Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Amalfi Coast!!

This past weekend I visited the Amalfi coast and spent a day each on the island of Capri, in Positano, and exploring Pompeii and Vesuvius. Let me start with Capri: awesome. We got to our hotel in Sorrento Thursday night, and by Friday morning we were on the ferry to Capri. We stepped off the ferry in Marina Grande and right onto a smaller boat that took us all on a tour around the island. Somehow I snagged a seat right at the tip of the bow and it was incredibly fun seeing the island and being on the almost rollercoaster boat ride due to the waves. Circling the island gave us amazing views of the cliffs and beautiful villas perched on them. I feel repetitive, but I can’t stress how BLUE the water is here! The rest of the day was spent trying to find the bus to the town of Capri, finally getting there, and then hiking our way to Marina Piccola on the opposite side of the island for some swimming. My friend Christina always remembers to bring her goggles so we got to check out the underwater flora and fauna as well. Before leaving to return to our hotel we fit in some limoncello and chocolate tasting—the orange flavored chocolate was SO good!

Saturday was spent in Positano, and immediately upon our arrival at the beach town we climbed down the 700 steps to the shore and rented ourselves a boat. Luckily it came with a driver who took us out along the coast to a private beach where we could just jump right in the water off the boat and go swimming. I had heard of people going cliff jumping in Positano and was so excited to do that, but unfortunately the only “cliff” we encountered was less than 15 feet high. I still had such an amazing time swimming in the crystal clear water and jumping off our rocks. It’s a little unnerving when you can clearly see the rocks at the bottom of the sea’s floor as you’re jumping into it; they seem much closer than they really are! One of the things I really like about studying abroad is how easy it is to meet new people. For example, we needed a larger group before we could rent a boat that day so we just introduced ourselves to new people and went out and spent the day with them and had an awesome time! The beach was made up of black sand, pebbles, and stones, with worn down sea glass sprinkled throughout it—it was beautiful. This place is unreal. Everywhere we go is just more beautiful than the last. I just keep saying to myself “you’re in SCHOOL right now”. That night after dinner we went out, got gelato, and just walked around Sorrento enjoying the bustling nightlife.

Walking through the city of Pompeii was really amazing. Everything was so well preserved that it was extremely easy to get the feel of what life was like for the Romans who lived there. Amazingly enough, the writing on the walls of the buildings was preserved, and you could even see the expressions on the faces of some of the plaster casts made of the people who died almost 2000 years ago. What made the experience even more remarkable was being able to see the volcano whose eruption buried the city in the background the entire time we were walking around. What must it have been like having THAT good of a view of the miles high mushroom cloud of ash and gas? Luckily, the best view I got was only of the calm Vesuvius, but what a view it was. After leaving Pompeii I jumped on the opportunity to climb to the very lip of the crater of the volcano, and it was worth the hike up.

The weekend before this trip my parents, aunt, and uncle came to visit! It was so nice getting to see and hug them in person—skype just doesn’t cut it sometimes. I got to show off my knowledge of the city and took them around to several piazzas and markets, climbed Il Duomo, and then went out to eat at Gustapizza! Luckily I got to spend more than just one day with them and stayed with them at a villa in Civitella in Val di Chiana where we had a DELICIOUS dinner at L’antico Borgo—if you ever get the chance, GO here! The following day we went and explored Perugia, where I had the best cup of hot chocolate ever, and Assisi, which was just as beautiful! That Sunday I had signed up to go on a tour through the Chianti vineyards and do some wine tasting. It was a perfect day and of course my camera died right as we got into the vineyards but the hike was amazing. We went to a private villa for the wine tasting and got an incredible lunch of bread and olive oil, prosciutto, two types of pasta, and biscotti to go along with the wine which was produced by the family whose villa we were in. We also got the chance to taste grappa and ew. This weekend I have plans to go to Rome with a few friends, I’ll post pics soon!

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