I feel like a broken record when I say this, but it truly is imperceptible just how fast time moves while here. With every passing morning, I find myself more and more at home. Having solidified my go-to coffee shop, walking path to classes, favorite vintage and thrift shops, I’ve realized just how much I have fallen in love with Rome. Of course, there is much more to studying abroad than the city that becomes your homebase, as travel opportunities are truly abundant. Notably, IES Abroad actually provides all students with an opportunity to take a weekend trip to another region in Italy! For our class, it was a tough choice between an adventure to the lush vineyards of Tuscany, water rafting in Umbria, or, in my case, venturing to Campania to explore Amalfi Coast. As someone who studies in LA, being on the coast is synonymous with being at home, so I opted for the third option.
To simultaneously say the least and the most, the trip quickly became a core memory. Our first stop was Pompei. The moment I stepped foot into the ruins of the metropolis, I traveled through time. Echoing in my mind was the beautiful song written by Bastille about the tragedy of the city, more precisely how it sparked my youthful curiosity. I thought about those moments in my childhood when I would open my history books to the pages about the city to absorb what little we knew about a culture and community that vanished in the blink of an eye. There was something so surreal and so profound about seeing it with my own eyes. I left the ruins with a reinvigorated spirit, being reminded that our worlds can turn upside down at any moment. In other words, there is all the more reason to find beauty in your present surroundings.
Disembarking, we headed to Sorrento, where we visited an absolutely phenomenal local farm that specialized in two of the region’s novel agricultural goods: olives and lemons. Here, we were welcomed with open arms for a family-style lunch. We were given several courses of the most delicious home cooked meals, with an emphasis on dishes that incorporated olive oils and lemons in unique ways. Of course, this visit would not have been complete without the chance to taste some limoncello, as it is the quintessential Italian digestivo, or after-dinner beverage. To keep it blunt, I’ve never had anything quite like it! From here, we checked into our hotel, spent a few hours exploring the coastal town of Sorrento, and clocked out after a day of sight-seeing and good-eating!
On the second day of the trip, we headed to the docks. We said farewell to Sorrento as we set sail for the island of Capri. Here, a few of my friends and myself immediately set our hearts on a beach day. We identified a secluded beach on the opposite side of the island, hiking up and down the equivalent of 70 steps of stairs to the most stunning cliffside beach one could ever lay their eyes upon. As the blue water washed over the rocky beach, my friends and I set up our towels, had photoshoots, and indulged in the perfectly warm water of the sea. While our time in Capri was limited, it was no question that we made the most of it.
While it was only one weekend, these few days felt like a glimpse into a larger life. I was met with the notion that there is so much world to see while I am here and that I must strive to see new places whenever possible! I encourage all of you to do the same!
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Hey there! My name is Andrew Masciarelli, and I am a rising junior from Occidental College studying economics and politics. Outside of my studies, I love to cook, and I am also spending as much time as I can teaching myself how to play the guitar!