Wandering and Wondering

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Amalfi Coast and Pompeii

On the weekend of the 20th to the 22nd of April I went on a university field trip to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. This time we travelled by bus during the day rather than overnight sleeper train, and after leaving Florence at 7.30am on Friday morning, we arrived at our hotel in Maori at about 6pm in the evening after a brief stopover in Naples (where we didn't get to see all that much besides lots of traffic to be honest). The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful stretch of coastline with lots of little towns nestled in the cliffs above the sea:

The view back to Amalfi as we head to Capri by ferry

It is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site, meaning that no new roads or buildings can be constructed in the region. To reach Maori our bus had to navigate a small winding road along the edge of the cliffs, and even though it was slow going we passed the time by gazing out the windows at the amazing views. After arriving I headed down to the beach where I saw lots of kids playing “calcio":

Holding each other back

The next day we caught a boat to Amalfi and then a ferry to the island of Capri where we had free time to explore. I ended up on another small boat to do a tour around the island, from which I could get a closer view of the beautiful coastline:

Coastal cliffs of Capri

After the boat tour I hiked up to Capri Town and found a nice restaurant from which we could admire the view over lunch:

View from Capri Town

Similar to Venice, most of Capri Town is inaccessible by car, so there are lots of little walkways where I got lost for an hour or so just wandering around:

Walkway in Capri Town

To end the day in Capri I had time for a quick swim at the beach. It would have been nice to stay here forever, but all good things must come to an end, and at around 4pm we took the ferry back to Amalfi. The main attraction in Amalfi is the Cathedral, which we had a little time to explore before catching another boat back to our hotel in Maori.

On the beach in CapriCathedral of Amalfi

On Sunday we said goodbye to the Amalfi Coast and made our way to Pompeii, which is an ancient Roman city that was buried in ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. and was lost for 1600 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1748. I was expecting there to be very little left, but the city has been preserved surprisingly well:

Roman Forum in Pompei

Our tour of the archeological site lasted a couple of hours, after which we had time for lunch. The nearby city of Naples is considered to be the pizza capital of the world, and the most famous type of pizza to originate from this area is the margherita pizza. With the red tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese and green basil leaves to match the colors of the Italian flag, it is hard to think of a food that is more Italian than this. Once again proving the value of simplicity in Italian cooking, it was the best pizza I’ve ever eaten:

Margherita Pizza

With my stomach content, it was time to get back on the bus for the ride home.

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