by Melanie Horne
I am often flooded with questions about my experiences abroad. Therefore, I thought I would include a journal entry from my time spent in Italy this past summer. While it is impossible to gain as much insight from reading versus firsthand experience, I hope this opens your mind and broadens your awareness of the world outside our own.
Friday, June 21, 2013
“I had been looking forward to visiting the Amalfi Coast all month. Some say it’s always necessary to take a little vacation for a vacation. Driving into the Province of Salerno, I was unaware that it is the second most populated region in Italy. Judging from the location, I figured these islands became pertinent for their coastal trading. Yet, why is it that this particular coast is more famous than any other in the country? After some research, I found that the Amalfi Coast was actually popularized by a single fan — the writer John Steinbeck published a short story/article entitled ‘Positano’ in Harper’s Bazaar in 1953 and made everyone aware of its coastal splendor.
The highlight of my weekend was a trip to the Blue Grotto (Grotto Azzura). From our tour boat, we were transferred to a smaller rowboat, only seating five people. The rowers instructed us to literally lie down in the canoe-like construction. I soon realized the reason for this extreme precaution.
Upon the arrival to the Grotto, one could only enter and exit through a minuscule entryway — so small that the rowers had to lean back, held up only by the support of a chain that helped reel us into the cave. Once inside, I didn’t even notice the surrounding boats or the close proximity of the cave walls. The piercing blue color ignited within the depths of the water is a mystery to the senses. How can something this beautiful be hidden within the confines of a mountain?
Our rower allowed us to “fall out of the boat,” letting us dive into this earthly wonder. While wading, between bursts of thrill and adrenaline, pangs of guilt also came to mind. I too had just succumbed to a wave of tourist influence, obstructing the grotto’s natural beauty for the envied experience of saying I had left my mark. I suppose I can blame Christopher Columbus for this idea.”