The eldest nephew arrived for his first trip to Europe last week. We couldn't have been happier to host he and Courtney for a week of new adventures for both of us. Without any concrete plans for the week, we decided we'd just go with the flow here in Rome while Heidi worked through the week. Heidi obviously wanted to have some quality time to spend with our guests so we planned to spend the last weekend of their trip somewhere we'd also wanted to visit. We decided to keep the details on the down low from Courtney and Clayton until the trip started for a small element of surprise.
Their week in Rome was packed full of new foods, wines, cultures, traffic and urban bike adventures. They crushed out two Urban Assault tours that included The Colosseum, Roman Forum, The Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo de Fiori, Vittorio Emanuele, Spanish Steps, Vatican City and plenty of close calls in Rome traffic.
We spent almost a full 24 hours awake in Rome. We started with trying to photograph the sunrise light in the city center, then grabbing a birds eye view of the city form Villa Borghese to seeing Trevi Fountain at night after an evening at the Speakeasy. What a wonderful day that also included some new experiences for me. Seeing the city first thing in the morning without any tourist was very peaceful and Rome at night is also a great way to see the city. The next morning though, we were a bit slow so we ventured up to Lake Bracciano for some fresh air and lunch by the lake.
They piled it all in. A trip to the beach along the coast, eating in our favorite restaurants, a drive to Nemi for strawberry tarts and porchetta, night exhibits of Augustus' forum, and exploring 3rd century catacombs. A full experience of Rome and still only scratching the surface.
The weekend arrived and I was pumped for this new adventure to start. The only details we gave C & C were that we'd be taking a train somewhere and they'd need a swimsuit. As with most trips; it's not an adventure until something goes wrong. We had planned to take a taxi to Termini station to catch our evening train. Key word "planned." When there aren't any taxis available in a huge city at rush hour you jump to plan B. How can there not be any taxis!!!? Plan B: get your ass in the car, find parking online, beat Rome traffic, park, run to the station, run to the train. Nothing like almost missing an exciting trip right off the bat. We actually ended up having about 15 minutes to spare but here in Rome one wrong turn in the city could have easily doomed us.
Aboard the train the kids knew we'd started south along the western coast of Italy but still didn't quite know where Salerno would put them. As we checked into the hotel Courtney was quick to find the wifi and a map. She suddenly realized that her wish was coming true. Clayton had told me when he booked the trip that Courtney really wanted to see the Amalfi Coast. Done. Heidi and I had been told by a few folks not to miss this area of Italy while we're here. With Clayton confirming their trip, we quickly planned an adventure along this beautiful coast.
There were still some questions about what we'd actually be doing with our time along the coast. Hike? Bike? Heidi and I did out best to hold onto the secret as long as possible. First thing the next morning we hustled along the water towards the marina in Salerno. Thoughts of maybe a day trip on a boat started to materialize. Huge tourist ferries and boats filled the marina. Suddenly we met this man who showed us the way to a beautiful sailboat that we all needed to board. Clayton and Courtney seemed pretty awestruck to think we were going sailing for the day but their jaws dropped when we told them we'd be spending the night and the next two days exploring the Amalfi coast aboard the 42 foot Alba Futura.
I think we were all very impressed with the situation we had found ourselves. The weather was perfect for sailing. Bluebird skies, light winds, and not a cloud in sight. The deep azzurra blue of the water was unbelievable. Many times the lenses in your sunglasses enhance the colors you're seeing around you. Here your sunglasses actually hindered the color and I had to keep taking off my glasses to confirm how blue the water truly was.
Our captain is Giuliano. He owns the Alba Futura. He's Italian and a character. A retired lawyer with a degree in Philosophy and a self professed world traveler. He's has some strong opinions and an even stronger knowledge of the Amalfi Coast. He quickly reminded Heidi and I of a few other sailors we know. We had any idea of what we wanted to use our time on the boat for and so did he. After some discussion and intense hand gestures we broke the ice and made a plan. Our plan.
Now our best friend, Giuliano and I hoisted the sails and set a course for the island of Capri. As we sat on the deck of this beautiful boat and soaked up the sun, sea, and views we had to pinch ourselves a few times to check back into reality. The Amalfi Coast is a tropical paradise. The combination of colors from the water, towns and landscape are something out of a travel magazine. La Dolce Vita.
We made port in Capri by late afternoon with plenty of time to stroll around the island with fresh squeezed lemon granitas in hand. The island life vibe is rich here on Capri. The expectation is to slow down and enjoy yourself. That we did. Capri is covered in flowers of amazing colors and filled with intoxicating smells of citrus and sea air.
Finding ourselves in Anacapri with perfect timing for an aperitivo, we enjoyed a couple Aperol Spritz before gathering up supplies for dinner aboard the Alba Futura. The walk down to port was also perfectly timed for a classic island sunset. By the time dinner was over the day had caught up with us. Sun kissed, wind blown, and full of tasty food we had no issues retiring to our quarters for the night. Especially with an early push from port for Positano at 0730.
Calm seas and a perfect morning breeze allowed us to raise the sails for Positano and enjoy the fresh, salty, air of the Mediterranean. We'd have about two hours of sailing to Positano, where we'd be met by a boat taxi that would take us to shore to enjoy the beach for the day. We gathered some snacks and wine in town for the day and made our way to the beach. Island vibe remember.
The setting was again surreal. The blue of the Mediterranean, the grey pebbles of the beach, and the colors of Positano made for a perfect day on the beach. We're normally not big beach folks but I could get used to this. Paradise.
The dream ended as quickly as it started. Back on the Alba Futura we made our way back to Salerno with a quick stop to swim in the crystal clear water along the coast. The water was clear enough to see the entire length of the boat that was submerged underwater. A great ending to a fantastic trip. This one will be hard to forget.
Just like that my nephew's five minute trip to Italy was over. Time flies! It was wonderful to have him and Courtney come and visit. To be able to share our new home and experiences with them was a joy. I hope we instilled the travel bug and will see them again soon in a foreign land.