Day 32: The Amalfi Coast : 2/17/2012

Sorrento:

Even though Sorrento is just around the bay from Naples, it is much less dense, and much cleaner.  There was a group of 9 of us getting on the CircumVesuviano (“Around Vesuvius”) bus to Amalfi.  Everyone fills up the right side of the bus first; They know what beauty lays ahead.  The bus ride there was epic, aside from me getting carsick.   It was well worth it though to see the views!   The road winds around the side of the mountainous coast. Another thing.  I am in awe at the ability of Italian drivers to maneuver those buses.  The get within centimeters of walls, mopeds, cars, other buses, and somehow get around the wild Italians streets.   Traffic laws are a little less rigid over there, yet at the same time, people understand their cars and know how to drive.

Amalfi:

We found our place — a hotel for 25 euro each, right on the water.  Marvelous view. We wake up to the sounds of the sea against the beach, right outside the French doors.  There is a kitchen, common room with a futon, a double bedroom, and a private bathroom.  The town of Amalfi is quiet and friendly too.  The super/owner recommended a great little place for lunch, so we took his advice and enjoyed pizzas all around.  They were extremely accommodating and friendly, greeting us with open arms and putting three tables together right in the middle of the room.  A man with his guitar entered to play for us, but asked for no money–just applause.  The waiters and cooks sang along with his songs.

After finishing some wonderful pizzas, our group made for the beach.  We took off our shoes and socks and ran through the chilly waters of the Mediterranean Sea.  I did not expect such clear, blue water.  We drew hearts and greetings in the sand, taking pictures before the waves came to wash them away.  I collected sea glass and small pieces of tiles  smoothed over by the sand and sea.


Down at the end of the docks we climbed on large concrete ‘jacks’ covered in barnacles and posed for fun pictures with the Mediterranean as out backdrop.  We eventually brushed the sand from our feet and went towards Amalfi’s main piazza and corso.  On our way, we stopped for gelato.

Up quite a staircase is the church of St. Andrea.  We waited outside for a bit, but made it inside a few minutes before closing.  Alex happened to mention that we were architecture students, and Luigi (the man inside the church) lit up. He took us behind the altar, back into the private cloister, and into the crypt.  It was a surprise, and just one of the many examples of how fortunate we have been on this trip.

Moorish influence

….SUNSET

We stood on our balcony watching the sun tuck behind the cliff.  Anne and I got the urge to go down to watch from the dock below.  I maxed out my 8 gig card and finished the battery.  They both lasted 3 whole days (Paestum, Pompeii, Napoli, Amalfi), luckily I have another card and battery for Capri tomorrow.

Right now I am sitting on our balcony, my feet up on the railing, looking at the Amalfi street lamps reflecting in the Mediterranean waters, and Orion’s belt twinkling in the black sky above.  The others are inside playing cards – we are still full from our delicious pizzas.   The island of Sicily is in the distance; faint shimmers like lit candles dance in the sea.  The sea is calm, differing from the crashing Pacific in Santa Barbara, CA. It feels real; I am in Italy.  I am looking out over a mystery.  The ocean is not planned like a city, organized or controlled.  It is chaotic and humbling in its power and volume.  I see the little dipper.  I comforted by seeing the same stars; They are familiar within a new world.  Whenever I see Orion’s belt I think of the Greek letter “pi”… maybe you have seen it too…  I don’t see a moon tonight.

 

 

I am so fortunate to travel with a flexible and adventuresome group of my friends– all trying to see and learn all we can – as economically as possible — yet still some how ending up with some of the finest accommodations I could imagine.  I’m thankful for my family and friend’s prayers, because I know the Lord is looking out for us.

(I go inside for a bit to join one game of Mafia… fitting since we are near Sicily.  In the game, I am a townsperson… in case you know the – game. Cammie is a good–scratch that– the narrator)

It was around 20:00, so we left to find food.  Most of us weren’t very hungry, so went by a supermercado to buy ingredients to make carbonara.  25 Euro to feed 10 people! That was a great deal cheaper than going out again– and fun to cook together.

Berta was the master of the stove.  Our power went off many times, but we had the breaker located after the first time.  We sleep well, and make ourway to the bus stop early so we can get to Capri by a good time.  I will end with a picture of the sunrise as we ride back to Sorrento.

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