento we fell in love with the city. Seeing Capri made us even more in love. We decided early on during our trip that we liked Rome, but never have the desire to really go back there. We do, however, totally want to go back to Capri! The whole tour of the island we kept scoping out places to stay and talking about what we'll do "next trip." This tiny spot of beach is called "Lovers Beach." Zach was pumped about coming back here. Baby #3 may have been conceived on this trip if we'd had the chance to visit this romantic spot ;) Of course the audience of tour boats would have made it slightly difficult haha


The stone is actually limestone as you can tell behind me
Is this water not INSANELY beautiful?!?

The bright orange color you see below the water line is actually a soft orange coral

In this cave there are many stalagmites and stalactites. They are blue in color in the evening time.
This one is called the Mother Mary...and it really does look like her!!!
View of how high up they were

Looking so "Italian" in our shades ;) We're legit.

It was neat how trees and other greenery was growing on the sides of the huge mountains

This is the home of a famous Italian artist who always used red for his work.

This is the Arch of Love...where you kiss under it for good luck!
Our boat did not look narrow enough to make it through the archway but we did! And we shared a lucky kiss :)
Under the tunnel
We made it through!

We originally planned to swim that day but it was pretty breezy and cool our whole trip (perfect weather just not swimming weather) so the water wasn't warm enough
This white home is where Armani lives!!!

Can you spot the windy road? Thankful we didn't have to ride up that!
Castle at the top of a mountain

The large home with the three palm trees in front is where the founder of Swarovski crystals lives!
Another random boat

This is the most well known and most photographed spot in Capri


This water is actually a green emerald color



This lighthouse can see as far out as 60 KM and is one of only two lighthouses in all of Italy

It's neat how this mountain is almost a perfect square shape
Roman watch tower, there were lots of these everywhere. It was neat to see that everywhere we went while in Italy had some type of Roman influence.
This is a lookout for pirates

Pretty colors of all the trees

This is the entrance to the blue grotto. We had a large tour group with us on our boat and they didn't have time for the grotto stop so we had to take them back then come back for our stop.
I got slightly nervous when I saw the TINY hole we'd be going through later on!!!
Zach went up to talk to the captain to make sure we'd have time to go back to the grotto and make our boat ride back...we did!
This road is called "oh my God road" (whenever I say that I say it in the heavy, adorable, Italian accent our guide used...for some reason this ONE sentence stuck in my head haha). I can see why it's name that for sure.




While we were waiting to be docked we started talking to another couple who were with the large tour group. They were probably in their 50s and they were from Oregon like the couple we had met earlier on our trip. They were much less annoying though :) They couldn't believe how young we were to be traveling on our own like that. It did make sense that they were surprised because as far as American travelers went all we saw were either college aged girls who must have been doing a summer abroad with their school or much, much older couples who were mostly with tour groups obviously in the retirement phase of life. This couple actually asked us if we were on our honeymoon which made me feel young seeing as we were actually celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary and had left two young kids back home ;) I'm VERY thankful that we took this trip when we did. When I posted our plans online on Tripadvisor many, many people commented and said I was trying to do too much in a limited amount of time. One person said "life is long, you can always return to Italy." I just don't look at life that way. It's not long. We aren't even promised tomorrow so we MUST do everything we can to enjoy every moment we are given. Most people would wait for retirement age. They would talk about taking this trip, maybe even "plan" it all out but then always find a reason to not go. Heck, we had reasons to not go...I was nursing a 5 month old baby. That's pretty legit! It's tough to leave the kids like that but it's SO WORTH doing. If we hadn't taken this trip now...who knows when or if we ever would, ya know? I said it multiple times while we were there, but I'm so thankful we are both DOERS. Yes, I'm a planner but I also plan and DO what I plan! 

Also in talking to that couple I asked them how they liked traveling with the tour and it was obvious they weren't too happy about it. From the tour groups we watched (while at meals and such) it did seem like it would be frustrating. On the positive side, everything is pre-planned for you. But like they said they were constantly on a bus, constantly stuck with the same group of annoying people, and constantly on a "tour." They would get up at 5 in the morning and be stuck on the bus all day hearing their guide talk non-stop. They were also forced to eat at restaurants that could accommodate a large group so that meant less quality of food.  They said multiple times how lucky we were to be traveling on our own and I'm thankful we did it this way as well. It took a good-bit of extra planning and some added stress, but it was worth it to be able to do our own thing :)

Once we dropped off the tour people it was only us and one other couple left for the blue grotto (there were two other couples on the top of the boat but I don't think they spoke English? We never talked to them!). The other couple was young and actually happened to be from Atlanta!!! Small world right?!?! We enjoyed talking to them but also found it interesting how different they were from us. They had dated for like 11 years before marrying and were already in their 30s and were newlyweds. They were also in no hurry for children although their families were putting pressure on pretty thick. I thought it was all so strange to be waiting so long for marriage and children but then I realized we are the strange ones huh? I think they are more what MOST of America is like now...we just happen to live in an area (good old South Ga!) where people still marry young and pop out babies quick ;) 

We were comparing notes as they were just starting their trip and we were "experts" at that point haha. I made a few suggestions about saving money (like the Metro pass for the subway and bus system) and at some point I made a comment about how we worked hard to save for the trip and wanted to spend smart when we could. The girl responded by saying "Or you could be like us and charge everything. Enjoy the trip now, pay for it later." That REALLY stuck with me. Not even ONCE had I EVER considered doing that. I can't imagine living life that way. Spending money you don't have! We do pay for everything (not on this trip, but usually) on our credit card but we only do that to earn the Thank You Points and we pay it off in full EVERY month. I've had this credit card for 7 years and only ONCE did we carry a balance over to the next month and that was when Kye was born and we paid it off in full the following month. I just was in shock that anyone would spend such a huge amount of money and have no concern about how they would pay for it. We had a good chunk saved up for the trip so we didn't worry about money but we still kept track of every dollar (or Euro in this case!) we spent just to make sure we didn't spend more than we had saved. God calls us to be good stewards of our money and I'm so thankful this is one area that Zach and I fully agree on! We both try to spend smart :)

It was 12 Euros each to ride the little boat into the Blue Grotto...we had our money in hand and were ready for the next adventure :)

14 comments:

  1. Rachael_CopponexJune 27, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    LOL Emily Northern Italy to Sorrento is only 500 miles so that is more like ATL to Orlando, or Valdosta to Knoxville :) 
    BUT I GET YOUR POINT

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  2.  Rachael_Copponex snap! it is!?!?! dang I guess I should have been more grateful that we were okay! haha i thought it was SUPER far away!!!! and did you know this off the top of your head or look it up on google...miss smart butt ;)

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  3. Rachael_CopponexJune 27, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    emilysparker   evvvvvveryone knows Italy is not as big as the US.  Haha.  But I did google it- of course I did.
    -Girl with Dragon Tattoo

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  4.  Rachael_Copponex haha my geography sucks. i'm not even positive i could show you Italy on a map...and Zach and I still can't figure out what the 7th ocean is. we tried multiple times on the trip to name them all. it's horrible how much we forget when we grow up!!! and ps: girl with the dragon tattoo is THE perfect nickname for you ;)

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  5. Rachael_CopponexJune 27, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I can't reply to you below for some reason so I will start a new comment.  I LOVE your sunglasses, very "you" and they are actually pretty cool.  
    Good for you for paying for the trip all upfront.  I'm sure a lot of people are "thinking" it and you put it out there.  Haha

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  6. I agree with your savings opinions... & I wish it were that easy for everyone!

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  7. Rachael_CopponexJune 27, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    not saying you aren't normally cool. 

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  8. Rachael_CopponexJune 27, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Can I borrow the sunglasses?

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  9. I'll be sad to see Italy end.  I'm very proud of you for saving up.  My family always did that.  I on the other hand suck with that and did use credit to a fault it's not fun trying to pay it all off.  Smart smart girl. 

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  10. 7 oceans??  I thought there were 4 oceans, and 7 continents...Anyway, I think you should print off a large copy of one of the pictures with the pretty water.  It would match your house colors and theme since it is so beachy!

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  11.  Ashley Troutman and Rachael_Copponex there are only FIVE oceans!!! hahaa I just yelled out to Zach and he didn't believe me at first!!!!! Mediterranean Sea is JUST A SEA and not an ocean! Man I'm learning so much right now ;)

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  12.  Rachael_Copponex i'm glad they got your approval ;) I was going for something that matched my purse, duh. haha but i'm glad it was also something cool. that's always my 2nd goal after matching ;)

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  13. I'm proud Iod you for not matching your sunglasses to zacha hahaha

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  14. Your blog is so awesome! I just did Capri today - how did you remember every little detail from the boat tour? Impressive. Beautiful photos, too. Bless your beautiful family and heck yes to traveling young! I am doing the same but seeing mostly all retired couples makes me sad.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Reading your comments makes my day!



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