Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Amalfi, I love you!

This past weekend was one of my favorites so far within my travels of Italy.  I know that after I come home from a weekend trip, I tend to blog about my "new favorite part of the country" but this time I'm being so honest (even though I haven't been lying in the past, promise)! The roommates and I decided to head down South to the Amalfi Coast.  We decided to book our trip through a student travel group better known as Bus2alps.  Before coming to Italy, I had already heard so much about this company and how amazing it is from a few of my friends that studied abroad in the past.  The trip was 4 days with a tour of Capri, Positano and Pompeii, while lodging in Sorrento. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into but had heard nothing but good things about the Amalfi coast so I was really excited to see what all the hum was about.

The entire Bus2alps group!

Day One:
We left Florence at 7:30pm on Thursday night in order to get to Sorrento by early Friday morning.  The bus ended up taking a total of 7 hours for us to get there which was rather long, but the crew had plenty of movies for us to watch and an amazing air conditioning system to keep us comfortable. I slept for almost the entire trip which was nice and snuggled into my bed at the hostel as soon as we got there. When people typically think of hostels, I feel like they imagine a dirty run-down place with lots of smelly Europeans.  This place was exactly the opposite! It was more like a 3 star hotel that just happened to have what they call dorm rooms and is known on a website called Famous Hostels. The girls and I shared a room with a few other girls that were on the trip and it was perfect.  The hostel had a roof top patio with two bars that looked over the city of Sorrento and you could see the water. It was great!

Day Two:
The day began a little too early for my liking considering the weird sleep schedule from the night before but as soon as I had a coffee in me, I was ready for whatever the Amalfi had to offer. After waking up at 6:30 we made our way to the water to catch a ferry over to Capri.  Being on a boat is one of the best experiences I think.  No one is really unhappy when they are on a boat, which is just lovely! :)  Once in Capri, we got on another boat that took us around for a tour of the coast line.  There we saw the Blue Grotto which is one of the 7 wonders of the world.  It was unlike anything I have ever seen before.  Amy, Jennifer, Kim and I got into a little row boat and headed into the Blue Grotto. The guide told us to lay down in the boat so we wouldn't hit our heads... we all just looked at each other with somewhat frightened and excited faces at the same time and did what we were told. The inside of the cave was illuminated by an electric blue reflection of the natural light on the white sand. It was unbelievable! Im so happy that I could catch the essence of it with my camera! At first I thought that the light was an electrical light, similar to a hot tub light haha but I was glad to be wrong!

The view from Anacapri... aka the top!!

Inside the Blue Grotto... one of the 7 wonders of the world 

My favorite girls! :)

After seeing the Blue Grotto, we saw the Green, White and Coral Grottos'.  Each one having a little something different to offer.  The White Grotto was one of my favorites with really interesting geological striations.  It was a trip down memory lane to my class of "rocks for jocks" aka Geology 101. Haha but I really appreciated the beauty of it! The Coral Grotto was interesting because right below the water line there was orange coral that was poisonous to human touch.  If you tried to touch it, it would burn your skin.  Bizarre. From there we saw more of the coast line with villas belonging to Sophia Loren, Giorgio Armani and Mussolini's Castle now belonging to the Gerber family.  The coast line resembled the land of prehistoric times and was so peaceful. After getting off the boat we cruised around the town for lunch and through the shops to buy some handmade leather sandals.  I bought a pair of black sandals and got a picture with the cute little man that made them for me! From there we spent a few hours on the beach catching some rays.  


The White Grotto

Lovers Rock-  You're supposed to kiss your lover as you go under it with hopes of returning! :)
Sophia Loren's Villa built into the cliffs



Little green man that is meant to say good-bye to boaters and hope for their return! Kinda looks like he's fist pumping tho ;)

Me with the man who made my sandals! :)

Day Three:
Saturday morning, they were a little nicer to us about the wake up time being at 9am and we left soon after for Positano.  Its a beautiful town on the coast similar to Capri.  Whats fascinating about the towns near the Southern coast of Italy and lining the mediterranean, they tend to resemble Greece more so than what I have seen so far in Italy.  I already mentioned in an earlier blog that something that I love about Italy is that each place has a different flavor and something that makes it so special in its own way.   We spent the whole day basking in the hot Italian sunshine and playing in the water.  Catching a boat halfway through the day, we traveled over to some cliffs where we got to cliff jump and swim in some caves. Im normally not a fish when it comes to being by the water but I absolutely LOVE swimming here. The water is so blue and the salt feels good against my skin... You can also float so much easier in salt water which is kinda fun too! I read my new favorite book by an Italian author on the beach as I perfected my tan. I could have stayed in Positano for forever.

Beautiful Positano!

Jumpin' in to go cliff jump! :D

Giving my toesies a nice little dip! :)

Me, our new friend Angela, and Kim playing in the water

Day Four:
Before heading back to Florence, we stopped in Pompeii to see the ancient ruins of the city.  I had learned about Pompeii in school a long time ago but had forgotten a lot of the details.  I love going around on the tours in Italy and learning all of the history that they have here. Pompeii was founded in the 7th and 8th centuries BC and most of the city is still there.  When the Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, 10,000 kilotons of ash hit the stratosphere before spreading over the city killing people immediately.  Once being discovered in the 1700's, archeologists dug up the town and discovered bodies, ceramic pots among many other things. We got to see a tour of the ruins with the guide showing us the different rooms and what they were for.  One of them being a spa, another being a gym, steam room, bakery and a brothel with ancient pornographic paintings. It was so fascinating to know that people have been living the same way since the beginning of time and all these things that we do on a daily basis today is just an innate part of being human.  I loved it!

Mt. Vesuvius



Pots and a plastur cast encasing the bones of a Pompeiian person

Our tour guide informing us of the ancient Pompeiian musical amphitheater

Roommates- Caroline, Amy, Me, Jennifer, Kim and our friend Angela :)

After Pompeii it was home again to beautiful Florence, which is feeling more and more like home. Every time we leave, it feels better to be back.  I love living here and feel like its now a part of me.  One of my favorite sayings in Italian since I was 16 is "la vita √© bella" meaning "life is beautiful" and now more than ever, I can agree with that statement.

XOXOX. Ash

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