Welp, It's been a sufficient amount of time since I wrote my last blog post about our Eurotrip. Now on to the Italy part!
Side note, I hated english class, but the only thing I remember is that you should never begin a sentence with "and". WHY. Why not?? Would you rather a run-on sentence? Cause that's what I'm gonna do then. Probably shouldn't start a sentence with "cause" either....ugh. Anyway :)
From Marrakesh we flew straight into Rome. Knowing we only had a few hours there we asked my Dad (who went to Med School there!) what was a good place to go to for a quick bite to eat and still get some sight-seeing in. He suggested the Piazza Navona. There are a TON of restaurants along the Via Del Corso nearby but we ended up going to one in the center of the Piazza facing the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. While people watching, we quickly chowed down pizza, spaghetti and beer before running back to the train station to get to where our "Wicked Van" was waiting for us.
Some of you might wonder what this Wicked Van is. Well, let me tell you, as I had no idea what it was until Mike explained. In a nutshell, its a van, that you sleep in. I'm not talking about an RV, it's legit a soccer mom van, with a "kitchen" in the trunk and cushions that fold out across the whole back to sleep on. Each one of them come with different graffiti on the sides so you don't know what you have until you show up. Ours came with Bart and Milhouse smoking a joint on one side with the words "Dune Rats", and on the other side was a muscular fish quoting "Only dead fish follow the stream" (see photos below). It took a few hours to realize why people were staring at us when we drove by. Also, it's a UK company, so the steering wheel is on the right-hand side, while you still drive on the right side in Italy, so you're really mixed up.
We drove our way to Sorrento and straight into our camp to park our van just in time for sundown. The camps are filled with RV's and other cars who packed tents and tables, each with their own space. Needless to say there were no other Wicked Vans so we definitely stood out. We parked our car (sorry, I mean our home) between two trees and headed to town for dinner.
We didn't stay out late because we knew we wanted to wake up early to get to Capri the next day even though Sorrento was SUCH a cool town. The streets and restaurants were so lively with such a positive vibe from all the people around and in the streets, we were in awe! I highly highly recommend you go to Sorrento if you're in southern Italy. Oh, and get the gelato from Gelateria Primavera.
We woke up early, brushed our teeth out the back of the van like the true hillbillies we became and were on our way to get ferry tickets to Capri! This, I have to say, mayyyy be one of my favorite days of the trip. We had heard that you can actually rent your own boat and ride around Capri by yourself. As soon as we got there we found the rumors were true! The company is called Banana Boat and they legit teach you the rules and how to drive it with a toy wooden boat on their desk and send you off on your way (thankfully Mike already knew how to drive one). We didn't realize we were in Capri not only on a Saturday, but on an Italian holiday weekend, so it was PACKED. We had to wait until 3pm for our boat but it was actually perfect timing wise to just walk around and get lost in Capri. We took the slanted trolly-car up to the top where the views were incredible and found a cozy spot for lunch. Isabelle's I think it was called?? It was some chicks name, damn, can't remember, sorry, bad blogger (I'm not really a blogger).
I will not post pictures of all the cats I saw, I will not post pictures of all the cats I saw, I will not post...
We ventured back down and got our boat as planned. We decided to head counter clockwise around the island as we heard the Blue Grotto closes at 5 so we wanted to hit that first. I had been once before as a kid but the only thing I remembered was how blue the water was and that may have only been because of a picture saved from my disposable camera (those were the days). We drove up and found a buoy to tie our boat onto. The rule is to wait there until a man standing in a tiny row boat comes up to you and tells you to get in. With all the boats bobbing up and down in the water and the commotion from people yelling in Italian you think that they don't see you but OH they do. They know exactly when you rolled up and what number in line you are. Our guy finally came to us and told us we were the last boat to get in and that we juuuuust made it. Once you're in the boat, he rows you over to the grotto entrance which is about the size of the row boat itself and tells you to duck. Actually not just duck, but lay almost completely flat down in the boat as he grabs a rope attached to the top of the grotto and literally pulls you in. Once inside, it's completely dark except for the brightest blue water you have EVER seen. Everyone in there is rowing around in circles in awe, listening to the guides singing loudly in Italian as it echoes around you. Our guide, the angel that he is, turns to us and goes "do you want to jump in?" PRO TIP: if you go late to the Blue Grotto when it closes and you're the last one in they let you SWIM IN IT. Without him having to ask twice we jumped straight in and swam around laughing our asses off. Absolutely surreal.
These kept cropping weird so I had to upload them in a "carousel" format (?) still does the trick though.
After that we got back on our boat (after generously tipping our guide of course) and headed to more places around the island. There was a green grotto, a white grotto, a lighthouse, and a few beaches and arches to pass through. Having the freedom to just anchor our boat whenever we wanted and swim around was a dream. We returned the boat after the 2 hours was up with a huge high from being out on the water all day. Capri, ti amo.
After that we drove to our next camp so we could see more of the Amalfi Coast. This one was in Agerola (which we pronounced horribly wrong for the first few days) which was a few hours away. This camp was a biiiit different than the one in Sorrento. Plenty of space to park which was amazing, but with added rules. First, there was no toilet paper in the bathrooms, only a toilet and a shower head (no, not a bidet, a shower head) next to it to wash you off. Also, you used coins for the shower. You put the coin in that you got from the manager, and the shower starts for a fullllllllllll 4 minutes. Never thought I could shower so quickly (no lollygagging in this camp Annie!).
Anywho, that next morning, it was game time. Time to walk.....the Path Of Gods. Mike had done some research and found that another way, instead of just boring driving, to Positano is to hike from Agerola along said Path Of Gods. It's a 3 hour hike, approximately 9 km (5.5 miles) with picturesque, panoramic views of the entire Gulf of Salerno. Legend tells that the gods came down to this pathway to reach the sea where the sirens that tried to seduce Ulysses with their singing had lived . Apparently to believe the legend, one must walk the path. Challenge accepted.
This was absolutely the most beautiful hike. We went early in the morning when the fog was still along the cliffs and it was super quiet. After an hour or so though we still seemed to be super high from sea level and kept wondering when it was going to start to dip down. Well, it didn't. You get down by walking down SEVENTEEN HUNDRED STEPS. In a row. Seventeen hundred That's 1-7-0-0. That's 700 more than 1,000 steps. When I tell you we coudn't walk for 4 days after that I'm dead serious. Our calves were killing us. No other part of our legs, just our calves. I bet the gods at least had Pegasus to bring them down. We looked like idiots trying to get up and walk down stairs, constantly trying to explain in Italian like "le gambe sono irritate" (which is not the right way to say it by the way). But well well worth it.
I can't write every minute about Positano as much as I want to otherwise this post will be forever long. Just trust me when I say it is absolutely beautiful. We ate at Buca Di Bacco where I had quite possibly the best pesto pasta I've ever had. Both the beach views and cold Peronis were well deserved after that hike. From Positano there are ferrys that take you to other parts, so we took one that afternoon after hanging at the beach to Amalfi (of course). Amalfi was equally as beautiful with a bit of a Capri feeling with its small maze-like streets. In the center of it is the Duomo which we splurged to actually go inside this time (even though I almost got kicked out for being topless. Just kidding I wasn't topless. But my top was definitely less than what you would wear to church. I WAS ON VACATION. Leave me alone gremlin lady).
The first photo is from a beach we stopped at along the way to Positano called Arienzo :)
That next morning we hit up one more beauuuutiful beach that was suggested by the camp owner called Il Duoglio. He declined to tell us though that it was another 500 steps to get down to. Exerciiiiise those calves. So last on the Amalfi Coast for us, but most DEFINITELY not least, was Ravello. We kept hearing about this magical place that everyone spoke about and wondered, honestly, how much better could it be than what we've already seen?? Well we definitely knew once we got there. It's nicknamed the most romantic city for a reason as it legit looked like Romeo and Juliet threw up all over it. Every single street/alleyway/building/castle had a million vines and flowers climbing over every inch. Peeking in between each building you could see vast views of the coast with all the houses built into the mountains. Lunch with a view took a whoooole different meaning here (see pic below).
Warning: there's about to be a lot of the backs of Mikes head in the next photo group. Cute head tho.
Aaaaand that concludes our part on the Amalfi Coast! Little did we know this would be the last time we could speak english to each other (or I could speak at all). We were on our way to Molfetta, where my Grandfather was from :)