I cannot come up with a more fitting place to be chilling in a bungalow on the sea. I have never seen a coastline as imposing as the Amalfi Coast and Capri. It is as if the Swiss Alps were cloned, then severed into small individual pieces, and scattered around the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is as if someone injected the same steroids that made Barry Bonds’ head explode, the same cross-breading to make the ideal racehorse, and the same food Paul Bunyan’s was fed during the childhood, all rolled into one, and then injected into a pebble lying amongst the seafloor. It is compelling how these giant rock bluffs and jagged peaks rip right out the Tyrrhenian Sea, shooting up thousands of feet from where they began, in places at our vertigo inspired incline. That is the Amalfi Coast.
Staying at Santa Fortunata overlooking this incredibleness, I feel like I am at summer camp that was painted by Pablo Picasso, Bob Ross and chronicled by the masterful creative writing skills of R.L. Stein and J.D. Salinger. In other words, this was summer camp on some sort of hallucinogen. I mean this in the most sober way possible because clearly we were not on hallucinogens. I just found it extremely cool that we were rocking these cabins on these cliffs over looking the Bay of Naples, in our own little community of houses all set aside from our group. This made for quite a fun time and brought back memories of Salute Your Shorts, except we were all old enough to drink and I am a much better looking camp counselor than Ug.
Cool in its own right is another awesome sleeping establishment located on the opposite side of the Bay of Sorrento called Seven, which is not as cool of an experience, but provides incredible accommodations for a hostel, an awesome staff, and a rooftop terrace that overlooks the Bay of Naples, much like your front porch does at Santa Fortunata.
A more stunning site is the way Capri spouts out of the sea in even more drastically, where majority of the coastline are sheer cliffs dramatically shooting up towards the sky, leaving only small areas sloping into the ocean, allowing for marine transport to dock. Capri leaves you with a nostalgic feel as you trek through winding, narrow pedestrian passages while small go-karts carrying luggage, and supplies squeeze past you. There are several viewpoints on Capri that supply enough evidence that this the most beautiful part of Italy. From Augustus’ Garden you can look out onto the Faraglione, three rocks, jutting separately out of the water, the middle of which containing a natural arch that is popular to boat through. Then there is the view from the top, Monte Solaro, where on a clear day, one can look out upon the impressive Mt. Vesuvius, and wonder what it must be like to have witnessed the magnificent power of an explosion from this safe distance away. On a hazy day, you can still catch the imposing shadow of Vesuvius waiting to wreck havoc on Napoli. You also are treated to a beautiful above look of the first segment of the Amalfi Coast, and Napoli. A trip to Capri is not complete with one of the most sunning natural shows of light (which still pales in comparison to the Northern Lights), the Blue Grotto. It is amazing being pulled into a cave on a rowboat that you must lay flat to not skim your head on the ceiling, only to emerge into a vast abscess, filled with shimmering, fluorescent blue water, all while the singing of the Italian rowers booms through the grotto. No trip to Capri is complete without a trip to Anacapri, the highest town on the island, where you will be delighted to find a bounty of shops selling custom leather sandals, homemade limoncello, homemade lemon chocolates, and other wondrous homemade lemon products ranging from soaps to perfumes.
Snaking down the coast on head spinning roads on the way to Positano and Amalfi leave you with a fulfilling sense of vertigo, probably because this will be one of the more intense rides of your life. Once you hit the town of Positano, you will be ready to hop off and find yourself navigating your way through narrow staircases, similar to Capri, as you make your way towards the jet black beaches a thousand feet below. All the while, you pass Italian ingenuity (probably the only well-thought architecture since the Roman Empire and the Renaissance) as hotels, homes, white and yellow shops selling all sorts of lemon products including lemons big enough to destroy a small home if shot from a canon. Positano is a great jump off to charter a boat tour of the Bay of Naples, or rent your own speed boat to whip around the Bay and go cliff jumping, all with a backdrop that appears to be painted into the sky. Hop off your rocketing dingy at the beach side shacks where you can sample incredible local seafood caught that day by your waiter, or indulge in the best Bruschetta you will ever eat, all while getting blitzed off of Peach Wine.
From Positano, it is possible to hop on another life shattering bus ride through the most treacherous stretch of the coast, headed towards the town of Amalfi. Don’t be too scared when you think your bus driver is about to throw you off the cliff at 70 KM/hour or is about to plow over someone who is cockily piloting themselves around the coast on their motorbike with what appears to be no regard for their bodies. They do this everyday and this is their incredible lifestyle. Amalfi provides a different, unique feel from its rival for best coastline town in Italy. Unlike Positano which literary slopes at a 45 degree angle straight until it hits the beach, Amalfi boasts a flat terrain, sitting in the most defined “valley” on the coastline. Complete with a walking promenade and beautiful main square, Amalfi is a cool place to stroll around on the coast, without having to worry about the thigh-ripping inclines that Positano has.
After spending some wonderful days in the sun scoping spectacular terrain, it is completely consolation if you step back to the last time Vesuvius significantly blew its top and stroll through the best remaining representation of Roman life; Pompeii. I have been to no other archaeological site that matches the significance Pompeii has for me, except the Coloseum in Rome. Given I have not ventured to many archaeological sites except the main ones in Europe, but the story Pompeii tells is incredible. It was definitely bad ass to be an Ancient Roman, mostly because of how different their morals are from ours today. The seemingly lax lifestyle that involved building, trading, getting drunk, socializing, playing games and having sex is something that I am sure all college students can relate to. It is catastrophic to think that this idea of life was ruined by mother nature because it seems as though the lived as close to the way we are naturally supposed to live as any society I have studied. It is impossible to convey in words the true significance of Pompeii, and even the whole Amalfi Coast. It is one of those places where pictures in no way give any justice to what you are seeing in real life. The only way to experience it is to get up and go. Don’t be a loser!
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