How can one possibly sum up the beauty, goodness and splendor of Capri in one measly blog post? It’s simply not possible. But nonetheless, I have to do my best to tell the story.
I had been looking forward to Capri more than any other stop on my Mediterranean Cruise. The pictures I’d seen were incredible, and I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself. And at the top of my list of things to see was the Blue Grotto- supposedly one of the most beautiful and fascinating destinations on the island.
The second we stepped off the ferry I was in love with Capri. The rugged coastline, the cobalt blue waters, and everything else around me was breathtaking. I immediately inquired about the tours of the Blue Grotto. Much to my disappointment, there was over a 3 hour wait (and that didn’t include the boat ride there or back). There was no way we would have time to tour it. We hadn’t eaten lunch. We wanted to take a boat tour of the island and to see the panoramic views in Anacapri. We simply didn’t have time to do everything, so we opted to do all the other things on our list and shake off the fact that the Blue Grotto wouldn't be one of them. I was disappointed, but then again it was pretty hard to stay disappointed about anything for long when you’re somewhere so beautiful.
We hopped on another boat to tour the rest of the island. We bounced over wave after wave, watching the beautiful scenery passing by. We sailed under I Faraglioni, through various grottos, and alongside ostentatious yachts. Every sight outdid the one before. It was all spectacular.
After the boat ride we took an open air cab up to Anacapri, which was equally the most beautiful and terrifying ride of my life. I’ve been afraid in cabs in all sorts of cities. New York seems bad until you’re in Spain. Spain seems bad until you’re in Rome. And this cab just made every other cab ride in the world child's play.
If it were even possible, Anacapri outdid any view we had already seen. Not only could we see the sparkling coastline below, but flowers were growing on vines up the stucco walls and giant lemons hung heavily on the branches of lemon tress (and you could smell the pungent citrus every time the breeze would pick up). Just when I thought it couldn’t get anymore beautiful, we rode the chairlift to the top of Monte Solaro. I sincerely am lacking words to sufficiently capture the beauty we saw around us. All I can say is that I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life.
After soaking up every ounce of the magnificent view, we did as our boat captain instructed and cabbed from Anacapri to Al Capri for lunch. I’ve eaten lots of delicious food in my life. And I’ve seen some pretty spectacular views. But the Neapolitan style pizza on the cliff overlooking the isle of Capri hands-down beats any other meal and any other view that I've ever experienced. No comparison. They both take the cake. So needless to say, I really went for it. I had a caprese salad (again, the best I’ve ever had). I ate an entire pizza. I had 2 glasses of crisp, dry, local white wine. And I washed it all down with a shot of limoncello.
At this point I was definitely buzzed and I was loving life. More than I know how to express in words here. I didn’t think it was possible for life to get any better than it was in that very moment.
After lunch we cabbed back to the bottom of the island again. Suddenly, a local tour guide approached me and was selling private tours to the Blue Grotto. We had to be on the ferryboat that was leaving in just over an hour. “I heard there was a 3 hour wait today” I questioned him. “No wait with me bella” he coaxed me. “I give you private tour. No line for you. 35 Euro- I take you now" I didn’t even blink. “Let’s go” I told him.
We started following him and my brother pulled my arm. “Whitney, we have to be ON THE BOAT in an hour. As in it’s leaving then. If we mess this up and miss our cruise, that’s a couple thousand dollar mistake.”
He was probably right. Maybe if I hadn’t had 2 glasses of wine and 2 shots of limoncello (I took another one at a gift shop before the tour guide approached me) I would have used my common sense. But I’ve also learned this year that God loves to come through when we least expect it and show off for us. And for whatever reason, I knew that this was the case in this particular moment.
“We’ll be fine” I told him. Still, he didn’t let up so easily. “I don’t have any more Euro, Whitney." I handed the man my credit card. “Max- we are in Capri for less than a full day. We have a chance to go inside the Blue Grotto when we didn't think we would. Can you guarantee we’ll be back here again? If so, I’ll play by the rules. But I can’t. So forgive me if I sound reckless or irresponsible, but I’m swiping my credit card. I’ll pay for both of us. Hell, I’ll pay for our flights to Barcelona if we miss the boat. But we’re going to the Blue Grotto"
A few minutes later we were in a tiny, inflatable boat (which I’m pretty sure could pop from a simple safety pin) going at least 55mph. We bounced over every wave as I got splashed over and over. My white dress was getting dirt all over it from the floor I was sitting on. But I didn’t care. I had vino and limoncello pumping through my blood and was moments away from the Blue Grotto.
A few minutes later we were surrounded by boats. It was chaos. Row boats. Motor boats. Yachts. Everything. We buzzed around the cove until a row boat pulled up to our side and we jumped in and paddled towards the entrance.
For the 3 or 4 minutes that we sat inside the Blue Grotto, life stood still. It was reveling in a moment that I didn’t think was going to happen. It was sitting in awe of the sparkling blue waters that were shining brightly, lighting up a dark cave. It was literally a miracle happening before my eyes. Not just the natural wonder of bright, beautiful light illuminating the darkness, but the fact that I was there against all the odds that had been stacked against me.
I’ve come to believe that God lives for moments like this. Moments we didn’t see coming where he get’s to show off for us. And he reminds us that these are the days. I can’t guarantee what next year, next month or even next week will hold. Hell, I don’t even know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow. But I can believe confidently that there is so much magnificence constantly unfolding around me. And he's got it all under control.
This was a moment where I got something that I really wanted. But it didn’t happen according to my plan. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me recently. And quite frankly, I wish circumstances back home could be as posh. Because even downgrading about 10 levels from this would still put me in Naples eating heavenly pizza. But that’s certainly not the case. Either way, that day in Capri gave me a beautiful reminder to take back with me when I'm feeling stuck or discouraged. It reminded me that you’re usually not going to get what you want in the context that you have in mind. But God loves to come through in the 11th hour. He loves to give you the desire of your heart, and then some, all when you don’t expect it. And the adventure he takes you on along the way leads you to see some other incredible things that you never would have otherwise.
Had I gone to the Blue Grotto on my own agenda, I would have planned carefully, and it would have required me to shave off time that I spent in Anacapri at the magnificent viewpoint. Or eating one of the best meals of my life at Al Capri. But instead, I got to experience all the above. How lucky am I?
These are the days. The ones where we have the chance to experience glory. The adventure we’re on isn’t necessarily the one that we would have planned. But I truly believe that it’s one that will ultimately reveal more beauty, more splendor, and more joy than we could have ever schemed ourselves. So be ready for adventure. Jump at the opportunity to go where God leads you. And expect a lot of magnificence along the way.