Everyone loves the beach! The salt breeze in the air, the sun on one’s skin; it has a calming presence. Growing up spending whole summers at a time living off the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, I’ve grown to appreciate the beach. It makes me relaxed and reminds me of simple times, especially during the off season when there are fewer tourists and the towns are quiet and filled with only locals.
Every year for spring break, I go to my beach house. As spring break approached, I decided it would be a good idea to go to a beach in Italy. It would be comfortable and remind me of home, which I was in need of. I chose to travel along the Amalfi coast. I had heard so many amazing things about the beaches there. All the photos I saw online showed a large beach with a unique atmosphere. It was filled with liveliness and tourist. I thought it would be a great way to meet people.
What I found was much different. When I got off the bus in Positano, a city along the Amalfi Coast, it was nothing like I had imagined or seen in the photos. There was no one around. All the shops were closed and there was no beach in sight. The bus had dropped me off by a huge set of stairs. Stairs at the beach? I had never ever seen that before. Florida beaches are flat. As I walked down 567 stairs, I came to the city center. It was smaller than Seagrove beach on 30A. There were a few people in the city square that informed me that it was the off season for them. That was the reason all the shops were closed. They were preparing for the season opening. Since, I could not do much of anything in the square, I decided to check out the beach. What I encountered was the Mediterranean Sea and a pile of pebbles. Where was the sand, I thought. So much for relaxing and getting a sun-kissed tan. I could not lay out on a pile of rocks! I couldn’t event build a sand castle.
As I hiked along the beach, each step sinking deep down into the pebbles, I thought, this isn’t that much different than home. As I sat, I thought of how easy life seemed at this time here in Positano. It reminded me of the off season back home in Flordia. I felt at peace and calm, which is why I love my beach house so much. I had been so upset at what I came to find of the Italian beaches, but I didn’t realize till I was forced to take it in, how amazing it was. It was just like being at home; sitting on the beach listening to the waves break, taking in the scenery and allowing my mind to rest. Even-though this wasn’t what I thought I wanted, it was the highlight of my vacation. I found a little bit of home, here amongst Italy’s beaches. As I climbed back up the stairs to catch the bus back to Ariccia, I thought “I am so lucky”. Being part of a program like Joseph S. Bruno Auburn Abroad in Italy allows me to have personal travel time and opportunities to explore Italy and all its beauty, like I found on the Amalfi Coast.