April 21 — 103 days after arrival
This blog post was originally posted, as written by me, on http://www.freepblog.wordpress.com for my college newspaper’s blog (via my college newspaper, The Daily Free Press).
There is no photo or string of words that can properly depict how beautiful Vatican City truly is. Just one small part of an encompassing city, it’s a destination in and of itself. I’m no Catholic, but St. Peter’s and the surrounding streets are enough to render anyone speechless. The smallest country in the world certainly makes a big impression.
Rome has been my favorite city since my first visit here with my mom. It’s lively, it’s gorgeous, it’s filled with stunning works of art and architecture and it’s home to some of the best food in the world. I also love Italian culture.
When my friends and I decided to take on Italy (both Rome and the Amalfi Coast) for our last break, I was really excited to come back and share my favorite city with them all.
I led us up and down the Tiber from Vatican City to Trastevere, making sure to return to my favorite restaurants and check out all the main sites like the Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and (my favorite) the Colosseum. We trekked in and out of Rome’s winding, narrow streets, checking out different pockets of the city as we went.
One of the strangest and best things about Rome is simply the idea of it all: the notion that my friends and I can hop on a plane and land in a city that’s been there, growing and changing for thousands of years — amid the coming and going of different populations — and just walk around and see it all. It doesn’t seem possible. It’s wild.
After three nights in the eternal city with no major hiccups — other than a broken shower grate that flooded the apartment we rented, resulting in a heated argument between myself and our extremely Italian landlady — we made our way to Termini Station to head to the Amalfi Coast.
Our train snaked its way through the gorgeous southern Italian countryside. We passed mountains, farms, fields and dozens of colorful villages before reaching Naples. From there we hopped another train to Salerno and then got on a packed bus to Conca dei Marini, our vacation spot for the last three days of break.
The Amalfi Coast is gorgeous, rain or shine. Houses, restaurants and shops jut out of the mountains that rise above the shore. Roads wind for miles up above the Mediterranean. The house we rented was tucked away down a set of stairs in a sleepy village with a view of some neighboring houses’ red clay roofs and a slice of the sea — not a bad way to get away from the hustle and bustle of London.
Today, we spent the day exploring the village and walking down the stunning coastline to the village of Amalfi, stopping along the way to grab lunch on the water and go to the beach in a secret cove we found. It has been amazing checking out two distinctly different parts of one amazing country for our last vacation abroad.