Sabbatical Year-Part IX

La Spiaggia, the Amalfi Coast

I often joke that I’m 47 years of beach (as the old ad for a sunscreen) because I’m going to the beach as a baby. Of memories (I think from 4 or 5 years) of when we spent the school holidays at Saints or in a cozy apartment in Praia Grande, South coast of São Paulo, being at the beach was always like home.

Like my mother wasn’t the beachas I was growing up, in those days of innocence and when little is talked about any kind of violence, she ended up attending to my whining – when not esperneadas and let me to stay more with those who, like me, you could spend all day on the beach without worry about the salt or sand-good neighbors helped the relay and were keeping an eye on small here. Now and again, she took a bite and was going to check if it was really all right with me and my “beach guardians”. But I behaved well. It was enough to let me play beira mar. From an early age I learned from my father not to be afraid of the sea, but respect him. The beach was so much, that I just came home when hunger pressed too much or my mother would pick me up … or sent my sister. And so, of the findings of the North coast of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and Northeast, when thinking of traveling, I thought “to which Beach I go now?” Be close to the sea has always been a joy and first choice.

So when I decided to go to Italy, despite so many enticing possibilities, such as Sardinia and Sicily, could not fail to meet the famous Amalfi coast. And as in Tuscany, I decided I’d cover my commute by train, bus and boat. Sorrento was chosen to assemble the base, and once there, it would be easy to know the beaches. And so it was.

From Rome to Naples, the path of the train is fast, and the quality of the trip. From Naples to Sorrento for a “downgrade” of the train and the time may seem longer path; During that time, on a very hot day, all I could think was that soon would be taking my bath blue sea in the Mediterranean.

Torna a Surriento

When thinking of Sorrento, the first thing that came to my head was Pavarotti’s song, “Torna a Surriento”. In addition to the ironic comment of a friend “you will stay in Sorrento? Sorrento is for old people. ” Maybe, in fact, be. Is a beach, a spa, quite familiar. And seductively charming. From the train station to the bed & breakfast you’d be staying, and the little that I met that afternoon, I had a feeling of coziness. A feeling that I referred to the childhood holidays and people greeted on the street (and complimented me too!), or simply smile each other. I felt welcomed and accepted.

Watch the beautiful sunset, I saw in a few places in my life, I took a spritz in a bar with a view of postcard listening to bossa nova. What more could I want?

The world was perfect until I get back to the B & B, connect and take notice that the demonstrations and movements that already happening in Brazil had taken a greater weight. Follow on line that movement of social media, people going to the streets, my family and friends, and I, who have always waited for this moment in the country powerless, without participating in … I felt heartbroken. It may seem silly and corny, but it’s a fact: when you are out is that you understand and give more value to some things. And cried. I cried for my country, the poverty of many, by injustice, by our hopes and pride of the people who peacefully left the streets. I was in heaven but wanted to teleport to the Brazil. I heard happen in support of the Brazilian events in London, Amsterdam, New York, Paris (who infamously banned the demonstration). Less in Italy, or not on the Amalfi coast. There was nothing I could do. I called my niece, Camila, who is studying in London, and we arranged for her to go find me in Italy. Thus, the two, tearful and feeling the “ex-patriadas”, would a company to another. The important thing for me at that moment was to be as close to home as possible.

The feeling of being far from home, but still that feeling at home, in the cosy Sorrento, I arranged to take advantage of that paradise so that could meet in the next 6 days, Positano, Ravello and Capri Amafi, and still, I left a day or two to repeat what I had enjoyed it more. The choice was to follow the bus, with its advantages and disadvantages. After the experience in Tuscany, understand, or surrender, to the Italian public transport, the “agenda” of the bus, it would be a blast. Like I’d say advantages, I could break my neck to look at that dizzying visual without worry about driving or parking the car. Not to mention the “driving lessons” – Yes, I confirm, the Italians are the best drivers in the world!!!! Where to we fit, or passes, a car on costiera Italian drivers pose two. Not before honking and swearing the other driver or somebody’s mother. Anyway, on a bus in Italy is fun.

Positano is the jewel of the Amalfi coast. Famous for being the favourite destination for couples in love as everyone knows. I also knew, but I went there to be with myself and with my romanticism. Or you never know … The beach, all of stone, is a delight and Yes, the feeling of dolce far niente comes along. Is if you give it to her. Vale also lose for their lanes. It was in these wanderings I found shops, charming cafes and the shop where I bought fruit and other Italian delights for the day al mare. In addition, the view from the top of Positano, is really breathtaking.

The famous island of Capri is a charm only. Imagine what it must have been in 70 years. The main attraction are the boat rides. We choose to stay in comfortable lounge chairs to get tired (tired of what even?). The beach chosen was the owner of that visual Picolla Marina is perhaps the main postcard of the island. And to get there, if not, take the funicular to the top of the island and from there a minibus. Was like to want more. Capri deserve a stay of two full days to see the whole island by car and boat, and your neighbor Anacapri; and not to be hostage of the timetables of the boats, there is also the bus, and I mean that in a good mood, can be changed.

AmalfiPositano, next door is more rustic and has its secrets if you venture out to explore it. Delicious places and escondinhos that you may not notice at first glance are there, for two centuries, offering treats to make you forget any diet and eat praying and kneeling, as the sensational rum baba, the clementines (our Mandarin) with chocolate, “” recipes of limoncello … and of course the gelatos. Like I said, after Italy, nothing will be as before, not your weight.

The beach in Amalfi is more restricted, or less charming, sometimes just a deck to a lot of people looking for a place in the Sun is worth staying tuned/on the road which allows true jewels of natural beaches, hidden. (Unfortunately, a distraction, I lost most of the good pictures I did of Amalfi, so I have little to show)

Ravello was the “surprise. I fell in love with the city and as well as in Sorrento, Siena and Florence, soon I was looking for houses to rent for a long season. Considered by the Unesco World Heritage since 1996, is in Ravello that cultural life happens on the Amalfi Coast-festivals of music, theatre, dance, cinema. There’s even an auditorium designed by Oscar Niemeyer at the request of the sociologist Domenico De Masi, the author of the creative leisure (which I love).

Thanks to the gardens of the Villa Rufolo town exudes the typical perfume of the Mediterranean, and who likes exploring on foot, down the Valley “trail” to Minori or to Amalfi. We follow for Minori. The landscape is breathtaking and at one point has a fork … to one side the path follows the wineries and plantations of lemon, the other … we don’t know. We decided in the currency and we venture at first. We found out that day that it is not enough to have a winery or a grove of lemons, you gotta have who take care of them! Now and again we were surprised by the barking “sharp and fierce” of Italian dogs (laughs). We don’t have to run any, but we take some scares followed by laughter. We arrive in Minori safe and sound, and happier.

We were looking for a less touristy Beach and find Bagno Regina Giovanna. Frequented almost only for Italians who flee over there for being a stronghold a bit off the tourist circuit, is the open ocean and has a spectacular view of 180 degrees of the Vesuvius to Sorrento. And it’s free. The beach, which is not really a beach, it’s actually an archaeological site: an ancient Roman Villa, Villa Pollio Felice, which belonged to Hungarian Regina Giovanna D’anjou (1371-1435), Queen of Naples. By your conduct “outrageous”  and she used to bathe in these waters, naked, with your lover, became known as Bagno Regina Giovanna. The ruins are still there and unfortunately well abandoned. Sun and sea there, just the old-fashioned way – without booths or sun loungers. We haven’t seen anyone naked (!).

On the first day I took a crowded bus. But crowded even. An Englishman, already half pink “of the Sun, suffered from heat and carried a micro-ventilador it was probably the most prized possession of it at the time … He sought to maintain a certain elegance and hold as could, valiantly, to each winding curve that the bus did (and I must say, there are many curves and winding are same). I could look at it and imagine it melting, but not without your smile on her face. This only increased, as well as his eyes opened every new and surprising landscape of costiera. I, like others, was in the same situation, but without the fan, half-hanging, and each curve, only the panoramic window of the bus I separated that immensity blue. A German woman, who was sitting next to me, looked worried and ready to “defense” if I lost balance and fell on top of her. Laughed to each other, just like other tourists, from all over the world, if entreolhavam time or another as if sharing through looks and smiles, a part of what we were living there. I didn’t hold back and commented to her at some point, “now that’s first class, don’t you think?”. Both fell out laughing.

Contagious climate of locker room, the holidays, the expected summer, colorful cabins, deck chairs al mare, and Tan Tan, the Mediterranean is different, the visual of the road that is so beautiful, but so beautiful that it makes you soak up there in that immensity. Mediterranean color is unique. The spiagia with the beauty and Italian charm. That’s how the Amalfi Coast warmed and gladdened a heart longing and afflicted by Brazil.

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