Late on Monday night, I returned from a weekend class visit to southern Italy, specifically the places mentioned in the title. Unfortunately, I was not able to take many pictures because my camera is currently either unable or unwilling to turn on (my suspicions are that it is not a fan of European batteries, or Europe in general). However, I was quite impressed with southern Italy and the breathtaking scenery.
We woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to take a bus down to Pompeii. (It started raining as soon as we got there, but fortunately cleared up just after 50% of the people in our group, including myself, had purchased umbrellas.) For those of you readers unfamiliar with the area, Pompeii is the cite of the catastrophic volcano that erupted in the 1st century and literally burying the entire city. However because almost 15 feet of ash covered the city before the volcano erupted, the lava did not destroy the city and it remains almost completely intact after 250 years of excavating. I was very impressed by Pompeii because since it was covered by volcanic rock for 1600 years, it was not changed at all since the volcano erupted. The main road of the city is east-west, has a road, sidewalks, and even lead piping that were fed by the aqueducts and channeled into fountains.
Many of the buildings still are covered by the original paintings, and in some of the stores/restaurants, it is possible to see the counters and pottery that were actually used. Nothing looks like it has been touched which is amazing for how old it is.
We were told by the guide that over 3000 human bodies remained preserved inside the ash and rock and some of the plaster casts are on display. I personally found them to be very disturbing and sad.
After our 2 hour walking tour, we were free for lunch. Several of us went to a restauraunt close by. It was reasonable priced, however, we ended up paying 20 euro in service charges (on a 50 euro bill), which is almost unheard of in Italy! Afterwards we piled back on to the bus and headed to our hotel in Sorento. The hotel ended up being way up in the mountains above Sorento and everyone was disappointed about how cold and windy it was. This did not stop several of the boys from jumping in the pool and acting like 12 year olds while the girls bundled up, drank wine, and enjoyed the view. Later that night we went to a restaurant and made our own pizzas.
We woke up at the crack of dawn to have breakfast and head down to the Amalfi Coast. Which involved taking a tour bus through the mountains for several hours. I did not enjoy this experience very much because I was car sick, and in general, I try to avoid being touristy as much as possible. Let me tell you, there is nothing more touristy than being on a tour bus on the tiny mountain roads in southern Italy. When we finally did reach Amalfi, I felt extremely sick and ill tempered and probably did not get as much out of the experience as I would have liked to. We did see a beautiful church and I was able to do a little bit of shopping and get something to drink, so by time we left I was in a much better mood.
We had lunch and a drawing class in the small village of Revello. The panino I had for lunch was one of the worst so far in Italy, however in general the town was adorable. We took some pictures while we were there, and then got back on the damn bus for another 3 hours to go back to Sorento
By far, my favorite part of the trip was that evening in Sorento. Kelli (the ragazza (girl) I am picture with above) and I went shopping and were able to find a lot of things we really liked. I bought a little black dress that looked like it was made for me, a pair of white jeans, a bracelet, and a bottle of local win which I gave to my host family when I returned to Rome. We had dinner as a group and then returned to the hotel.
The next day, everyone was exhausted and in no mood to venture in the rain to get on the bus so we could go back down to Sorento. However, thats exactly what we did. We stood in the rain waiting to get on the boat that would take us to Capri, realizing that this probably wasn’t the best day to head to the beach. The boat ride wasn’t too bad, however many people in our group got sick from it. It didnt really help that we were standing outside in the rain and the sea was a little treacherous. When we arrived, I took a bus up to the town of Capri with some friends so we could have lunch and do some shopping. I didn’t buy anything, however, because most places were designer boutiques and the people working in them had an attitude. After a while, we (Kelli, Jacob and I) decided to go sit on the beach until it was time to go back to the boat.