Capri’s Blue Grotto is One of the Island’s Most Famous Tourist Attractions
Part of the fun of traveling with a friend is bonding with them while taking in the local sites. Today my friend, Justin, and I hired a water taxi to explore the Blue Grotto also known as Grotta Azzurra.
How can you not want to visit a mysterious natural sea cave described as “Tiberius’ water-filled nymphaeum?” We decided to go first thing in the morning, since you can’t visit if the seas get rough and during our time on the island we’ve noticed the water gets rougher in the afternoon.
After about a 15 minute water taxi ride from the main port in Capri, we knew we were getting close to the entrance based on the number of Japanese tourists groups in the boat traffic jam.
You enter the blue grotto in a row boat lying on your back
We then had to transfer to second boat– this one a row boat– to enter the grotto. We paid €12.50 Euros each to enter and while we waited our turn we noticed the Japanese tourists leaving the grotto were giggling like school girls. I’m a big fan of people watching, and I think it was worth the price of admission alone to just watch the Japanese tourists have so much fun.
Watching the Japanese tour group get into their row boats was like watching passengers flee a sinking ship, but with more giggling.
In addition to the price of admission, you are expected to tip your oarsman.
One you are in the row boat you have to lie on your back to enter the Grotta Azzurra because there is a very low clearance to the cave. That’s why you can’t visit if the seas are rough. you might get a little bit damp, too.
I took these shots with my Canon DSLR once we entered the cave.
I was surprised at the color of the water once we entered the grotto.It was shockingly Tidy Bowl Blue. The color is caused by the minerals on the rocks below being reflected in the light. It was rather fun, kinda drippy and cool.
Row Boats filled with tourists in Capri’s Grotta Azzurra
I loved the tourist’s iPhone in the foreground of this shot. It adds so much character.
Tourists enjoying the boat tour of the Blue Grotto
It took a minute for our eyes to adjust to the the sunlight after emerging from the grotto
Obligatory tourist cliche shot of tourists exploring the Blue Grotto (complete with Devil Eyes). We paid for an oarsman, not a photographer.
The Blue Grotto is definitely worth a visit if the weather allows and you’re visiting Capri. It’s fun to check out and not that time intensive. Sometimes it’s fun to be a silly tourist– especially when jovial Italian oarsmen are involved.
The deck is a great place to drink your morning coffee– or just to chillax
I’m currently in Italy where I am spending the week exploring the Amalfi Coast with my friend, Justin.
We’re currently on the island of Capri where we’re staying at the fabulous and chic JK Place Capri. Staying here feels like you’re in a private villa instead of a hotel. There isn’t a formal lobby or reception area– although the place has great staff who will pick you up in the hotel’s signature golf cart the second your ferry arrives from Naples or Positano and drive you the 5 minutes to the hotel.
The hotel’s details make you feel like you’re staying at a chic friend’s place
The island of Capri is small (a little over 4 square miles) and is both chic and charming. The center of town is packed with designer boutiques, souvenir shops and restaurants. Day trippers come in by boat to check out the islands sites, but I’ve very much enjoyed staying here.
Much like the island itself, JK Place Capri is intimate and chic with only 22 rooms and suites.
Laid back elegance is the vibe at the JK Place Capri
The gym is spacious and well equipped for the number of rooms and you feel much less guilty about indulging in the local pasta and vino after having a great workout. I’m really enjoying the hotel’s chic, laid back elegance. The rest of the guests I’ve met are well-traveled and friendly and willing to pass on their favorite tips and picks.
The common areas all have thoughtful details and comfortable seating areas
In addition to the gorgeous bedrooms, the hotel has a huge spa (packed with good smelling Santa Maria Novella products), a restaurant, a library stocked with a fantastic coffee table book edit in multiple languages. The common areas and rooms all have wifi. The patio is expansive and impressive and great place to enjoy the view with your morning cappuccino or a cocktail. The pool is large and there are plenty of pool chairs available.
Fresh Flowers and Art Are everywhere on the property
I’m particularly crazy about the hotel’s library, which is packed with TASCHEN books galore
Classic Rooms at the JK Place Capri start at $701.00.
A panoramic view of Urban Restaurant at O. Fournier
Mendoza, Argentina is incredibly scenic. Nestled next to the Andes mountain range, Mendoza boasts gorgeous views in addition to tasty Malbec. For my second wine tasting lunch during my trip to Mendoza, I headed to the O. Fournier Winery, which was about a 90 minute drive from the Park Hyatt Mendoza.
May is fall in the southern hemisphere, and it was a beautiful autumn day complete with leaves changing color in the Vineyard.
Located in the San Carlos District, O. Fournier Winery is nestled at the base of the Andes Mountains.
The modern, minimalist architecture of the winery was rather stunning. The whole place oozed a sort of James Bond Villain’s Lair-chic vibe.
A View of the Lake and Andes from Urban Restaurant
There are worse places to have a leisurely lunch
Lake and Mountain scenery at the O. Fournier Winery in Mendoza
Welcome amenity- complete with a chocolate Seattle skyline- at the Four Seasons Seattle
I’m a big believer in all kinds of travel. I love traveling solo, exploring things at my own pace and taking as many photos as I like. I also enjoy traveling with my husband– we met while traveling and it’s a mutual passion we’ve shared throughout our relationship.
Traveling with friends is something I’ve made an effort to do throughout my adult life– it’s a great way to bond and get into deeper conversations than are possible when we catch up just for dinner and drinks. I particularly enjoy girls trips– which are often the hardest to arrange due to busy schedules, and demands on our time (and resources) by families and careers.
I’ve always been a girl’s girl. And while I have many male friends, it’s spending time with my girlfriends, both new and old, that makes me smile the most effortlessly. Since I’ve started this blog, traveling with my girlfriends often comes with a little bit of baggage. I sometimes have to take time out from meaningful conversation to photograph room service or take a property tour because, well, that is what I do. Of course girlfriends are understanding about this stuff– that’s why they’re my girlfriends. In my real life I have several close friends who don’t have Facebook pages, Instagram accounts or “know what a twitter is.” We need actual face time to touch base. Besides, it’s rude to assume all your friends read your blog.
Modern, understated luxury at the Four Seasons Seattle
My recent girls trip to Seattle with my friend, Erica Hargreave of Roamancing, was fun and relaxing for a few different reasons, not the least of which is because our friends at The Four Seasons Seattle put us up and we got to use the hotel as our basecamp for our girls trip.
Erica and I met about a year and a half ago in Cairo where we both presented at the IOETI conference on digital tourism and have since become friends. Erica lives in Vancouver and we’d been talking about meeting up in Seattle for a girls weekend, which we finally made happen a few weeks ago after several months of planning (see above re: busy schedules).
Left: an artistic in-room lighting fixture Right: Orchids at reception
Since Erica is a digital storyteller, I didn’t have to explain why I was instagramming room service or live tweeting. She was doing it to. We sipped on room service lattes– delivered in a speedy 9 minutes after the operator estimated a window of 15-20 minutes– while simultaneously blogging in pajamas.
Testing out room service is one of the perks of the job
Girls trips differ from others because they are refreshingly devoid of war memorials and usually include a little bit of pampering. Getting time away with a girlfriend is a luxury in itself but Erica and I also got to check out the signature services offered by the Four Seasons spa (you can read my post about Spa Style here).
Bathrobes and a deep tub– appreciated luxurious touches to a girls trip
Erica enjoying the television in the mirror feature at the Four Seasons Seattle
Erica took advantage of outdoor pool every day
Erica arranged for us to check out Savor Seattle’s Gourmet Seattle Food & Cultural Tour-- something I probably wouldn’t have done if I had been planning a solo trip (where I probably would have arranged a photo tour of some kind). I was happy to go along with it and found that I really enjoyed it. Traveling with girlfriends can challenge me in a different way than other traveling companions, and it’s always good to challenge yourself. I discovered that I really enjoyed the food tour, and found plenty of photo opportunities on it.
Not only did Erica and I get to relax and reconnect while on our girls trip– we also got to try out new things and enjoyed doing it. When I suggested we order Bloody Marys from room service and have them delivered to the hotel’s hot tub, I learned that Canadians don’t have Bloody Marys as a brunch beverage staple. We also learned– from fellow hotel guests in the hot tub with us– that we should try the Bacon Bloody Mary or the Beef Bloody Mary next time.
A view of Seattle’s Great Wheel from The Four Seasons
With Mother’s Day coming up, I encourage this blog’s female readers to think about taking a girls trip– whether it’s a relaxing weekend away or just a brunch date. Reach out to your mother, your sister or a female friend and try to find the time for the two of you to relax and reconnect. Friendships are one of life’s great treasures and it’s good to make nurturing them a priority in your busy, adult life.
I think I have a few other girlfriends who would enjoy trying a bacon bloody mary. I’m going to call one of them later today.
The Motorized Fans Above Gleaming Wood Tables at Ulagalla’s Liya Wela Restaurant
It’s always cool when a hotel has a bit of history. At Ulagalla eco-resort in Sri Lanka, the hotel’s reception, bar, and the Liyawela restaurant of are located in a beautifully restored 100 year old Wallawwa (colonial manor house) that once belonged to the village chieftain.
The Sri Lankan Breakfast Was Spicy and Satisfying
I ordered the Sri Lankan breakfast which included a local specialty called string hoppers, chicken curry and sambol (a chili-like condiment). It was the right degree of hot for me. The menu also had an American breakfast and Continental Deluxe but what would be the fun in ordering that?
The menu had a variety of dishes including vegetarian options. I enjoyed the curries especially. Sri Lankan curries are hot, but I found Ulagalla’s to be nicely spicy. At dinner, the biryani was particularly tasty.
The Wine Tree Was a Whimsical Touch
Why can’t E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape grow on trees? It’s my favorite (and pairs nicely with spicy food). Ulagalla has an underground wine cellar with a glass roof, should you like to pair your food with a nice bottle. This tree, decorated with empty bottles is located at the entrance to the Lilaweya dining room.
The Motorized fans help keep you cool even if the food is hot
Ulagalla believes in bio-cuisine and has food available whenever you are hungry. While 24 hour room service is available, I preferred to dine with my fellow guests in the hotel dining room. One night during my stay, tables were set up poolside which was a nice treat. You can also arrange to dine in one of the rice paddies if you’d prefer.
Dinner portions were just the right size for the tropical climate
Night at Ulagalla’s Restored Colonial Mansion
One night I ate at a table set up near the pool. It was lovely.
The Estate’s walawwa, or grand manor house, was orginally built over a 100 years ago.
Scenes from a restored colonial mansion
A view from my breakfast table overlooking the pool at Liya Wela
Ulagalla Resort is located in Thirappane village and about 20 KM from the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Ulagalla is member of SLH Hotels and can be booked directly from the SLH website.