The Amalfi Coast was, without a doubt, the most beautiful place I have ever been. Everywhere you looked there was a breathtaking view.
After Pompeii, we had around a two hour drive to our hotel in Sorrento which is absolutely beautiful!
An interesting road in Sorrento
The hotel was absolutely gorgeous – it was a four star hotel on a cliff that overlooks the water. It had a garden and a pool (even though it was too cold to go in it) and the rooms were huge – American style. We had a patio that overlooked a garden and a bath separate from the shower. I took a bath – it was great!
Lemon tree at our hotel
When we arrived in Sorrento, we had about 2 hours to explore the town before dinner. It was raining a bit, but we ventured out. After a quick stop at a supermarket to pick up some snacks, we all went to an outdoor cafe for an espresso.
Our dinner was in the hotel restaurant and it was delicious. We started off with a ball of rice, meat, and cheese wrapped in eggplant in a tomato sauce. Then, we had braised beef. Dessert was a lemon delicacy – a specialty of the Amalfi area.
Rice Timbale in Aubergines Leaves
On Saturday, we left our hotel at 8:30 AM and boarded a bus. IES arranged for a tour guide for the whole day, so she joined us on our bus. After pointing out a few things about Sorrento, we headed for Positano. The drive was absolutely gorgeous. Our tour guide called the road the “Oh My God” road – she said she didn’t know if it was because the views were gorgeous or because it was so narrow that people felt they were going to drive off!
After about an hour drive we arrived at a photo spot overlooking the whole city of Positano. It was beautiful. We had to board a different bus to get down to Positano because our big bus could not navigate the narrow streets of the touristy city.
We had an hour to explore Positano before boarding a boat to take everyone to the Emerald Grotto.
The boat ride was great, the views were beautiful. It was very wet, so we could not sit outside, though. For me, getting on the boat was an adventure. The waves were crazy and the bridge from the boat to the dock kept moving. I eventually got on, though! The one disappointment of the whole trip was that I was not able to get off the boat to go see the Emerald Grotto – the waves were too strong to get off the boat with crutches. (Just another reason to come back, though!) After the rest of the group got back from their visit to the grotto, we headed for Amalfi.
I did a dance after I made it on the boat!
Amalfi was gorgeous, too! We had about 2 hours to explore Amalfi and grab lunch, so Silvio (my Italian Student Companion) & I explored Amalfi a bit. We visited the Amalfi Cathedral & I bought some souvenirs and a 2 euro bottle of limoncello. After, we went to a restaurant that our tour guide recommended that had salad, pizza, and soda for 10 euro. It hit the spot!
After Amalfi, we boarded our bus and headed up to Ravello to see one of the most beautiful villas I have ever seen. The villa is where writers go when they need to “find inspiration.” I was not writing anything and I was inspired!
After Ravello, we had about a two hour bus ride back to Sorrento. When we got back to Sorrento, Silvio and I explored the city in dry conditions. We ventured off of the main street and got to see “real Sorrento”. It was still very touristy, but beautiful!
These are the largest lemons I’ve ever seen!
Dinner on Saturday was fish. I normally do not eat fish, but decided to try it because I feel so much of studying abroad is trying new things and being open minded. Our appetizer was a plate of penne pasta with shrimp. It was really good. Then, our main course was a fillet of sea-bream. It wasn’t horrible by any means and I was proud of myself for eating it. Our dessert was a tart with vanilla cream and limoncello. It was great, but the limoncello was too strong. I couldn’t finish it.
Baked Sea Bream
Sunday, we left at 8:30 AM for Naples. We arrived in Naples around 10:45 AM and our tour guide gave us a 3 hour bus/walking tour. After a quick stop to take pictures from the top of a hill overlooking Naples, we ventured down into the city.
Naples reminded me a bit of New York – it was very dirty & garbage was piled up on the street. While It is not ideal, it does have a certain charm to it! Apparently, the Italian government had to send the army in to pick up the trash two years ago because the garbage situation was so bad.
After our tour, we stopped for world famous Neapolitan pizza. The pizza was, as promised, phenomenal! I would stop in Naples just to eat the pizza, that is how good it was.
We arrived back in Rome at 6:00 PM on Sunday night. It was an amazing weekend I definitely will remember for the rest of my life.
Note: This post was originally published on April 18, 2011 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe” which chronicled my study abroad experience.