Our first destination was the Blue Grotto. Part of the experience of the Blue Grotto is getting there, not in terms of the road, but the machinations of ticket-purchasing and row-boat placement. Since we arrived by car rather than boat, we were coming in the back way.
Visitors who had taken a boat from the marina (as we had almost done before we got hijacked by the taxis), were required to step out of the main boat, transfer to a smaller boat, then were taken over to a floating platform where they had to buy Blue Grotto entrance tickets. From the transfer boat, they precariously stepped into a small rowboat which would finally take them into the Blue Grotto.
Coming in the back way as we had, one merely had to walk down a steep flight of steps carved into the stone cliff and wait your turn to step onto a rowboat which would take you first to the ticket platform, then directly into the Blue Grotto. This we did while our taxi drivers waited for us in the parking lot above.
The line was not long. In fact, it consisted mostly of our group. Tony, Gino and I were helped into our boat and then were rowed over to buy tickets from the floating platform.
A few feet away yawned the dark opening to the grotto. As we approached the entrance, we knew to lean back to avoid the heavy chain that hung across the small opening into the cavern.
Although a visit to the Blue Grotto is an obvious exercise in tourist-exploitation, we tourists are willingly and gladly exploited. We’ll pay that inflated fee and go through all those boat transfers just to coast a mere five minutes inside this amazing place. It’s worth it!