What words do you write to explain the perfect day? Have you ever heard someone talk about “the place you’d rather be”? Well, after today, I think I know “the place I’d rather be”.
Yesterday we flew from Rhodes to Rome before jumping on a train to Naples. To say that catching a train in Italy was stressful for us is an understatement. When I had to sit an exam in high school that I was underprepared for, I would get this horrible nervous, anxious feeling in my stomach. It came back yesterday. In Greece, everything was in English as well as Greek;Italy, not so much. Andrew and I know some super SUPER basic French, so we used that to try and comprehend what it said on our train tickets and to communicate in order to find out where we were going. Once on the train, we were not sure we were in the right seats and were praying that we would not get in trouble in a language we could not understand. Nonetheless, we found ourselves in Naples, or Napoli, ready for today’s tour.
Having seen the outstanding reviews on trip advisor for “See Amalfi Coast” we’d decided to splurge a little by taking a private tour to see Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Expectations were high but they were blown away! Our driver and guide, a Neopolitan and self appointed ambassador for his coastline, Carmine, met us this morning in the lobby of our hotel.
Pompeii was incredible! Andrew had downloaded an audio tour to take us around the site after Carmine had dropped us off and it was great! To the voice of Rick Steves, we wandered the ruins of Pompeii, exploring what life may have been like for the locals. I had no idea how large the city would be! It is enormous and so well preserved! We arrived early, about 9:15am, and there were only a few people there with us at this time. We were lucky! The Forum, or large square, that we initially walked into was amazing in itself. The poor people of Pompeii didn’t even realize that they were living under a volcano until it was almost too late. Vesuvius had not erupted since well before Pompeii was founded and so there were still some 2000 people left in the town when they were caught in the ash. Seeing the plaster casts of the human remains, mixed with human bones, made by casting plaster into the ground where they had found them, was truly unbelievable; they look just like you or I. The whole site is utterly amazing and is definitely worth the trip. We easily spent 2 hours in there.
Our next stop, “the place I would rather be”, Positano, the Amalfi Coast. Breathtaking to say the least. How do you accurately describe in words, the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? How do you take the right photograph to show it? You cannot. Nothing I can say, and no photo I can show you will do this place justice. It is purely beyond words. The weather was perfect, still and about 26 degrees. The lemons they grow here are enormous (see the photo of Carmine and I holding a lemon, you can see it from the bottom), the roads are insanely narrow (road rules are suggestions here, and Carmine explains that there is a “gentleman’s agreement” as to who should wait and who should go first on the most narrow sections), the people are beautiful and the food delicious!!!
Carmine took Andrew and I to a local restaurant that served only their own produce, wine included. There was no need to select from a menu because they brought out for us the fresh and best meals they had for the day. 3 courses and I would’ve been satisfied after 1! The most beautiful meals I have ever eaten. And the restaurant was sitting on top of Positano so we could view it as we ate.