The Beauty of Amalfi (Summer Sailing 2018)

While we were still planning the trip, Naples was the port of call that I was looking forward to the most. As I was browsing through the excursions that the Oosterdam offered, the cruise along the Amalfi coast and the walk around the Town of Amalfi caught my eye. The Amalfi Coast, I’m sure, is on the travel bucket list for so many people, and it was certainly on mine. Whether it’s just on Google or in movies, every shot of it is beautiful and it’s almost like a silent beckoning to go visit.

            So here we were, ready to say hello.

            Right off the bat, as we were disembarking the ship, it was raining. While it was a let-down, we had to be grateful for the fact that it was the first day of bad weather this entire trip. Typically, in the summer in the Mediterranean, every day has sun and clear blue skies. So this was an exception, and I was a little bummed out that it had to happen on the one day we were visiting this beautiful pocket of the Earth.

            We boarded the bus, met our friendly tour guide and driver, and were on route to Sorrento, which is a stop we had visited last time we were in Naples in 2014. When we got there, we were given 2 hours of free time, which was perfect, because it was more of a stop in which you could feel content with a nice leisurely stroll through the streets. We walked around, took some pictures, breathed in the fresh morning air, and checked out all the boutique shops they had.

            What amazed me were all the Sorrento-branded souvenirs that they offered, ranging from olive oil, lemon candies, ceramic decorations, lemon soaps of all sorts and sizes, and so much more. This area of Italy is most famous for its limoncello and all things lemon. You name it, and if it’s lemon-related, they’ll have it.

            After our free-time, we met back up with the group and was led to Ristorante O’Parrucchiano for a nice group lunch. The ambiance and the décor of the restaurant was much better than the already amazing food in my opinion – it had such a unique feel to it and was almost waiting to be photographed.

            Once the group was stuffed, we got back on the bus and drove to Salerno, which is where we’d get on the boat.

            The boat ride along the Amalfi Coast was everything I wished for it to be (minus the weather). It was a little chilly and a little too windy, but the sights were so special. I loved looking to one side and seeing the cliffs with the buildings that seemed to rise with it. I always wondered how the architects were able to accomplish something like that.

The boat slowed as we neared the Town of Amalfi. Buildings were getting closer and coming more into focus. Up close, I noticed how dilapidated and run down some of the buildings were. They weren’t shiny and bright, but that didn’t matter. Because even like this, with peeling paint and rotten edges, they still carried a certain level of beauty for the tourists that came to it from near and far. What made it special was that it was in Italy, in Amalfi specifically, and it was up on a mountain. It didn’t need to be perfect. It just needed to be.

The boat came to a full stop alongside the dock and out we climbed. We had about an hour of free time in the town, as this tour guide preferred to share with us history before we got to the destination and then let us roam and wander. The town wasn’t too big, and aside from the huge church that was the center point of it all, there wasn’t much to ogle over.

We chose to pick up a lemon gelato at a shop near the church, and then we just walked around. It was similar to Sorrento – souvenir stores, quaint restaurants, and the like.

            When the hour was almost up, we went by the coast, walked to where the rocks were, and got some photos of the coastline, and of the buildings that dotted the cliffs and mountains.

            We then got back on the boat, which would take us back to our bus. The Oosterdam then awaited us, and our tired feet.

And so that was Amalfi. Looking back, there was no huge ‘hype’ surrounding it. A little underwhelming in fact, when you think about all the articles and blogs out there that magnify and proclaim its beauty. Don’t get me wrong — it was still beautiful. But it was more of a silent type of beauty, in comparison to one that literally captivates the entire city like in Dubrovnik. For the Amalfi area, I think its true beauty lies in its simplicity and calmness. It’s tucked away, more distant from the major cities, and even a little hard to get to. But it is always there, waiting to leave those that pay a visit to it in awe.

That brings us to the end of the trip with the Oosterdam. The next few posts are going to be centered on our few days in Rome, which was probably one of my favourite parts of the trip! They don’t call it the Eternal City for nothing.

~Julia

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