Monday, March 30, 2015

day 7: positano and capri

Kurt and I woke up to this gorgeous view from our Positano window and enjoyed breakfast provided by our hotel on the terrace. Talk about a pleasant morning!

From Positano, we took a ferry to the nearby island of Capri. Once we arrived, there were tons of boats around the harbor offering tours of the island and stops by Capri's most famous attraction, the Blue Grotto. Normally, Kurt and I try to avoid touristy things on our travels, but I wasn't about to miss out on THE thing you're supposed to do there. We swallowed our pride and bought tickets for a two hour ride around the island. It was expensive and cheesy at times, but I really enjoyed it! 

The thing about the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzura) is that the entrance is super tiny. Our ferry boat got us close but then we had to get into little row boats (another fee, of course) that take you inside.

I was so terrified we were going to crash into the rocks!

But once you are inside it really is incredible! 

Kurt even went for a swim. That required a nice tip to our row boat captain :)

After getting everyone back on board the ferry, we set off around the rest of the rocky island. Our tour guides told us all about Capri's history and pointed out all the vacation homes of the rich and famous perched on the cliffs. 

Once back to the main harbor, we took a funicular to the top of the hill where the main town is. We got some snacks and enjoyed the view of all the boats coming and going.

After we'd seen enough of Capri, we walked back down the hill and took a ferry back to Positano. Arriving by boat really gives you the best view of the town. It's breathtaking!

Friday, March 27, 2015

day 6: rome to positano

One part of the trip that I was most excited about was our brief stop on the Amalfi Coast. We said our goodbyes to Rome and took the train south to Naples to catch a ferry. We heard less than flattering things about the safety of Naples and had a narrow window to make our connection, so we practically ran from the train station to the harbor and just barely made it on the next ferry. Next time we are back in Italy, maybe we will brave a day trip to Naples for some tasty pizza and a side trip to Pompeii.

The ferry took us to Sorrento which was a lovely hillside, resort town. Sadly, we were only passing through to catch a bus to Positano but I would like to go back sometime. The views were gorgeous and it was easy to reach by trains, buses, or ferries.

The bus ride to Positano was pretty terrifying. We were driving right to the edge of cliffs on crazy winding roads trying to traverse the mountainous terrain. The views were gorgeous but at times I couldn’t watch because all I could imagine was us plummeting into the water. Thankfully we made it safely!

We found our cute little bed and breakfast and were amazed by the incredible views from our terrace. At times I couldn’t believe the landscape was real and that we were fortunate enough to be enjoying it. Kurt and I are so lucky to be able to travel like we do and it certainly wasn’t lost on us while we soaked up our time on the Amalfi Coast.

Positano is a popular beach destination but we were visiting in October which is considered the off season. Most businesses and restaurants were still open and the weather was warm and gorgeous but the entire town was pleasantly quiet. I can’t imagine being there in the height of summer and dealing with the crowds.

We enjoyed some seafood and pasta at a peaceful open air restaurant before strolling back up the hill to our hotel. More Amalfi Coast coming soon!

Monday, March 2, 2015

day 5: rome

Italy posts! Yay! I'm trying to extract as much warmth and happiness from these photos because guess what? It's snowing in NYC again. Spring can't come soon enough!

Rome is one of my absolute favorite cities. I did a study abroad session there while in college, so it will forever hold a special place in my heart. This was our main day of sightseeing there, so as much as I hate to be that girl with the itinerary, there were highlights I wanted to hit, so I had us on a pretty tight schedule and we logged some miles walking.

A couple mornings while in Rome, Kurt and I went out before breakfast for a run around the gardens of Villa Doria Pamphili. It was a beautiful way to start the day and made a dent in all those pasta and wine calories.

View over the city from Gianicolo hill where our hotel was.

Appallingly, I never saw the Sistine Chapel when I lived in Rome, so I made sure to plan a trip to the Vatican Museum on this trip. There were so many people! 

The entire museum is gorgeous, but everyone is obviously there to see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

And it's so small! And surrounded by so many other paintings. I won't say the visit was disappointing because "the painting" is very beautiful, but it was a different experience than I had expected--and much more crowded.

Staircase at the Vatican Museum

OLD BRIDGE!!!!! This gelato shop is nearby the Vatican and was on the route between our residence and classrooms when I studied in Rome. It was an almost daily fixture in my study abroad diet. #StracciatellaForLife

Castel Sant'Angelo

Ara Pacis

Our Italian traveling partners, Manuela, Claudio, and Enea. They were all troopers for keeping up with my death march schedule.

Piazza del Popolo

Spanish Steps

The Pantheon!

Coffee and pastry at Sant'Eustachio--rumored to have the best espresso.

Courtyard of Saint Ivo Alla Sapienza

Piazza Navona

Rome's public fountains were life saving while traipsing around the city in unseasonably warm temperatures

Sigh. My dear, sweet Santa Maria della Pace. When studying in Rome, a friend and I were assigned a group project to study the church and do some sort of project/report about the site. I can't even remember what our project was about but that church has left such a mark on me. It's so small and beautiful and tucked away on a tiny, winding street. I was so happy to share it with Kurt. [The only thing that could have been better is if you had been there too, Jen!]

Campo di Fiori

I was pretty satisfied with our tour after seeing my beloved church, so Kurt and I settled in for a couple drinks at a bar on Piazza del Fico--aptly named Bar del Fico. ('Fico' is 'fig' in Italian and that was a gorgeous fig tree in the center of the piazza.) For being in the center of a very touristy area, the bar was really low key and frequented by locals. We chatted with one guy and asked for a dinner recommendation. He named a few places but ultimately said the restaurant connected to the bar we were at was the best. We were sold and went on to have a fantastic dinner. Other (extremely important) item of note: I've discovered my new favorite type of white wine. If you ever see 'Falanghina' on a menu, order it. It's light and dry and crisp and delicious. You're welcome!

More Italy to come!
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