This past weekend, our program sponsored a trip to the Almafi Coast, which is on the south west coast of Italy. We stopped in Pompeii, and toured the ancient site. We walked the stone roads with indents made from years of supporting chariots, viewed homes, restaurants, and forums that were marked by ruins of columns. It was a beautiful day- not many clouds, clear sky, hot but not sweaty hot, and Mt. Vesuvius was clearly pictured in the background. One of the most interesting (keep in mind, I say interesting because it was not expected) was the Brothel in the ancient city. Phallic images were raised in some stones on the street to point you in the right direction. Once inside, the ancient people could choose what they wanted, essentially from a menu, and go merrily on their way. Definitely not something I was expecting to see in the ancient city. We also saw bodies, or plaster models of them, that were made and preserved after being discovered under the ash and rocks of the Volcano’s eruption centuries ago.
We then proceeded onto Sorrento. On the way, I was planning on sleeping, but I just couldnt keep my eyes from wandering out the window. After a little while into the bus ride, everyone had their faces pressed against the window to look outside. In the background, we saw Mt. Vesuvius, but in the foreground now was the road, followed by a stone ledge, followed by a cliff, followed by villages down by the water, followed by the Mediterranean Sea (then Vesuvius). Our leaders allowed the bus to pull over, where we took pictures with the picturesque mountainside with houses alongside it, with the turquoise water, and more rocky cliffs in the distance. After getting back on the bus, we continued until we got to Sorrento. Similar views were seen here, and they were absolutely breathtaking. We walked through town and stopped at a bunch of cheap touristy shops, passed probably 1,000 bottles of Lemoncello, Lemoncello paraphernalia, Lemoncello candy, lemons, etc. Not really sure what the big deal is, but we went along with it. We arrived at an overlook, where we saw where our boat would take off from the next morning, and more mountainside-water-picturesque landscape. It was obviously very different than Tuscany, but it was probably the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen (along with Tuscany, maybe slightly surpassing it because of the water).
That night, we ate out included dinner, and walked to a pretty American bar. They advertised that they show NFL games (when they’re playing, obviously), so we went in and caught a rugby game.
The next morning, we headed out to the Island of Capri. Although very touristy, it also has to be one of the most beautiful places. We opted to do a 2 hour boat tour of the island for 13 euro, and we figured we could just sit on the beach later. After paying 50 cents to use the bathroom, I was ready to go. Probably the best 13 euro I’ve spent so far. Our boat was all PC kids, with the exception of 3 girls. The rest of the program (maybe 25 kids?) that went on the tour crammed onto the other boat (we only had maybe 15 kids, which took up little space on the boat). They had more of a party boat going, with music and Andrea, one of the CEA program leaders in his speedo, holding the microphone, yelling at us to wave at him for a picture. Again, something I didn’t expect, but we are in Europe. Our boat was quiet, but more relaxing. On the boat tour, we toured grottos with glowing waters (there were glowing orange rocks at the entrance of caves and combined with the clear turquoise water, it looked like it glowed), saw caves up on the cliffs, went under the “wishing arch” located in one of the famous three rocks of Capri, and got to jump into the Mediterranean Sea and swim around. Usually, in swimming pools, I’ll instinctually open my eyes under water. I did that here. And it was the sea. Not really sure why, but I was glad I did. The water was bright and clear. I could see others’ feet from far away. There weren’t any fish nearby, but I could see seaweed or some plant at the bottom. The view of the island from the water was unbelievable. I could look up at the cliffs, across to Vesuvius, see other islands, rocks, caves, etc. It was literally a sea-level perspective that was different than the boat. We all met up the second time we went to jump into the water. It was pretty warm, and it was nice that our boats tied up together to hang out. I took a 6 second panorama video of my view of the shoreline, the other boat, and the other boat blasting the song, “I’m on a boat.” It’s not the clearest video, but you get the idea. The water doesn’t look as clear because it was a darker blue in places, but in person, it could be a royal blue and still be clear. It was unbelievable. Very salty, though.
On the way to swimming, when the boat pulled out of the dock, I saw ominous clouds in the distance. I said to the boat, “Those clouds don’t look promising.” They weren’t big clouds, nor did they end up coming to the island, but they were dark and looked like storm clouds. Sure enough, along our sunny, clear boat ride, we turned around to see a very thin, very faint tornado (or water spout, which is a tornado over water- we weren’t sure) in the distance. Since the storm was far away and there were no clouds for miles overhead, this didn’t effect us, but it was very cool to be experiencing a beautiful day with a casual tornado in the background.
After the tour, we headed with sandwiches (can you say prosciutto crudo, mozzarella, e pomodori?) to the beach, which we didnt realize was all rocks, and relaxed. We didn’t swim here because we were in the shadow of the mountain, and we were kind of cold and trying to dry off with a damp towel as it was. However, the water was so blue and so clear that I couldn’t help but getting several pictures on the beach, on the rocks, and of the coastline. I gave kudos to the kids who were running along the beach, because I couldn’t even walk without shoes.
We boarded another ferry to take us back to Naples, but the bus was waiting for us. I fell asleep before the boat left the dock and woke up when we arrived, so I couldn’t really tell you how that part of the trip was besides that I was exhausted from the weekend.
After all that, it was nice to come home, shower and get the salt off my body, and watch the Lizzie McGuire Movie.
If you read this whole post, congratulations on your attention span. I applaud you. I’ll try to find time to update this more often so it doesn’t build up like this.
Ciao a tutti.