Hope everyone is having a fantastic memorial day weekend back in the states! I know I’ve been having a great time here 🙂
Speaking of which, I have been absent from the blogging world because I’ve been living the island life in southern Italy.
Our entire class took a two day field trip to the island of Ponza! We had to get to the bus at 6am to make it on our 9am ferry. I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep in general the past few days, but it was all worth it!
So once we made it to Ponza, we checked into our hotel room. Cierra and I shared a room that overlooked the sea…we’re spoiled! We had a little bit of leisure time while our professors figured out what we were going to do and it was worth the wait.
I WENT SNORKELING!
Last summer, when I went to Turks and Caicos, I passed on the opportunity to go snorkeling in the Caribbean partially because I didn’t wear my swimsuit onto the boat and mostly because I don’t like swimming in open water. But the way I figured it, when am I ever going to be in Italy, on an island, with this chance again? Most likely never. So into the Tyrrhenian Sea I went! It was COLD! So so so so cold but treading water quickly changed that. Now I’ve never gone snorkeling before so I didn’t know what to expect.
Okay. Goggles on tightly. Snorkel properly positioned. 1…2…3…Go!
I ducked my head underwater, opened my eyes, and quickly came back up. I was so surprised at how clear everything appeared and how much closer it was. I thought the water was a lot deeper so it shocked me at first. I eventually took another look and fell in love. I could spend all day swimming the ocean and looking at all the fish below me. Where our boat driver dropped us off at, there was a cave that we could swim into. Of course we did. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this since not only do I not like swimming in open water but I also don’t like the dark. Put them both together and that’s all bad. But of course I went in because everyone else did and when in Italy right? I swam in and quickly swam out but at least I did it.
Since it wasn’t the best weather, everyone quickly got cold. I was especially cold considering my lips eventually turned a purplish-blue. Then it started to rain. So they took us back to our hotel, where we got ready for dinner. Dinner was about a 20 minute bus ride away and on the ride, we saw the most beautiful sunset. The sun was bright red and huge and setting into the water. I tried to get a good picture of it, but my phone doesn’t show how big the sun actually is.
Dinner was really yummy! I tried fresh octopus, crayfish, and swordfish! I think the dinner on the second day, we had almost like a piece of crusted swordfish with lemon and it was so delicious! We also had really yummy crab cakes and pasta with swordfish too. In the picture on the right, it’s mussels, clams, a crab cake, some time of filleted fish, and a fresh octopus salad. Other than the mussels, I really enjoyed all of it! This was the first seafood I ate while being in Italy. I was not disappointed. I also had really good sweets while in Ponza too! I tried Pesca e Aranciata Gelato (Peach and Orange) and it is one of my favorites now! So refreshing!
Guess what we did the next day? SNORKELING ROUND 2!
The previous day, in addition to snorkeling, we also got a tour of the entire island. They took us through a natural arch, which is where we went snorkeling on the second day. Cool story about the arch: If you kiss you’re significant other while passing through the arch, you’ll stay together forever. Ah how romantic. If only I had someone to kiss. Just kidding, who needs that. I went snorkeling under the arch, so there!
Snorkeling the second day was just as amazing as the first, but a lot colder. Passing through the arch, I did get a little scared because even though the water was still really clear, it started getting deeper and was just sand and then all of a sudden all of these thoughts of sharks and scary ocean animals coming out of the blue and biting my head off came into mind. So I swam back quickly and stayed closer to shore. Now I need to go back to the Caribbean and go snorkeling there!
On our last day in Ponza, I had to get up at 5am for an early morning birdwalk. While I wasn’t that interested in the birds, it was a gorgeous sunny morning out and the view was totally worth it.
However, the next several hours were very stressful.
Since our class field trip was over, a group of us were heading to the island of Capri for our extended weekend. Super exciting, but we had to make all these connections so it was really stressful. We had to catch a ferry from Ponza to Formia, a train from Formia to Naples, then take a taxi from the train station to the ferry docks and catch the last ferry from Naples to Capri.
Luckily we made each connection, but we were racing against the clock almost the entire time. Then came the terrifying part.
So the ferry we took from Naples to Capri was a hydrofoil ferry which means it’s faster and takes only an hour versus the slow two hour ferry.
Little did I know that it would be an hour of terror.
We took the last ferry at about 8pm so we got to see the sunset over Naples which was really beautiful. But being on the hydrofoil, it doesn’t really cut through the waves, but rides them. So we were being tossed all over the place and while I didn’t get seasick, I did feel that at any second I stood up, I’d fly over the railing. So I sat almost the entire time. It was fun, but not my favorite. I like roller coasters better.
Finally making it to Capri, we then had to find our way to our villa we rented. Add about another half an hour and 35 flights of stairs, and we finally made it. Our villa was amazing. It was four rooms, three bathrooms, and had 11 twin beds, so we all fit perfectly. It overlooked the east side of the island, so we got to see the sunrise every morning. We could also go up to the roof and sit up there, there was a swing higher up, a sun room, should I go on? Or will it make you more jealous? A lot of people hated the climb up to the Villa, but I loved it. Definitely got my leg and butt workout for the weekend.
We were all exhausted from a full day of traveling, so we went to bed and basically didn’t wake up until 10am the next day. Once we were all ready, we headed out, and we decided to take an adventure through the forest rather than go down all the
steps again. WRONG IDEA. Whoever designed that path was crazy. About halfway in, our group splits up into two, one continues going up the hill, and one continues going down the hill. I was with the group going up. We made it as far as we could but eventually it was less hiking and more rock climbing. Considering none of us have ever gone rock climbing, nor had the right type of shoes on, we decided to head back. I had a lot of fun on the walk, but I felt like the day was wasted.
We walked into the town of Capri and did window shopping because that was all we could afford to do. Capri is a very high fashion place. All the stores were way out of my budget. I mean when they have a stored called Snobberie and then Snobberie for Kids, you know you’re in the wrong place. But it was fun to look around nonetheless.
Knowing that going through the forest was a big NO, the next day was a lot more productive. A smaller group of us got up early and headed to Anacapri, which is the other main town on the island. This is where all the fun things are.
The first thing on our list was to do the Chairlift in the Sky which takes you up to Mount Solaro, the highest peak on the island. The chairlift was so much fun! It wasn’t that high off
the ground so it wasn’t super scary and the view was stunning. Reaching the top, the view only got better. Looking down at the sea, the lush foliage, and all the seagulls flying around, it literally reminded us of Jurassic Park. You could really imagine dinosaurs poking their heads out of the trees, it was that realistic.
After we had our fill of panoramic scenery, we went back down the chairlift and walked around Anacapri. Then on to our next destination: the Blue Grotto. This Grotto is famous for its vibrant blue color inside the cave. It was Tiberius’ hangout spot and now it is the tourist spot. You have to get into little rowboats that only fit about 4 people and once you get close to the entrance, everyone has to lay down because the hole is so small and the waves push the boat to the top. Once inside, you are transported to a whole other world. The water is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I thought the water at Ponza was blue, but this water was bluer than any other blue.
Our boatman was named Antonio Casanova and he was a character. He liked talking to us, so he kept us in the cave longer than normal, which was great. Then we went back to our tour boat, and took a tour around the rest of the island. There is no bad side to this island. All the rock formations are beautiful, and we passed through another natural arch! Still had no one to kiss though….
After the boat tour, we shopped a little at the Marina Grande port and I bought a sweatshirt! Then we sat on the beach before heading back up to the Villa. That night was just a chill night, and I think I passed out pretty early.
Which brings me to today!
We packed up, cleaned the house, and headed down to the ferry. We took another hydrofoil, but this ferry was so much more calmer than the first one. Thank goodness. From Naples, we made our train back to Rome and now I am back in the apartment writing this!
Only 11 more days left on this amazing adventure, and I plan on making the most of it!!!
Until the next post!