The view from the bus ride on the side of a mountain headed towards Positano.

“But only a fool sails into combat with nature” - Pompeii

After our day in Capri I was pretty sure I would never see anything as beautiful as I did there. But then we went to Positano and I was wrong again. Our bus ride felt surreal, winding through the tiny streets hugging an enormous mountain. Little was being said on the bus other than a few sighs of disbelief.

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We arrived and walked down what I’m pretty sure was about 10,000 stairs to the beach. Halfway through I could feel my legs shaking and was willing myself to not fall over as I somehow seem to be sick in the most phenomenal places.

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We made it to the rocky beach and laid for a while until I felt my sickness rising and excused myself to wander around looking for a bathroom. After a giant turkey Panini, post my breakfast croissant leaving me in an untimely manner followed quickly by saltines, it was time to get on a boat to go cliff jumping. Yes, just one hour after vomiting in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been I figured the most intelligent route is to climb the side of a mountain and jump.

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Luckily we got on the large, party boat which seemed slightly unfair as we had an upper deck and speakers blasting music, flying past the rest of the group in their tiny barely-speed boats. Upon arrival, the heavily Australian accented captain dropped the anchor and shouted, “Jump off and swim over,” and so we did. Laughing and skeptical we all jumped into the bluest of water and made our first swim over to the empty shore. The climb up was daunting, as it was literally tiny ledges on the side of the mountain, wet from the climbers before us. As we made our way to the first ledge of two, the first screams of jumps were heard. The entire time up I was that person scoffing, “the first ledge isn’t even high.” Then I got there. And I felt differently. Pushing off the ledge, looking down at the boat that once seemed large, my friends treading water in the Mediterranean, the sun high in the sky, it was moment that I would really like to never forget. After the first jump we all immediately went back for more. But this time I wanted the tall one. Over 50 feet high on a small ledge of rock, I looked down. Why did I do this to myself and how difficult would the climb back down be, I considered. Finally, it came to a point where there was no more waiting time. I just jumped. And it was a fall that felt much longer than it probably was and also, consequently, the closest I’ve been to flying.

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After we were corralled back to the boat, we were taken to the next location to swim in caves. The fluorescent water, dark caves, the rocks that look like you’ll run into them because the water is so clear. What a strange place.

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The next day we went to Pompeii, where we took a guided tour through the ruins. There were still grooves in the streets from the wagons they used, the rocks the slaves were to walk on. The buildings with their mosaics still in tack, all the while having Mt. Vesuvius in the background, looming and omniscient. The volcano that created this phenomenon. I was surprised by how intelligent these people were. They lined the streets with tiny specks of marble so as to catch the moonlight and illuminate the streets throughout the night. After the tour we walked through the city on our own for a bit. I was able to walk ahead, looking for a certain street. I turned the corner and no one else was on this small side street. I did not have another human in my view. I couldn’t even hear talking. I just stood there, turned in a circle to take it in – the silence, the ruins, the grass growing on the floors of these homes. People lived here. So long ago.

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Note the phallic symbol at the top, marking this as a brothel. Very subtle Pompeii.

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We headed back to Florence that night. My seatmate had the luck of sitting next to me as I devoured a full pizza to myself on the 7 hour bus ride home. Fun was had by all.