This entry will be a bit shorter than some of my others. I came to Salerno to relax a bit with the smell of the Mediterranean and the sun kissing my skin. I arrived by train from Rome and ended up getting a little lost, as usual, trying to find my hostel. I asked a young guy working at a cafe where I could find the street I was looking for and he tried so hard to help me in English, but in the end I had to get help from someone else. I really appreciated the effort from the Italians to communicate with me in English though. So I found my way to my hostel, Ave Gratia Plena, in Salerno. Really great location and the place was beautiful. The hostel was in an old convent sort of thing, with a beautiful patio and fountain on the ground floor. The staff were great and the room was clean and quiet. I even had a lovely view from my room of the cobble stone road below leading to the main road and ocean beyond that.
I met with Alfonso, who also is active on the CouchSurfing site, and after a walk in the city he took me to Cetara, a small small city not far from Salerno, where they have fantastic seafood. We ordered some tuna, anchovies, and squid fried with some light batter. I don’t think I have ever eaten better seafood than I did that night. We sat by the water for a while and then I headed back to my hostel for a good night’s sleep. A very much needed sleep.
I woke up the next morning and went out to find a bookstore that might sell some books in English. I needed something good to read and reading is so much more relaxing when you are sitting by the water. After reading the entire book Fifty Shades of Grey in the store, I picked up the book Never Let Me Go. I totally loved it and left it behind in Sevilla for another couchsurfer to enjoy as much as I did. With my book, I headed down to the promenade on the water to read and catch some rays. I was totally relaxed. I met Loborio, another couchsurfer, for lunch and we went to a pizzeria in the centre. I decided to try the pizza topped with mozzarella made with buffalo milk, which is a specialty from this region of Italy. Well it was AMAZING. Mozzarella in Canada just isn’t the same thing at all. Actually I will probably never eat it in Canada again to be honest. On my way back to the hostel I ran into the waiter that tried to help me with directions the day before. He treated me to some coffee on the house and proceeded to try to have a conversation with me mostly in Italian. I think it was the most difficult conversation I have ever had in my life! That night I went with Alfonso to Pompei to see it at night and the beautiful church. The place is picturesque and very small. And I couldn’t help but wonder why they would rebuild a city in the same place where the other one was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Humans work in mysterious ways.
On my 3rd day in Salerno I headed to the ferry dock to catch a ride along the coast to Amalfi. One of the most beautiful places in the world. On this particular day the sun was hot and the weather warm, so good for some tanning and a bit of a swim. This was my first time ever in the Mediterranean, and so memorable. I met a local there named Luca who works for a wine making company and he shared some of his stories about traveling in Australia and some knowledge about the wines and the process with which they are made. Then he took me by scooter to a small waterfall just east of Amalfi where the water was crystal clear. I think it was one of the most refreshing swims of my life. I spent the entire day on the beach and in the evening took the ferry back to Salerno.
That night in Salerno was the celebration of San Matteo, the protector of the city. There were parades and music and food. There was a fantastic fireworks show at the end that lasted around 20 minutes. Loborio agreed to watch the fireworks with me. We then went on a hunt for calzones and beer. I have to say again that Italian food is fantastic. The calzone was so stuffed with cheese, definitely got my money’s worth. The streets were filled with people, an amusement park was running and there was garbage everywhere. I don’t know how the city managed to clean it all.
On my last day I headed up to the Arechi castle that sits and watches over the city from the mountain. It is a small place with a nice trail that circles around the grounds. The view of the bay is beautiful from this high up. It was peaceful to sit there and contemplate the last few days I spent in the city. I then headed back to the hostel to grab my bags and catch my train to Naples and head to the airport. My flight to Madrid ended up being 1.5 hours delayed and I was so exhausted by the end of it all. Italy is a beautiful country and I am definitely going back in the future. The people are beautiful as well as the language and the history, and the food is fantabulous. I could never get enough of this place.
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