This past weekend, two of my classmates and I decided to explore the town we live in for the first time. It was our first month anniversary of being in Italy (as well as my anniversary of falling in love with Italy), and we hadn’t yet had the chance to really experience and enjoy the small town we live in. Most of our time thus far has been spent walking the main town of Sorrento.
We decided to meet at our usual spot at the big tree on my road—since we are the only three who live in home-stays in the same area, and therefore always walk together. Our adventure began when we realized how walking the same, main road in a different direction was like entering a new culture, a new world. The roads were busier, the cars were crazier, and the people looked unfamiliar. Maybe it was the time of day, but we could barely cross the street it was so busy! I figured walking towards the sea was our best bet at getting to know this side of town without getting run over, and I had remembered my Italian friend telling me that I must go to the Sant’Agnello marina.
Knowing nothing of this new area other than the direction of the ocean, we decided that it was the perfect time to go. Once we got onto the side roads, my friend challenged us to ‘do as the Italians do’ by walking slowly. That is exactly what I did. It didn’t take long before I was settling into this new pace of life: stopping to smell the lemons (literally!), greeting the stray dogs, and crossing the streets as if that speeding Fiat or that Vespa driving on the wrong side of the road could not touch me. Naïve, maybe…but I felt like it took walking in the opposite direction than I’m used to, onto unknown roads was what it took for me to realize fully what this past month has brought me, and more importantly, how it has changed me. To put it in less grammatical terms: “I Robert Frost-ed my way to a new me.”
While on my road less traveled, with my two fellow musketeers, I walked slowly on the cobbled and wobbled sidewalks, choosing the way to go using only mere intuition. After walking the heels off of my boots, I turned the corner and my eyes began to sting at the sight of such beauty. I blinked, and the picture only became clearer. This was it, I found the marina. I walked closer, my two comrades just as in awe as I, and began to walk down the zigzagged, stone ramp. We walked through this castle-like structure that had windows looking down at the Mediterranean water crashing against the rocks. As we continued walking through this castle leading down to the marina, everything turned pitch black where there were no windows. I admit to being afraid of the dark, and I usually find myself quivering like Dante did while in the pits of Hell in La Divina Commedia. However, here, I felt strong. Together with my friends, I made it down to the marina.
It began to rain, but that only made the whole ‘’feeling like Dante’’ theme more prominent. Umbrella, no umbrella it didn’t matter. In that moment all that mattered was that I was in a foreign place, nearly on my own and yet, felt so at peace. The ocean was cerulean and clear, and peaceful. The three of us just walked on what little sand there was, skipped some rocks, and stood in the rain marveling, thinking, and seeing. When the rain became heavier, I began walking over to the dock and again, was blessed with an incredible sight: a rainbow! Had we not decided to venture out and see what else this part of Italy beholds, I would have missed out on something so profound and something that ended up bringing me closer to my friends, and definitely closer to nature. Plus, what better way to end a journey, than with a rainbow.