Friday, June 20, 2008

Italy - Day 4

Today started with a rousing bus ride to the port, where we boarded an island skipper and rode out to the nearby island of Capri. Once there we quickly boarded another boat destined for a small alcove around the side of the island, the Blue Grotto. Here we waited as small, mini rowboats, oared by a crew of one, approached our craft to take on passengers (4 a piece). Once loaded, each of these vessels ducked through a tiny opening in the cliff wall, bringing us into a hallowed out cave beneath the cliffs. Here, in the Blue Grotto, the water is illuminated an incandescent blue color, lit so by rays of light from the sun reflecting off the sandy ocean floor under the island. It was very dark (as caves generally are), but a pretty neat sight.

Most everyone was happy to get their feet back on solid ground (counting the first ferry ride to Capri, and then the long wait for the rowboats while we were already out to sea, we'd been rocking on the water for a fairly long time). From here we boarded a tram that would take us partway up the hillside, and once at that level everyone was given time for lunch and shopping. I don't know where most of the students ate, but the adults enjoyed delicious (and authentic) Italian pizzas at a local ristorante..

Regathering after lunch, we set out to hike up to the top of Capri to tour the Villa Jovis, an immense ancient Roman palace dedicated to Jupiter. The hike was quite vigorous (Mrs. Vitt is notorius for walking very fast, but everyone kept up quite well, even the chaperones), and the view at the top absolutely spectacular!

After walking through the villa, we retured down the hillside for another brief time for shopping and gelato before boarding our final boat back to the mainland. Upon returning to Sorrento, the students were given a rare 2 hour block of free time in town before meeting the bus again. This time was spent shopping amongst excited Italians cheering on their football team in the World Cup playoffs (the game ended in a 1-1 tie). Several of the boys elected to continue watching the game in Mr. Kozel's room once we returned to the hotel before dinner.

For dinner we were given the option of pasta, ravioli, or soup, followed by a second dish of salmon, meat balls, or chicken salad. Following dessert, everyone returned to their rooms to pack, as we'll be moving on to our second hotel tomorrow. Departure is at 8:30, first stop of the day will be Mount Vesuvius.

Quotes of the day:

"Goat children, do you have your tickets yet? Children of the goat?" - Mrs. Vitt

"I'll write [a reminder note] in the dipping sauce stuff... Olive oil... It's been a long day" - Jeremy Gustafson

"Oh for cute" - Nick Kozel

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