December 08, 2012

Birthday Adventures, Part 3

Whew.  Eventually I'll get caught up on this blog!  Thank you to my sweet hubby who is taking over the breakfast and kid duties this morning so I can sit in bed and type!!  Anyway, picking up from where we left off...

Our hotel in Capri included breakfast each morning.  We squeezed all 8 of us around a table, with Zaden in his stroller.  Though the breakfast foods were different from what our kids are used to, they managed to fill up quite nicely!  Bananas, kiwi, yogurt, various breads and spreads (jam, Nutella), Swiss cheese and prosciutto, prepackaged cookies and biscotti, etc.  We finished up and left in good time for some exploring before lunch.

First stop on Friday (Nov. 23), an old monastery built in 1371 that now houses a collection of artwork by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913).  The paintings were massive!  Beautiful, too, as was the chapel with its elaborately painted ceilings.  It was so strange being able to just wander wherever we liked; we were the only tourists there at the time.  We discovered that there were classes in session when we walked out to a courtyard area, so we tried to hush the kids (Lucan was running pell-mell through the paths and having a grand old time!) and scoot them away to somewhere else.  It was a quiet, peaceful place, seemingly even more so because of the cloud covering that almost muffled any other movement or sound.

Look!  It's the Island of Capri!

See Lucan in the middle running?!
From there we walked toward a path that leads down to a beautiful beach area; however, upon arriving at the gardens at the top of the walk, we found that the beach walk was gated off.  So we contented ourselves with looking down below and then enjoying the gardens.

"Two roads diverged..."  The path to the right is the one that would have led us down to the beach; the left path took us up a bit higher to the overlook and garden area.

The sun came out during our time here, and I have to say this was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.  The gardens were so lovely, and again, it was just so peaceful!  The older boys immediately set off marching around the paths, hiding in nooks and corners, playing some kind of ancient Roman game of their own imaginings.  Lucan exclaimed with delight at the fish in a statue's pond and rowed his "boat" (the so-shaped bench) far out to sea.  Zaden actually took a couple of steps on his own (but immediately plopped down once he realized he wasn't holding onto anything).  Kenna alternated between playing with the little boys and running around looking at flowers and playing her own kind of twirling princess game.  Charis whipped out a book to read.  Ted and I cuddled on a bench, reveling in the beauty around us and feeling full and content watching our sweet children.

All too soon the troops began clamoring for lunch.  We walked to the square in search of water bottles and sandwiches, then took everything to the hotel to eat (along with our leftover pizza from the night before).  Zaden, Lucan, and I napped in the girls' room while the older kids played games and read with Ted.  Once everyone was awake again, we caught a bus to Anacapri--and the ride was a whole adventure in and of itself!  Hairpin turns along the edge of the cliffs and a bus driver who thought nothing of the distance from top to bottom!  Be still, my beating heart!

We arrived in Anacapri around 3:30--only to discover that in the off-season everything closes up by 2 or 3 p.m.  Sigh.  One sweet lady took interest in our family when she saw us trying to decipher the sign outside the cathedral she attended, Chiesa San Michele.  Though it was officially closed, she motioned us in and allowed us to tour the place anyway!  The floor is painted in great detail with a Garden of Eden scene; there is a narrow boardwalk on the perimeter that allows you to walk all around.  Then the older 3 kids and I climbed a winding staircase to the balcony area that gave us a view of the whole floor.  We also saw the pipe organ.

This was really the only thing we got to see in Anacapri.  We walked the loop that took us by other points of interest, but as they were closed, we only saw the outsides of buildings and decided it was best to just get back on a bus to Capri.  We decided to visit "our" restaurant from the night before, much to the delight of the men who waited on us.  We were even more tired this time, though, and we did not linger long!  Once again we hastened back to the hotel (with yet another box of leftover pizza) and had an early bedtime.

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