This weekend I went on an optional trip with Umbra to the Amalfi Coast. We went to Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, and Naples. In total, 35 Umbra students and 3 Umbra staff went on the trip and it was a lot of fun! We stayed at a hotel in Sorrento called Michelangelo for both nights and ate each breakfast and dinner there but then had lunch in the city we were in for the day. My favorite part was getting to know many people I didn’t know very well before – so that was really cool!
We left Perugia by bus at 6:30 AM and arrived in Pompeii at around 11:30 (with one rest stop along the way). We took a tour of the ruins although unfortunately (some students had been there before on a different tour) we did not see some of the major sights. Actually, according to some of my classmates some of the things my tour guide was saying were conflicting with what they had previously learned. And my tour guide was actually rude to one of my classmates saying some hurtful things! Maybe he was kidding… but still. I only learned these things after the tour though, and I generally enjoyed it because I like knowing more about the history of what I’m looking at. I most enjoyed hearing about Vesuvius and its eruption – it is such an interesting story of a tragedy that has really helped us to see how people lived back then.
Here are some pictures from Pompeii:
It took around an hour or so to get to Sorrento from Pompeii. We arrived at Hotel Michelangelo, settled into our rooms, and then sought out to see the town. We had a few hours to explore Sorrento and the area was beautiful! We walked to the center of town and then down to the water where we remained until dinner back at the hotel. We walked more around the town after dinner and the following night, seeing more of the town including some beautiful views of the water and stars!
Here are some pictures from Sorrento:
Saturday morning we left in the morning for the island of Capri. We took a private boat tour around part of the island to the Blue Grotto. This is a cave (with a very small entrance!) that you actually enter by rowboat where, once inside, natural lighting illuminates the water giving it a beautiful blue color. I will say it was expensive, but it was worth it – especially the initial (motor) boat ride. It was beautiful weather! Only 3-4 people could fit in the rowboats that go into the Blue Grotto but several boats can be in there at once (only one can enter at a time though), and the boat drivers are very entertaining. Ours sang, took pictures of us and with us, and was just very funny. It was quite an experience actually entering the cave – such a small opening! We actually had to lie down in the rowboat to avoid hitting our heads and the rower had to time the waves right! After that experience, we got back in the motor boat to the main part of the island and took a taxi to the other side of the island where there are some beaches. We were expecting sandy beaches but unfortunately they were small and all rocks! We made it work though with our towels over the rocks and we hung out there for the day. It was so nice to be in the sun – it felt like summer! I didn’t bring a beach towel with me so I ended up buying one in Sorrento before we boarded the boat. The woman selling the towels asked me how I could speak Italian. I simply answered “by studying it,” and elaborated by discussing how I am studying in Perugia and we were in the area for the weekend. I find it to be an ongoing theme that locals (especially in very touristy areas) are surprised to hear tourists speaking Italian with them. I guess I like breaking the stereotype!
Here are some pictures from our day in Capri:
In the morning we headed to Naples, a metropolitan city also in the area. A tour guide joined us on the bus to Naples, pointing out various scenes along the way, talking about Vesuvius and what would happen if a present day eruption occurred. After we arrived in Naples we continued around the city on the bus then walked around (both with the tour and then after for some free time). There wasn’t too much to see honestly (although perhaps we missed some sights in our time). We walked around a lot, visited some shops and stands and got some fun food. For lunch, we ate Naples pizza (how could you not!). Honestly though, I prefer the pizza place called Pizza Mediterranea back in Perugia. It was still good to see the city though and the weather, as it was all weekend, was gorgeous! It approached 80 degrees while we were there!
Here are some pictures from the day: