“We didn’t find what we were looking for but much more.”

It’s a cloudy, cold day in Positano! So we are lounging in the hostel lobby by the breakfast bar, reading (Samantha), working on a thesis (Anna from Sweden), blogging (me), cooking (our Italian host), or getting a late coffee (Lizzy from Holland), and others around just waiting for the afternoon or the sun. Soon we will be going hiking or go down to the town for beach and exploration.. soon. But first: Samantha and I reached Positano yesterday by taking a 3 hour train ride through the Italian countryside and a 2hour bus ride along the cliffs of the Mediterranean. The sea is incredible and the houses and towns are built into the cliffs with the water far below and the bus hardly fits on the narrow roads that wind along the edge of the world. Eventually we ended up at our amazing hostel where we were here maybe 15 minutes and already had so many new friends from all over the world, lots of laughter, and then went to dinner with a group of girls from the hostel at this restaurant over the town that had an amazing view of the moonrise over the sea. Our Italian who waited on us joked and played with us all night, eventually throwing in after-dinner shots of limoncello to go with our amazing lemon cake. When we came back, we shared 5L of wine on the balcony (no joke, it was amazing), wrapped in blankets against the cold, and the incredible moon above us shining and creating a pathway of moonlight on the waves so far below us and the town.

Before we got here, our weekend in Roma was filled with more dancing and laughing. Samantha and I and Ale and Davide–our two Italian friends here– have become so close during our many hours exploring and roadtripping. Saturday night we went to San Lorenzo around midnight trying to get dinner and found only one pizza place open, ate pizza, afterward buzzing into a hidden bar with an awesome live band (hilarious –they did the chicken dance in Italian and I have it video’d so I’ll put it up when I get back to Roma) and danced all the way home. Samantha and I stayed up until we watched the sunrise out the window and did yoga in the kitchen at 5am, eventually going to bed with the windows in our room open to the morning and daylight.

Sunday it was raining in Rome so we drove until we found sunshine in a town called Anguillara on a lake way out in the hills, and we spent the day teasing and walking in the black sand, and eating porchetta (sp?) sandwiches, then climbing to the top of the town where a church looks out over the hills and countryside. We got back to Roma late and drove up to the top of the hill over the city at Gianicolo where we had a skyview of the city lights. We sat on a wall high over everything, the cool night wind around us and then we walked around the edge of the hill until we saw the dome of St. Peter’s and down below the wall where we sat there was a road where Italians wrote each other love messages in chalk. Samantha and I leaned over the wall to look at the road below and tried to translate them with Ale and Davide’s help. Samantha writes the phrases down in her book; she says, “I’m learning Italian reading love messages written on the street.” We walk to a fountain and a temple and then down a dark tree-lined path and again it starts to rain. Under the lightning and first rolling thunder, we find hundreds of fireflies in the dark and catch them in our hands. Ale was amazed and fascinated because Italians don’t often catch fireflies. He says to us in awe (because we found fireflies when we came looking for monuments): “We didn’t find what we were looking for but much more.” Much, much more.

Eventually we run to the car before the rain is too hard, drive to Travestere where we huddle under umbrellas and splash through the cobblestone streets until we dive into a restaurant lined with wine bottles and sit cramped family-style with bustling joyful Italians. We eat and talk until the rain has stopped and it’s hours later so we drive back, sleep, and catch the train finally to Positano.

Now we are going exploring and tomorrow back to Roma. Baci e abbracci dell’Italia cari amici!

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