Posted by Morgan
My family trip to Italy from when I was 9 years old rings freshly in my mind. I remember my mother making my sister and I stay up well past our bed time the night before our flight, hoping we would sleep on the plane. I remember sitting on the Philadelphia runway for three hours, waiting for the deterring thunderstorms to stop. I remember running alongside my mother, whose strides far out reached mine, as we tried to make it to our connecting flight. I remember my sister’s exasperated face as she watched the plane taxi out without us. I remember the multiple flights that then ensued as we journeyed to our final destination. I remember my father’s sighs when he noticed all of our souvenirs were stolen. And I especially remember the four days of exploring Italy in the same pair of jeans because our luggage got lost. I remember it all.
And yet I also remember how each year following this trip I’d beg my parents to go back to Italy, the country that I’d fallen in love with. Fast forward ten years later and I’m sleeping overnight in the Stuttgart airport waiting for my 6 am flight to Naples, Italy with my friends.
Believe it or not, this was the intent, to spend a night at the airport. There was no delayed flight nor misread plane ticket, but rather just a few cheap college students who didn’t want to pay to sleep for three hours in a hotel.
When we finally arrived at the Airbnb, the need for sleep overpowered the excitement for seeing the Amalfi Coast. In turn, we didn’t end up starting our day until the afternoon. After everyone was up and moving, we hit the beach. We just enjoyed the water and the beautiful coastline. We also “enjoyed” the unarmed water gun fun fight with our new four year old friend, Carlos. While Carlos understood our resounding “no’s” with his water gun aimed at our faces, he only responded with an even firmer “sì”. Hey, you make new friends everywhere you go right?
We finished our first night off by going to the famous local pizza place that cooked in front of us. While the one meter of pizza stuffed our stomachs, we were all left wanting more. All in all, it was a relaxing day. There was no shuffling to the next tourist attraction, pushing through lines, or clenching the openings of our bags. We simply enjoyed the Italian coastal life.
The same could not exactly be said of the following day in Capri. For this excursion, we had done a bit of preparing. Tim and I had skimmed through Rick Steve’s chapter on the Almalfi Coast and Capri. Then Rachael had looked into the tour of the Blue Grotto. Nothing could have prepared us for this tourist trap though.
The Blue Grotto boat tour, an experience that should only have taken one hour, ended up lasting three. 2 hours and 50 minutes of that time was spent sitting on a thrashing boat in the blazing sun outside of the blue grotto, waiting in line. When we finally made it back to the
main island, we were met with high priced meals and souvenir shops. There was nothing else to do but cut our day trip short and head to Sorrento, the main city close to our Airbnb. This was the right decision. Adorable shops lined the streets with inviting smells from restaurants permeating the air. Although we spent about two hours recovering from that boat ride at a coffee shop, we managed to make the most of the city.
The next day was a rude awakening. Rachael and I, two china doll skinned people, now resembled lobsters. Even just touching our backs made us wince in pain, but Pompeii was calling us and this time we had our SPF 50 in hand. Thank goodness we did because no shade exists in Pompeii! There is just ruins and one strikingly hot sun. The heat was worth it
though, for our two hour tour with the archeologist was fascinating. We walked through Pompeii, seeing the archaic graffiti, traditional Roman “fast food restaurant”, and even a brothel. It was amazing how advanced this community was for so long ago: running water, a sauna, heated cylinder stoves! Clearly they had some good engineers back in the day! Now if only they had better Industrial Engineers for the Blue Grotto.
By 2pm we were finished with Pompeii and headed back to our Airbnb for some much needed rest and cold water. When the evening came, we decided to go a restaurant – one of the two restaurants in the entire town -just down the street to celebrate the end of our trip. It was gorgeous, with a picturesque view of the coastline.
As we ate more carbs and watched the sun set, I kept thinking to myself how wonderful it was to be back in my favorite place with my friends. I am sure I will remember sleeping overnight in an airport. I am sure I will remember getting sea sick in Capri. I am sure I will remember the worst sunburn of my life. But I’m also sure, just as sure as I was ten years ago, that I will keep wanting to come back.