Kayla Sides is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A psychology major, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester through the custom program at Norco College.
In this week's post, Kayla recounts her trip to the Amalfi Coast, her first trip outside of Florence this semester.
I’ve never seen water so blue before.
Ciao a tutti! This past weekend I went on my first trip outside of Florence to the Amalfi Coast! Before I get into the details about the trip, let me just say that IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Okay, I’m calm. Andiamo!
My friends and I booked our trip through Florence For Fun, a travel organization that offers very affordable, memorable trips. Our first stop was our hotel in Sorrento. After a few hours of sleep, we all put on our bathing suits and flip-flops and made our way to the island of Capri. After a short ferry ride and a few steps, we were embarking on our private boat ride. We played music and I spent the entire time sitting on the nose of the boat. It felt and looked like I was just zooming through a never-ending pool of blue silk. The water was a shade of blue that I’ve never seen in person before that looked soft to the touch. Even with the wind and the ripples being caused by the boat, the water looked peaceful. The boat eventually slowed to a stop and that was our cue to jump! Some of us jumped off the side of the boat, some of us fell off, and all of us laughed and made the most of this opportunity. The water was clear and the perfect temperature. Swim in the Tyrrhenian Sea… check!
Next up – the Blue Grotto. This was a minute of pure beauty. Literally un minuto. Five of us piled into a tiny little canoe and ducked in order to enter the little cave. The cave was all pitch black except for the water. The sun showing through the opening of the cave reflected beneath the water so perfectly, which is what makes the water look like it’s glowing. The sunlight bounces off the bottom and illuminates the surface of the water and makes it seem like the water is alive. I was a little sad that we were so limited on time, but I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see it with my own eyes.
After our four-hour boat ride and lunch/dinner, we headed back to catch some “z’s” before our second day in the Amalfi Coast. Saturday was dedicated to relaxation. We drove over to Positano and hung out at the beach for about six hours. I kid you not, we ordered panini (sandwiches) and laid out at the sunbeds for the entire time we were there. The weather was perfect again, with a constant breeze and a bright and happy sun. I actually fell asleep for a little bit after zoning out to the sound of the ocean and the view of buildings sitting on the hillside. To end the day, we all walked right into that beautiful ocean. I still can’t get over how clear the water is there. We were neck-deep in the water and we could still see our feet and make out the individual rocks that surrounded us. The perfect beach day… check!
The last day was dedicated to touring the famous city of Pompeii and the volcano that froze it in time, Mount Vesuvius. We met with the tour guide as soon as we got there. Walking through the city was pretty surreal because despite everything that it’s been through, it is very intact. The streets are still well put-together and the paintings in the aristocratic houses are still visible. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a city founded in sixth or seventh century BC that was buried under up to twenty feet of volcanic debris. I felt like I was walking back through time and if I tried hard enough, I would be able to see the hustle and bustle of daily life back then. At the end of the tour, we walked over to the exhibit that housed many household items recovered from excavations. There were also plaster casts of a dog, a child, and a man. For those of you who don’t know, when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, the city of Pompeii was covered in volcanic rock and ash, but no lava. The ash fell around the entire city, including the inhabitants, and created plaster casts that now show incredible detail of the victims, from their facial features to the clothes they were wearing.
The last thing on the to-do list was to hike Mt. Vesuvius, a 4,000-foot active volcano. The hike started a little more towards the top. Long story short, my calves doubled in size and are still screaming from the climb. The hike was very steep and since we were limited on time, we speed-walked/ran. After huffing and puffing and quite a few breaks, we made it to the top and were congratulated by the most beautiful view I have ever seen. In one look, you could see the ocean and the entire city of Naples. My friend and I even had a hard time distinguishing where the water ended and the sky started. They both seemed to blend together and there was just this vast space of blue. Taking in the view was a very humbling experience. I felt so small and amazed. At that moment, time stopped and I felt like I was floating over the Earth for a little bit. Beautiful. Hike a volcano… check!
Thank you, Florence For Fun, for taking me on this adventure and allowing me to experience so much nature and beauty in one weekend. Amalfi Coast, ‘til next time!
Kayla's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.