By: Sara Whitman
I honestly cannot put my weekend in Sorrento into words. It was an absolute dream and I do not know how I got this lucky or how I deserved it. I am so thankful for every single thing I do and I will never let any moment go to waste or without gratitude. I cannot wait to see what other surreal things I experience on this trip.
I blogged about my whole weekend in Sorrento for my personal site, but in order to save readers from 3,000 words, I have taken excerpts of my writing from each day:
The ride to Sorrento was not too bad, and as we got closer and passed Mt. Vesuvius, the eagerness piled on. We arrived at the Sisters Hostel and then drove to dinner. We ate at a restaurant called Da Peppino. And by ate, I mean feasted. It seemed like a never ending line of new plates and options. We started off with a whole half chicken for each of us, which was probably the best chicken I have ever consumed, with its crispy, salty skin and moist meat. Then, we were greeted with plates of bruschetta, French fries, tomatoes and fried and grilled calamari. We ate like royalty.
We arrived at Capri and after a few minutes of sea-sickness recovery by some of my classmates, we boarded our private boat. For the next chunk of time, I felt like a complete celebrity as I cruised around this gorgeous island. Mixed in with jaw-dropping sites and fresh Bay of Naples air, we were fortunate enough to go inside the Blue Grotto. This is a sea-cave on the edge of the island that allows sunlight to pass through a small cavity and light up the water in a bright, beautiful blue color. I have never seen anything like it in my life. We were not sure if we would be able to explore it, because the water had to be the right level to fit into the small opening, and the water could not be too choppy. I would lay down squished in a tiny row boat any day to see this amazing sight.
After our time with the boat expired, were supposed to meet up with Shields, our tour guide, and rent chairs for the beach, but we could not find him. Luckily, the people working the beach gave us the discount Shields said we would receive, even though he was not with us. These beaches are not sandy, but full of rocks and pebbles, so the most comfortable way to relax on them is with beach chairs. These were nice lounge chairs one would find at a resort. As soon we we put our stuff down, Sarah, Lauren, Mitch and I headed for the water. After a fun swim, Professor Hillebrand waved us in for lunch. Because our group is so big and the sandwich shop we planned on ordering from is so small, only some of us went to pick up the food. Beachside delivery? I will take it! My sandwich, which came from Vini e Panini, was hands down the best sandwich I have ever consumed in my life. I got the “Randy Special,” which was stacked with mozzarella cheese, olives, salami, prosciutto, and a swipe of pesto. The rest of the day was spent swimming and relaxing seaside. I could do do this all day, every day.
After climbing Mt. Vesuvius and touring the ancient ruins of Ercolano, most of us were unsurprisingly completely exhausted, and voted to go back to the hostel. Once we dropped them off, only four of us, plus Shields and Professor Hillebrand, made it to the next destination: a swimming hole hidden along the Amalfi Coast that once was used by Roman nobles. Hidden along the foothills of the coast, this swimming area is a secret paradise. The water was clear, warm and inviting. The small rocks that enveloped the area were perfect for climbing and I am so glad we got to experience that one more time.
Our first stop in Naples was Cappella Sansevero, which is a church just for the use of the family who owns it. However, its grand marble statues and beautifully painted ceiling is open for public viewing. Its claim to fame, however, is The Veiled Christ. This is a marble statue created by Giuseppe Sansevero in 1753, and is considered to be one of the great masterpieces of sculpting. In an underground chamber of the church are two bodies with artery and vein systems perfectly intact. These were made by Giuseppe Salerno around 1763. The whole church was impressive and beautiful.
This journey I am experiencing is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. It has barely been a week, and I already do not ever want to leave.