Monday, October 3, 2011

Amalfi Coast-Finally!!!

 I apologize for being out of touch for some time now…my apartment’s Internet has been an epic fail the past few weeks.  I sucked it up and got an Internet USB.  So much for mooching off Wi-Fi.

Anyway, I need to share with you my adventure to the Amalfi Coast 3 weekends ago, which was the most amazing week of my life thus far!  I really wish I could have posted this blog sooner but I have been so busy.  I finally have some down time to reflect.  I apologize in advance for the abundance of exclamation points-I was just so excited the entire time I was there!

Umbra students boarded a bus at 6:00 a.m. Friday morning and departed for our first stop: Pompeii.  I slept pretty much the whole time seeing as I only got 4 hours of sleep the night before.  Ever since my 6th grade research paper on Pompeii in Ancient Civilization with Mr. Gowen, I have been dying to see the ruins.  We took a guided walking tour around most of the ruins with an older Italian man who brought us right back to when Mt. Vesuvius erupted.  I had such a cool experience! Just being in the remains of so many houses and buildings that were left standing was pretty surreal.  We even got to go into an old brothel and got to the see the different rooms there.  One thing I noticed (and the tour guide pointed this out) was that there stray dogs everywhere and because it was super hot that day, they looked like they were on their death bed.  It sounds morbid-I know, but it’s true.  To be honest, I was so hot that day that I didn’t feel like I appreciated the tour as much as I probably should have but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself!

Next, we hopped back on the bus and drove to Sorrento, where we stayed in a 4-star hotel-Hotel Michaelangelo! The drive to our hotel was absolutely breathtaking-we drove along the edge of a cliff that looked out over the island and crisp blue waters on the Mediterranean/Tyrannean Sea.  With Mt. Vesuvius as a backdrop, it was one of the most beautiful views I have ever witnessed in my lifetime!

Once at Sorrento, we checked in to our rooms (which were awesome by the way) and quickly changed into our bathing suits and headed down to the “beach”.  The beach here was more of water and 2x2 patch of rocky sand, but I wouldn’t think to pass up the chance to swim in the Mediterranean Sea (technically it was the Tyrannean, which feeds into the Mediterranean)!  A bunch of kids of school ventured down to the water and we finally found the free part of the beach and dove right in.  OMG the water was the perfect temperature, crystal clear, and super salty (which made floating so easy).  I never wanted to get out! The other Umbra kids and I just floating and swam around and just relaxed.  It was beautiful!

That night, we had dinner at the hotel and had our first hotel bar experience!  We ordered drinks and sat and chilled with all the students in the lobby.  It felt like a “grown-up” experience-never thought I’d see the day when I could order a drink at the hotel bar!!

Saturday morning, we got up and got ready to leave for Capri!  I’m telling you-I will be getting married on the Isle of Capri!  We took a ferry over and as we approached the isle, you could see this big mountain with houses nestled on it surrounded by deep blue water.  First thing on the agenda was to get into a boat that would take me to La Grotta Azzurra (The Blue Grotto)!  For those of you who don’t know the significance of the Blue Grotto, here it is: Inside the grotto, the water glows the most beautiful, intense tones of blue in the world.  It’s the coolest color I have ever seen, (see pix below), however, pictures just don’t do it justice!  I easily took 500-600 pictures that weekend, but they just don’t do the Amalfi Coast justice because everything is just SO beautiful!  Getting into the grotto was a joke!  We had to manage to hop off the big sailboat we were on with a group and get into a 3 person max row boat with an Italian man who would get us in and out of the grotto in 5 minutes.  I was in a boat with two of my friends.  The opening to the grotto was…ready?...2 meters by 2 meters!  The rower made us lie down and he stuck his oars in the boat, he grabbed onto chains that he would pull on to get us through the entrance as he laid back basically on top of us.  Awesome! Once in the grotto, I saw the most beautiful color blue I ever seen in my life-the water glowed!  Our rower asked if we wanted to jump into the water-HECK YEAH I DO! So that cost me 5 euro- a 50% discount.  So worth it!

Later on that day on Capri, I had another chance to swim in the sea.  Literally, I treaded water for 3 hours without feeling tired because the water was just that salty! My friends and I could see straight down through the crystal clear water.  We thought it was about 10 feet, but my friend who dives, couldn’t get to the bottom-it easily could’ve been like 50 feet instead!

That night we had a repeat of Friday night-dinner at the hotel, hotel drinks, and we ventured to an American bar/club downtown (not that fun haha).  If you ever have a chance to try a “Sorrento Special” do it! It’s a combination of prosecco and Limoncello-delish! Apparently Limoncello is huge in the Sorrento area because every single store sold some sort of Limoncello drink or apparel!

Sunday morning we packed up and left for Napoli.  We had tour guides on our bus with us talking about Sorrento and Naples the entire time-all we wanted to do was sleep!  In any case, I have always wanted to go to Napoli because I always hear how beautiful of a place it is; however, I was overwhelmed and didn’t think it was as gorgeous as I thought it would be.  Maybe it was just the area we were in, but it was very touristy.  It kind of reminded me of New York City a little bit.  Don’t get me wrong-it was a very cool city, but after two days of traveling, I wanted to be home!

So, after a whirlwind of a weekend, I have some of the best memories to look back on for the rest of my life! I can’t believe I had the opportunity to take part on these extraordinary adventures! Often time, I can’t believe my life right now-it’s SO cool!

Please enjoy the pictures! I have so many more on my computer that I’ll be sure to share with whoever wants to see more when I get home!

Sunrise is Perugia

Mt. Vesuvius chillin' in the background! No big deal...

Fresco paintings

Just some ash-covered bodies from the eruption...

Oh hey!

A room of a Pompeii house

More of another room

Close up of a fresco painting

The original brick oven!

A room in the brothel/One of the stray dogs

The most beautiful view of my life!

View from the bus ride en route to Sorrento!

Rebecca, Me, Alex, and Jayne in Sorrento

I swam in that water! (Tyrannean Sea)

Ciao from Capri!

Rebecca, Jayne, Alyssa, Alex, Me in Capri

En route to the Blue Grotto

That's how you get into the Blue Grotto!

Inside the Blue Grotto!!!!

My favorite picture of the Blue Grotto

Me on the top of Capri!

View from the top of Capri


Real Neopolitan pizza!!


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