Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pizza, Mountains, and the Bottom of the W Part 1: Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri

The first weekend my study abroad group was together, we took our group excursion to Italy's Amalfi coast, visiting Pompeii and Capri while staying in Sorrento.  Our weekend away from the hustle and bustle (and tourists) of Rome was quite memorable, and really bonded the majority of us in the group.  

Pompeii - An Archaeological Wonder? 

I was so excited to see Pompeii - I remember visiting the Pompeii exhibit at the Chicago Field Museum during my freshman year of high school and was so excited to see such a cool sight firsthand.  While the tour of the ancient city was interesting, all of the "cool stuff" is not there - it is touring various museums around the world! 

Pompeii was exciting for 20 minutes - once you've seen the basics, you've seen it all.  
Pompeiian garden. 

Capri - Beautifully Deceiving

The day we went to Capri was fantastic. We hopped on a boat on a beautiful morning, and everyone got to take turns driving once we were far enough away from the coast! We had a delicious lunch, and jumped into the Tyrrhenian Sea for a swim.  The scenery was gorgeous and it was a great time to work on my tan.  

Then my friend Sandy got seasick.  We were on that boat for a few minutes too long.  

Once we docked in Capri, we were all excited to sit on a gorgeous beach and explore our surroundings.  However, the following events took place:
  • Using the bathroom costs 50 cents.
  • The "public beach" is filled with pebbles. 
  • Beach chairs cost 8 euros. 
  • The tram to "Capri Alto," the city center/piazza, cost two euros. 
  • Everything is expensive. 
  • It was disgustingly hot.
We decided to get a beach chair for Sandy so she could rest.  Erica, Maura, Steph and I decided to walk up to Capri Alto to save 4 dollars (or 2 euros). Big mistake. Walking up to the piazza was like climbing a mountain.  It was one of the worst experiences of my life and a test of physical endurance. 

Boat tour of Capri.
After making it up to the piazza we celebrated by sitting at the main cafe for a very long time and making friends with our charming waiter who resembled Italian singer Patrizio Buanne.  It was magnificent.  

Until a pigeon flew into the gelato stand - it was terrifying (I hate pigeons).  I lost my desire for a gelato after that. 

Overall, Capri was a humorous experience.  

Sorrento - The Bottom of the W

Sorrento will always have a dear place in my heart. It is breathtakingly beautiful and one of those cities that is quintessentially "Italian." Our first evening in Sorrento was spent at a mountain villa at a pizza making lesson.  We ate the most delicious pizza (second to Nonnas!!) in the entire world.  There was even Nutella pizza for dessert.  Magnificent.  Beautiful. 

The view from the mountain villa!!

To put it nicely, our second dinner in the costal city was interesting.  Three words: fish with faces. Some of us had the good fortune of sitting with our Italian professor and her daughter, who came on the trip with us - she knew what we were in for, and ordered us fried calamari and shrimp.  However, since we were all worn out and exhausted from our day at Capri, this was the Bottom of the W for our whole group (more on that later!).  The locals were slightly offended.  At least the lemon cake was good. I wanted a second piece. 

Amalfi Coast. 

My advice to American girls visiting Sorrento - always stay in groups.  This is the city in which we learned how much we Americans are "adored" by the Italians.  There were a lot of unwanted whistles and stares.  Our group attempted to go to a "discoteca" named Old English both nights we were visiting.  First of all, they played the exact same music (American pop circa 2007) on Friday and Saturday nights.  On Saturday, a large group of creepy Italian men were also in attendance - luckily the group of us was a mix of girls and guys, we got out of there as soon as any of them started talking to us.  Note, do not enter the dance floor of a sketchy "discoteca." 

Although there is not much to do at night, Sorrento during the day has fantastic shopping and adorable cafes.  We even saw some famous Italians walking around!  It was not the perfect weekend by any means, but it was definitely entertaining! 

No comments:

Post a Comment