Mama Bear and I were on the last leg of our Italy trip, exhausted, and ready for an extended period of rest. We booked a villa on www.airbnb.com that was located on the side of a cliff next to a small private beach looking out into the Mediterranean Sea.
We bought a ticket with the Sitabus and left Sorrento mid-morning. The buses fill up quick. Even my obnoxiously irritating habit of being much too early for everything didn’t pay off in this instance. So much so that even on our second bus we weren’t able to procure seats. We managed to time our ride so that we were standing near the front of the bus, so that I could see out of the front window. This strategic placement was important because I am a sufferer of extreme motion sickness, even on the smoothest of rides.
The trip from Sorrento to Conca dei Marini was anything but smooth. The winding, narrow mountainous roads were nearly too much for me. By the time we reached Positano, some of the bus patrons had cleared out and I was able to find a seat near the front, thankfully. When our bus rounded the final bend and we saw our stop, I practically ran off the bus. We hauled our luggage out from the belly of the bus, and breathed the fresh coastal air.
Of course, the benefit of having a cliff-side villa, located only 30 steps up from a private beach, all to yourself is self-evident. But only 30 steps up from the beach meant that our villa was over 250 steps down from the main road. Mama Bear and I dragged our suitcases down each step as carefully and cautiously as we could. Our descent was hard. But we made it, as I knew we would. Our friendly hosts greeted us and within a few moments, peace and tranquility were ours. After some recovery time, my nausea dissipated and we were both feeling rested. The Sitabus ticket that we purchased was good for 24 hours, so we decided to head into the Amalfi Coast to meander around and purchase some food to cook breakfast and dinner.
Amalfi is simply breathtaking. There’s no other way to say it. It is simply the most beautiful place I had ever seen. The sun was glistening on the cerulean ocean, the buildings were nestled into the side of beautiful cliffs, the streets were lined with festive lights and filled with the sounds of holiday songs.
We walked along the road to the end of the town, taking in the stunning view of the ocean and Amalfi. We were walking behind a young couple when we noticed the name of our city and our local yacht club on the mans shirt. We don’t live in a big city, and the yacht club is relatively small and unknown, so we were a bit perplexed by this. The couple asked us to take their picture, and so we struck up conversation with them by mentioning his shirt. I asked him if he was from our city.
“No,” he replied, “I bought this shirt in Brasil.”
We all had a laugh at the strange serendipity of the moment, and went our separate ways. Mama Bear and I stared out at the ocean for a time. We were lost in our thoughts. I smiled privately to myself. That mans t-shirt gave me pause to think about just how much I missed my life in Canada. It was December 30th, and I always grow nostalgic at the end of a calendar year thinking back on the experiences I’ve had and the places I’ve been. Nothing seemed so far away in that moment as home, and yet his shirt was a reminder that home stays with you wherever you are in the world.
New Years Eve
On New Years Eve, we decided to go back to Amalfi and continue to explore. We found random staircases and pursued them to dead ends, we rounded corners and found churches, homes, museums, and shops. When we were hungry, we found menus posted on the sides of buildings, and followed arrows up staircases, down hallways, and up hills. We finally found a restaurant with decently priced fare and sat down to eat. When our food arrived, it seemed like the entire restaurant burst into song. Two men stood beside our table, one playing some sort of woodwind and the other a guitar, while the entire restaurant burst into spontaneous clapping. Quite frankly: it ruled.
We saw the city setting up for tonight’s festivities, but decided to head back to our little villa and ring in the new year ourselves. We counted down at midnight, and we watched the fireworks display over the water. We were both asleep by 12:10.
My final thoughts on Italy
I sat on the beach the next morning, knowing that I would be leaving Italy the following day for the Kuwait desert once again. My first time ever in Europe had been a success. It wasn’t too busy and the weather was favorable – though not necessarily warm. I ate the most delicious foods, I drank copious amounts of wine, I saw and experienced some of histories greatest works of art and pieces of architecture, I met beautiful people along the way, and I was able to spend the holidays with my mom. Italy was a perfect way to escape my responsibilities for a couple of weeks and relax.
Upon leaving Conca dei Marini, our most gracious host strapped both mine and my moms suitcases to his back, hiked up 250 stairs, and drove us to the airport at 2:30am. He was most kind, and we couldn’t thank him enough for his hospitality.
I said goodbye to my mom in the airport, and departed for my home in the desert. But, my mind was already racing ahead to February. I was going to my number one Bucket List destination – and P, my love, was coming to meet me!
Until next time, keep wandering,