What a whirlwind first week of classes! I’m taking a Cinematic Rome class, Renaissance Art in Rome, Italian and a class called the Popes of Rome. After you get past some of my professors accents and broken english, they are all really nice and I can understand them. My classes should be interesting, but I’m hoping that they aren’t too challenging because concentrating in the Eternal City is pretty difficult! Even though I’m a junior, I felt like a freshman all week! From asking where certain classrooms are, to doing ice breakers in class, to introducing myself to the people sitting around me reminds me of my first few weeks at Marywood. But, since I came to Rome not knowing anyone it has been easier to make friends and open up to people because I’m essentially forced to, which isn’t a bad thing.
On to Amalfi…..
Last week my roommates and I were talking about how we wanted to go to the beach and one thing lead to another and all of the sudden we were renting a house on the Amalfi coast! At first it was only going to be my roommates and I, but some of our friends that we had met joined in. My roommate Ashley and I spent most of the day on Saturday looking at AirBnB and booking.com to find houses to rent on the coast for cheap. We found an amazing little place called Holiday in Amalfi and it was everything we wanted. A beautiful a view, near the beach, very cheap for a last minute booking, and wi-fi (what every college kid desires). We packed our bags and headed to Amalfi; not before some travel snafus though. We got up at 6:00 on Friday morning and got ready and let me tell you getting 4 girls ready and out there door early in the morning is a struggle. Our train was scheduled to leave at 7:26 and we all figured we had plenty of time to pull ourselves together and get there with enough time but we were wrong. 6:30 rolled around and 2 of the 4 roommates were ready to go and the other two weren’t and at this point I started to worry. The boys we went with were frantically texting us telling us to come downstairs and that we needed to call cabs. We made it downstairs at about 6:45 and then we proceeded to call cabs to pick us. The cabs in Rome are driven by Italians and their first language is obviously not English, so trying to communicate with them over the phone can be tough at times. We waited about 20 minutes and the cabs had yet to show up. It was early so there weren’t many cars driving around at the time. We were all staring down the street and every time a white car drove by there was a moment of excitement only to be crushed when it didn’t turn on down Vicolo della Penitenza. We saw a cab parked at the end of the street and figured it had to be for us. The eight of us ran down the street to see if two cabs were parked there and when there was only one a decision had to be made. The cab driver said he was waiting for a lady named Maria, but we convinced him to take half of the group to Roma Termini (money will sway anyone). My roommates and our friend went ahead and I stuck back with the boys. We stood there for a few minutes and just stared at each other and tried to figure out what to do to make the train on time. At this point it was almost 7:10 and our window of opportunity was slowly dwindling. I suggested we walk up to Piazza Trilussa where there was a cab stand, and sure enough there were cabs waiting. We all piled in, backpacks and all and made our way though the streets of Rome. Rome is really beautiful in the soft morning light and the cool air added some magic to the drive. Our cab driver got us there in 10 minutes, we jumped out of the cab, flung our backpacks on our backs and ran into the station. I felt like I was in a movie. Unfortunately we were four minutes late. *Cue the tears* Watching a train that you’re supposed to be on pull out of the station is one of the saddest things in the world. Shamefully, we walked to the nearest ticket counter to change our tickets to a later train. We finally got on the 9:30 train and were on our way to Salerno. We got to Salerno at 12:15 and hopped on a bus at 1:15 to Amalfi. WORST BUS RIDE OF MY LIFE. IT FELT LIKE I WAS ON A ROLLER COASTER THAT WAS NEVER GONNA END. THE END. That’s all I want to say about that. We got off the bus in Amalfi and got a cab to our house in the cliffs. We were greeted by Francesco who was the sweetest Italian man ever. He checked us in to the house and let us settle in. We asked him where the nearest beach was and he said it was only a short walk. He failed to mention that we had to hop a curb/wall and climb down hundreds of stairs…BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful beach in my entire life. The water was a gorgeous blue and you could see the rocks below your feet. We had the entire beach to ourselves. The water was so warm, but very salty and at some point we all screamed out about how much our eyes burned. It was amazing to experience this with people I had practically just met, but at the same time I wished my friends were there to see it too. After a few hours we made the treacherous journey back up the stairs back to our house. These weren’t just any kind of stairs, they were steep and crumbly at times. I don’t think I’ve ever been so out of breath my entire life. It was really funny because we were all struggling at the same time which made us all even closer. Everyone showered and we went down to the restaurant that was right on the road below our house. It was called Pesce d’ Oro and it was the cutest place ever.
The early bird catches the worm! We woke up early and made the mile and a half trek down to the center of town to catch the ferry to Positano. The streets on the coast are very windy and pretty unsafe. There aren’t any sidewalks and there is very little room to walk. Tour buses travel up and down the road everyday and there is very little clearance between them and the side of the road and us. There were many close calls this weekend, but we all came out unscathed. We got on the packed ferry to Positano and within 30 minutes were transported to the prettiest place on Earth even though it was a bit cloudy. We walked around the town for a bit and marveled at the little shops and the architecture of the place. There was something to look at at every corner. Lunch was calling our name so we stopped and all had sandwiches with tomato and mozzarella. Best mozzarella I’ve ever had, by the way. Then we walked back down the hill and went to the beach and paid 5 euros to get on the beach, but it was so worth it. Once again the water was clear and beautiful. Before we knew it hours had passed and we didn’t want to leave. Most of us went for a swim and took a nap because the water was kind of rough and we were all exhausted. Unfortunately, the time came for us to leave and hop back on the ferry to Amalfi. This time we made the uphill trek back to the house and ate at the same place for dinner as we did the night before, only this time we got a bunch of free food (We called a cab to take us to the center of Amalfi but that never came; another transportation fail). One of the owners brought out a flatbread for the table and gave us bottle after bottle of wine. I shared a plate of gnocchi with my roommate Alexa, which was delicious of course. At the end of the meal the owner brought us shots of limoncello and we made him take one with us. It was the icing on the top of a perfect weekend.
Up early again… but this time it was because we had to leave… *sad face* Again made the mile and a half walk to the center of town and I couldn’t stop staring at the water. Multiple times along the way we all just stopped and stared. We couldn’t believe that we were there and had spent one of the most amazing weekends all together. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in Italy and would never experience the same moments again. We had a couple of hours to kill before the ferry so some of us explored Amalfi and others spent the last precious hours at the beach. I went with the guys and we walked around the most interesting streets. We turned down tunnel after tunnel and ended up at the center market, which was bustling with locals and tourists. It was a great place to soak in the local culture and we saw places that most tourists don’t. The saddest moment of the weekend was probably when the ferry was pulling out of the port and I watched Amalfi fade into the distance. We made it to Salerno and walked to the train station, but then sadly realized that we were walking in the opposite direction. Back we went the way we came, made it to the station, and stopped for a snack before boarding the train.
Even though there were a few travel issues and my calves are sore from all those stairs, it was a great weekend and as I write this I can’t stop thinking about the beauty of the Amalfi coast and how much I want to go back. Pictures don’t do this weekend justice at all!
Next stop: TUSCANY!