By Marisa Guerra, History Major
Fourth of July weekend this summer was one that I will never forget. Being in Italy for 6.5 weeks for a study abroad program with four other girls from GCU, we had the good fortune to book ourselves a trip to the Amalfi Coast. Out of the entire trip, this was my favorite weekend. There were many highlights during this trip, including the fancy hostel we stayed in (yea you read that right, HOSTEL) to my brush with death in the water, to the great friends I had with me. Life was good!
That Friday, after the minimal breakfast that Italy was fond of serving (packaged toast and croissants) we went to the island of Capri. On our boat ride tour there, we stopped at the Blue Grotto where you had the chance to go in and swim. Let me tell you, that water was magnificent! The sun’s reflection on the water underneath that cave gave it this crystal clear aqua blue color that felt so refreshing when you jumped in. Being me and my spastic self, getting back into the little rowboat was a tad bit difficult! I tried like, 3 maybe 4 times to hoist myself up, but to no use. My upper body strength is pitiful. I told our boat rower that I’d just swim out of the cave but he was like NOOOO and then lifted me up with one arm. I landed face first in my friend’s lap with my legs hanging out the boat like some dead fish. Story of my life! If anyone ever has the opportunity to visit, please go swimming. It will be like nothing you’ve ever done before. I mean, how many people can say they went swimming in one of Europe’s Seven Natural Wonders??? Well…. I can now!
Later that day, after touring the island and taking an awesome chair lift, we headed back down to the meeting point. We had about an hour and a half still, but we decided to check out the small beach they had recommended. We didn’t have any towels on us and I certainly didn’t want to be full of sand, so being typical Americans, we just bought towels. Consumerism at its best! Little did I know, Italy doesn’t have sand for its beaches! Instead, they have rocks. Yes, ROCKS! It was so uncomfortable to walk on, but we managed. Somehow. We were swimming in the water when it all went downhill. For me at least. One minute I was frolicking all happy with life and what have you and the next, I was swimming for MY LIFE. I was ATTACKED!! Almost eaten alive! I guess that’s a bit of an understatement, but never having been stung by a jellyfish before, I panicked. My leg was on FIRE. It hurt quite badly actually. It swelled so much it looked like I had a boil. Later that night, after the burning went away, I looked at it and it was as though I had been burned. My skin was gray!! Like what? That’s crazy, right?!?
The next day, Saturday, was our beach day. We went to a large beach after walking down twenty million flights of stairs- talk about depth perception issues!! Again, more rocks. But I mean, what could ya do? It was a beautiful day out, sun was shining, it wasn’t crazy hot out, it was perfect by all accounts. Being from Jersey, we decided to tan! JK JK, Jersey has a bad enough rep as it is to be joking about tanning rules. Francheska and I put that baby oil on (after putting on sunscreen, don’t worry guys) and roasted. By then, the heat was a little bit too much for us and as we got up to go out into the water, Icey and Rachel had just returned from it. They looked at us and Icey said, “I didn’t know you guys were in the water! I thought you were still tanning!” Meanwhile, Francheska and I are cracking up! We were sweating so much it looked as though we went swimming!! LOL
We actually went cave swimming and cliff jumping that day as well! Most people would probably be nervous… I wasn’t. Not really anyway. I was more nervous about being stung again, as there were two incidents of jellyfish stings in the group that went before us. So obviously, with my luck, I was waiting to be attacked again. Thankfully, I wasn’t. The cliff that we jumped off of had a few different heights to it. The rocks were so smooth that I was fearful of slipping off of it and cracking my skull open. That was the fear- not the fear of jumping. When you are up there, you have just a split second where you think of all the things that could possibly go wrong and then just say F*** It and jump. It resulted in the biggest wedgie of my life, but hey, it was a great couple of jumps!
To end the night, we went to this club that built in a cave- Afrikana! It was unbelievably cool inside. There was actually a wedding party finishing up in there when we got there, as it’s so nice it’s rented out for such events. All the music was like a mix of the old stuff (Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston) and the new stuff( what we kids today call pop and what other generations call garbage). The Italians LOVE American music! I think I might have only heard two Italian songs the entire time I was in Italy. That was a late night, but was well worth it. It capped off our amazing time at the Amalfi. And overlooking the water at night with the boats out and lights on below us was picture perfect, even in the dark.
*Sigh* I miss Italy. That weekend was honestly the best. We had such a good time and it was so beautiful there. I would love to go back! Amalfi was just one of the many great experiences we had while studying abroad. I wish I could fit everything in, but I can’t, otherwise you would be here for hours reading! If you do have the chance, however, visit it! You won’t regret it. As the saying goes- All roads lead to Roma!!