Alright people, we have a bit of a change in pace today. Since today was a free day, we all did such different thigns that there is no way I could tell you all about what each of us did. So instead we have here two exemplary Norse men who are going to tell you about their days and then I shall put my two cents in at the end quickly. So strap in for a whirlwind of a trip around the beautiful lands of Sorrento and Souther Italy!
Greetings to the United States of America from Sorrento, Italy.
Tonight (or this morning, as it were) you will be treated to the writings of myself, Josh Nelson, and none other than Brett Blattner. Brett and I are coming to you live, right now, from Italy 7 hours in the future to bring you tidings of great joy. First off, we are still alive, a point of note that cannot be stressed enough, and a fact that should certainly allow the avid parental readers of our blog to sleep a bit easier today; know that we are having a wonderful and safe time on the Coast here.
Now without further ado, down to business, as I am sure that some of you dear readers have been staring at your computer screens with bloodshot eyes and waiting with bated breath for the past few days for another tale of our Roman J-Term adventures to surface upon your respective monitors and tablets. I will tell you the tale of Sorrento, the lovely place which has been our home for the past few days along the Italian coast overlooking the mighty Mediterranean sea, the surrounding area of which is rich with history, culture, and most of all, lemon trees.
We were lucky enough to enjoy a day off today, the group was free to explore the area in which ever way we deemed fit. Much of our party chose to awake early this morning and catch a bus to Amalfi, a decidedly gorgeous town an hour and a half away where both 'James Bond: Quantum of Solace' was filmed, and paper was invented, two equally important facts that Amalfians can hang their hats on. All who chose to engage in a visit to Amalfi were unanimously impressed, and pleased with their use of the day off.
I had different plans, I'm not as young as I once was so I chose to catch up on some rest and skip the Amalfi tour with the goal of sleeping in a spot before lunch so I could explore the town of Sorrento at my leisure and take some photos along the coast. Lord knows I needed the rest as well, we spent the previous afternoon enduring blistering sheets hail and endless bolts of Zeus's lightning whilst scaling the sheer cliffs of Vesuvius, a story that has grown in grandeur and intensity with each passing day, the endless embellishment of details has been a treat to observe.
I awoke to some of the first sun that had graced the coastline all week, and decided to go and have a brisk wander of the town after grabbing a delicious bit of Diavola pizza for breakfast (don't judge, it was noon). My plan to visit a well-regarded art museum a short distance from the Hotel was foiled by the fact that we are here during the tourist 'off season', so unfortunately the museum was closed for the winter period. The walk there was not without a bit of luck though, I got to see a Ferrari in its natural habitat. Ferrari are a skittish bunch, and naturally as I crept closer to observe the beautiful beast it sped off at about mach 3 in fright (probably off to Amalfi where they tend to hibernate during winter).
On this nice walk, I also ran into a few Italian chaps around my age who were dressed from head to toe in official looking football gear, and I asked them in fluent Italian if they had a match to play today. They told me that they indeed did at 3:00pm, so naturally I had to go. (Note, I lied in that last sentence, those on the trip with me will know that I am not at all fluent in Italian, the guys were kind enough to endure my incredibly poor attempt at inquiring about a soccer match in using a mixture a Spanish, English, Italian, and even some Albanian words... but the point is they understood, and I now had a football game to attend, so I'll chalk that conversation up to a success in my book).
I excitedly ran back to the hotel, all the while singing the U.S. Men's National team fight song, 'I believe that we will win', in my head. I burst into hotel Michelangelo and threw on the only clothing worthy of attending a football match in Italy; my Luther Norse official soccer jersey, that's correct, dear readers, the blue and white rode free and proud upon the Italian coast this fine day. The football match was a sublime experience, I feel as though I was treated to true sporting poetry this day. The game began on a high note and never wavered in terms of excitement as a striker from Sorrento took the rock in the first minute, diced apart the opposing defenders, and fired a 'warning shot across the bow' just shy of the upper 90; I was instantly hooked, and Sorrento went on to take a commanding 4-0 lead in the first half. I realized early on that I was the only American (and only blonde, fancy that) in the stands, but that did not stop me from (loudly) voicing my opinion on some calls to the referee on a few occasions, he was dishing out yellow cards left and right to my new friends from Sorrento in the red and black and by golly I will defend my club to the bitter end (which ended up being a fantastic win for Sorrento).
After the match, I went down to the Harbor via a brisk walk through town to watch the sun lazily float across the slopes of Vesuvius across the bay of Napoli (Naples, to the uninitiated) as the dusk quickly approached. A point of note for you future Italian travelers, tread lightly along the fisherman’s warf, I stumbled upon what can only be described as a hive of Italian cats and I barely made it back to dinner alive. I was happily listening to some Led Zeppelin, enjoying the scenery, and wandering the seaside only to jump over a rock into a living breathing mass of calico fur, fangs, and claws; I had unknowingly discovered where fisherman fed the local cats, and the 30 or so glaring pairs of green eyes confirmed that most were quite unhappy with my presence. Despite this hilarious (and potentially dangerous) feline encounter, I was treated to breathtaking views of Naples and Vesuvius for a few hours as I just sat and took it all in for a while before dinner. Thus the story of my day off ends there, for now, as I am sure Brett will continue with the story of his day from an entirely different, Amalfian, perspective. Godspeed, dear readers, I hope you enjoyed my humble tale of Sorrento.
Go Norse, God Bless America, and Areviderci.
Today was our free day in Sorrento. Needless to say, we were quite free indeed. A portion of us, including myself, took the ride of a lifetime, exploring the Mediterranean coast. We hopped on a bus and headed toward Amalfi. This drive is considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world. So beautiful that the opening scene of James Bond: A Quantum of Solace was filmed on this very road. The path explored the curving facade of the mountains while capturing the sea's vast perplexity. I was definitely jealous of the local residents. Some of the houses were suspended off the hill, kissed by the sun's rays. Upon arriving in Amalfi, we really didn't know what to do. Our venturing intent was to enjoy the ride.
Since we were there, the day was ours to explore. Our first stop was at an old church. The overall size of the steeple and climbing bell tower offered a mystical lure for us to wander through its interior. The architecture was stunning, capturing the beauty of Renaissance idealism. From the church we went and saw the first paper mill in the world. In this small factory, the paper we know of today was invented. We happened to come to Italy during the offseason so many places were closed, Amalfi was not an exception.
Fortunately, the beaches are always open. We spent a great deal of time just enjoying the crashing waves and the simple game of rock skipping. After riding the waves yesterday on our ferry excursion, one cannot seem to get enough of the salty breeze. Even the simple act of placing your feet in the water sends you into soothing relaxation. A free day indeed. We capped off the day driving back along the sea-side road capturing the beauty that the natives are accustomed to seeing on a mid-January evening.
Okay, I'm back again. I was one of the few who did not go to the coast either. But rather than attending a rousing football match, a group of us girls decided that we needed to do some shopping. So we headed down the main road and stopped in a good portion of the stores that Sorrento had to offer. There was a lot of trying different things on and equal amounts of "oohh"s and "aahhhh"s as we each found different things.
Several of us ended up with new dresses and accessories, all of which we wore out tonight when we hit the local English Pub to celebrate Trent's birthday (which technically is tomorrow, but who's keeping track). We had a grand time there, but eventually had to head back to the hotel to get a bit of sleep before we head out again to return to Rome one last time.
So goodnight. Hope you enjoyed this chaotic recount of our wanderings and we will report again from Roma!