We finally arrived at the train station in Florence en route for our 4 day trip to the Amalfi Coast. First we checked in with our tour group, Bus2alps. Bus2alps is a great European tour group geared towards study abroad students so we were with other students from all over Europe. Once we checked in, we quickly learned that we were going to be traveling on our bus for 8 hours into the night. It wasn’t too bad because we watched movies, slept, and also had one 45 minute break at a rest stop in the middle of butt nowhere Italy. We arrived at our hostel in Sorrento at around 3:30am and quickly went to sleep.
Day 1: Island of Capri
Ding Ding goes the alarm at 6am because we had to be up and ready to begin our day at 6:45am, YAYYYYY FOR GETTING 2 HOURS OF SLEEP!!!!!!!! We ate a quick breakfast at the hostel then made our way to the ferries. My clothing choice was the not so smart decision to wear a sundress because my thinking was “Oh we’re in Italy, I need to look cute! So I’m going to pack a sundress and wear that!” However it was 50 degrees. Luckily I also wore my jean jacket so the upper half of my body wasn’t THAT cold.
We boarded the ferry and made the 45 minute long trek to the Island of Capri. Upon arrival, I was STUNNED by this quaint little Italian town. Everything was pure Italian and nothing was touristy. We immediately boarded another boat, but this time for a tour of the exterior of the island! Unfortunately because of the high waves and choppiness, we were unable to go into the Blue Grotto (one of the seven wonders of Europe) but we did boat around the clear blue waters, the beauty of the island and even saw some celebrity vacation homes (as well as getting some great footage on my GoPro).
After the tour, we took a transit up to the second highest point of the island to Capri Town. Here there were many cute designer and small boutiques. We were immediately greeted with Granitas which is one of Capri’s famous drinks- fresh oranges, sugar, added fruit juice and vodka. A delicious mid-morning refreshment. Later we were provided transportation further up the island to the town of Anacapri. Alyssa, and her two friends Nikki and Ilana and I enjoyed lunch at a restaurant.
Later, I decided to venture off on my own and took a chairlift (literally) up to the highest point of the island, Mt. Solaro. The 13 minute chairlift ride was very serene. These views were unbelievable. I felt like I was looking at a postcard. The skies were also very clear and in the distance you can sort of see Naples! I later met up with some friends and we chilled from what felt like being on top of the world. We then decided to head back to Anacapri. Down the chairlift we went and walked around this non-touristy town (which I liked) browsing in the shops.
Instead of taking a bus or taxi down, we decided to take a scenic route and walked down (oy) the island back to Marina Grande which is where the ferry dropped us off and enjoyed sitting on the beach soaking in the Italian lifestyle.
After a relaxing filled day in Capri, it was time to board the ferry again and head back to Sorrento. We rested and went out to dinner in downtown Sorrento at a restaurant that Bus2alps had reserved for us. I met a lot more people here and after dinner was over, we all headed down to a bar in Sorrento that Bus2alps also had reserved. I met a lot more students here studying from all over Europe, including meeting some mutual friends of friends (#JewishGeography). It was definitely a fun night out; I’m glad I went along!
Day 2: Positano
At least for this day, we got to sleep in a bit and didn’t have to be ready until 10am. Phew! I wasn’t sure what to expect for this day because all I knew was that we were going to a small town called Positano. Once we arrived, I immediately knew that this was the town that is on all postcards of the Amalfi Coast. We were on our own for the day and since it was kind of chilly to go swimming, just chilling on the beach was the extent of what we did there.
I met up with some of my friends on the beach and we all took pictures then made our way to the absolute best panini store I had ever had in my entire 21 years. The place is called Vini e Panini. I don’t care what you’re excuse is, GO THERE. No joke. The store was a small mom/pop shop that made paninis from scratch, with fresh meat and cheese. I enjoyed a delicious panini of turkey, fresh mozzarella, tomato and pesto. YUM x357308479830. Along with a purchase of a bottle of wine and some mentos, we explored the beach of the town and searched for the “secret beach” our tour leaders told us about. After some hiking, we found it!
Sometimes, doing nothing is everything. We ate our paninis, drank some wine and enjoyed life on the beach soaking up the beautiful blue skies and sunshine. This was hands down my favorite day of the trip. Later that day, we rested at the hostel and went out for pizza and gelato in downtown Sorrento.
Day 3: Pompeii
Rise and shine again at the early hour of 8am, we packed our things into the bus, said goodbye to Sorrento and then made the trip to Pompeii. This was another part of the trip that I was especially excited for. The ruins of Pompeii is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy (according to our guide), which makes sense because the place was packed with lines of people waiting to go in. The day was hot and sunny, making me quickly regret wearing dark leggings and a dark shirt (maybe I should’ve worn my sundress this day eh?). Note to self—check weather.com.
What can I say about this place? Everything was in its place from when it was dug up. Fun fact: it took archaeologists over 200 years to completely dig up the whole city. It absolutely astounds me that one volcanic eruption completely destroyed this city (not to mention that the volcano IS still active).
We walked around the ruins, exploring homes that once were owned by the rich, seeing the sights of the forum, city hall and even a brothel. Yes, the two-story brothel was still intact and we got to walk through it. We saw all the little rooms once used by child prostitutes and even the graphic paintings on the walls were still noticeable. We also went to the still standing amphitheater and looked into the men’s thermal baths.
One thing that completely stood out to me were the plastered bodies of a man, a baby and a dog in their final moments of life. Very surreal and sad to see. I can’t even imagine living in the town, during a time when science was not as advanced as it now (obvs), and not knowing that the mountain near your town was actually a volcano. Yes, the citizens of Pompeii didn’t even know that Mt. Vesuvius was a volcano!
After the two hour guided tour, we enjoyed some paninis as a last Italian meal at a nearby restaurant and peaced out. Alyssa and I arrived back in Florence and soon got onto our train to Pisa since we had a flight to catch the next morning at 6:45am.
As a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the Amalfi Coast and definitely recommend it to anybody wanting to visit Italy! Perfect place for a summer destination and as usual, here are some things I have learned while being in the Amalfi Coast:
-Limoncello, chocolate, and handmade sandals are common here. Try some limoncello tasting, ditch everything else and eat a lot of chocolate as a dessert (besides gelato) and maybe go and get sandals made especially for you!
-Don’t even try to attempt driving on your own if you have no experience driving along cliffs/on mountains in Positano. Just don’t. The locals know how and it is incredibly scaring seeing them take on these roads like its nothing. Just walk around or take public transportation.
-Just like I did, take the guided tour of Pompeii. You’ll get your moneys worth and you won’t look like a fool walking around on your own not knowing whats what. You probably wouldn’t have known that that brothel was a brothel.
And thats a wrap on my trip! My field study class starts next week and we will be traveling to Seville and Granada. I’m very excited for that and especially after all the assignments I had to complete to participate, I’m stoked to explore around Andalusia Spain. Adios!