Even though I was in the goodbye mood following the last week of my program, I was really excited to head to Southern Italy with Laura and Erin and now that it's over, I'm really glad I traveled a bit after my program. The one negative was that I had all my stuff with me. I kept wanting to explain to all the people giving me judgmental looks that it was four months worth of stuff - not one week! And I'm pretty banged up from carrying it around everywhere. Anyway, we spent one night in Naples - my least favorite city I visited in Italy. I just felt like the whole place was dirty and everything seemed to be under construction. To be fair, I didn't really give the touristy things a chance - we didn't do the Naples underground tour that is highly recommended or the Archaeological Museum, so maybe if we'd done some of those things I would've liked it more. The pizza we had was good, but not worth the grunge of the city, in my opinion. After the dirty big-city feel, the absolute beauty of Sorrento's natural coastline and fresh lemon-y smell was a literal breath of fresh air.
|The view of Naples from a high point in the city - the city is huuuuuge.|
|The sunset in Sorrento our first night - much more my pace than Naples.|
|It's so intact! And I bet it was so beautiful all those years ago.|
|Plaster casts of people who died - sent chills down my spine.|
|Mt. Vesuvius! You'll have to take my word for it that I went there. Photographic evidence was limited due to fog.|
The next day we took a day trip to the island of Capri - such a beautiful place. This is where the Blue Grotto is, a famous cave tourists go to where the entire thing is lit up and bright blue - but we opted to go to the beach instead. After all, it was vacation time and the weather was beautiful, and the beach was for free, so we said, sure. The beaches were all pebbly and the water wasn't warm enough to go swimming, but it was so nice to just relax.
|The port of Capri - we took a ferry there!|
|The view from the town square of Capri.|
Our last full day in Sorrento we headed to Positano. I say "headed to" rather than "went to" because apparently there had been a mudslide and buses couldn't get Positano. Rather than let us know that, the bus we were on just took us to Amalfi (I have certainly missed the ease of communication I find in America...) Either way, it was a beautiful drive and this was we got to see a lot of the Amalfi Coast. And Amalfi was beautiful. We didn't do much more than lay on the beach there agian, but I'm not complaining. I've never actually seen water that color and it was so gorgeous.
|The drive was a bit scary at times. Those are tall cliffs. We were on a bus.|
|Such pretty contrasts between the sea and the water!|
|The view from our "private beach" which we found after wading through some water, climbing a rock, and just generally being where we shouldn't have been....|
Thursday Erin and I headed to Rome for the last few days of our week together. I liked Rome a lot more the second time around. We just ambled around and saw all the big sites at our own pace, which was very different from seeing it with a group of ten people. Plus, the weather was gorgeous. I had a flight home at 6:45 AM Saturday, so we stayed up all night Friday until my cab arrived - needless to say, I was pretty tired on the airplane home. But I'm home now!
|Trevi Fountain at night! I threw in more coins :)|
|The poppies of Italy in full bloom1|
|Roman Forum and Palantine Hill - so cool!|
|Yes, we stood there.|
|The view of Rome from a monument for Victor Emmanuel II.|
My time in Italy was amazing and I'm really sad it's over. I haven't had much time to decompress the experience yet, so I have no great insights as to how I've changed or what I loved most. I can't even pick a favorite city that I visited - I liked so many different things and tried so many new things. After this trip I know that I want to visit all 50 states in the US, and that I will definitely be back to Europe. I know I can't live in Italy, at least not at this time in my life, because I can't handle the laissez-faire approach to time and goals, but I could definitely see myself retiring in a city like Sorrento, or at least living there for a few months out of the year when I'm older. For now, all I can say about being back in America is that Americans talk really loudly and being able to understand every single thing people say is so bizarre. The use of ice is throwing me off and the amount of t-shirts I own is actually appalling to me. Guess it's time to go shopping!