By Chelsea Ferguson Linde –
I was at my peak. I had a 60-day wedding countdown on my mind, excessive amounts of obligations tied to family and friends, the weight of a busy season at work, and the overwhelming feeling that I could not “do it all”. My solution, a well-deserved girls-getaway with my life-long friend, to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. From the cobble stone streets, endless servings of pasta and wine, and breath taking views, Italy lived up to my expectation, and more.
For Italy, I plan was to be at my best. I packed the most stylish clothes, in order to blend in, (although I knew the buttery-blonde hair of both, my girlfriend and I, could not be disguised from the locals), I also had a fully charged camera, and an open mind.
Traveling in November, we missed the “season” to visit the beautiful county of Italy. Most days were slightly overcast. We weren’t looking for perfection we were there to experience something different. Since my first bite of spinach-ricotta ravioli at dinner, upon arrival in Sorrento, (our home-base), my taste buds have been in recovery. The taste was…astounding. I have heard people describe authentic Italian food while despising the American Imitation. I nodded my head in agreement but I did not know precisely what they meant, until that first bite! There aren’t any words in the English language to describe the difference. Everything really is just that, different.
I had never tasted juice so sweet. A white-haired man with a youthful smile, pressed pomegranate, orange and lemon, from his fruit-cart along the Amalfi mountainside. A five-minute blend, producing a robust and tart-tasting liquid contained in a 6oz cup, quenched my thirst more than a 12oz glass of Tropicana orange juice on a Sunday morning. The bar had been set, and I knew I had to release my reservations to go light on consumption during my time in the boot shaped country.
We modeled Italy well. Brown velvet frothed cappuccinos at breakfast, and another in the afternoon. House red wine at lunch and dinner, prosecco and gelato (do I need a reason?) Our appetites were swooned by every pasta item, at all hours of the day. The air was chilly, but we were warmed by the hospitality of the Italians. As the American bellas, we were recognized for our magazine worthy outfits, effortlessly thrown into our suitcases, (little did they know), and were invited to sit, eat, drink, and be merry, as long as we desired, throughout the country. Meanwhile, we received multiple servings of lemon cello…on the the house, of course. Prego!
Each new day was as exhilarating as the one before. We snapped a multitude of photos on our I-phones, that demonstrated professional photography skill to our friends and family back home. I blame it all on Italia, she made it too easy. A day trip to the Isle of Capri, we were serenated by singing Italian tour guides in rowboats, as we circled inside of the magnificent Blue Grotto.
We browsed through local shops with hand-made pottery painted with patterns of lemons, after navigating through flower boxes in the gardens of Ravello. We allowed the aroma of lavender fields surrounding the ruins of Pompeii to intoxicate us. The afternoons entrenched in the vineyards involved multiple wine tastings that challenged our taste buds, which also craved the endless baskets of freshly baked bread. We navigated through through local transit of Napoli, while resisting pick-pocketers attempts before catching the high-speed train for a night spend in the dreamy city of Rome. We inhaled the smell of Italian leather, and lavished in the smoothness against our skin, while trying clothes. Rome will forever be embedded in my mind when considering the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Sistine Chapel, and of course, pizza and wine. All in time to return to our home for the week in Sorrento, where we ended our nights in the late-night markets, a quick stop at our favorite gelato shop with a trio of swings and the best Aperol Spritz in the city. We capped it off by heading to a bar we nicknamed, “Bar Luigi” (our first night there, we met four men, named Luigi, or so they claim that was their name).
Italy had romanced us; we were swept off our feet. We were caught up in a world where a siesta was enforced, stomachaches and bloating were nonexistent, no matter how many servings of carbs we had, and familia wasn’t necessarily bonded by blood. I knew I would return home, changed, and have a greater appreciation for culinary experience. But, at heart, I am still an all-American girl. The burger and fries I ordered at the airport, before departing home, was delightful, and reminded me that there is no place like home.
- 4 ice cubes, or as desired
- 2 fluid ounces Prosecco
- 1 splash carbonated water
- 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger bitter orange aperitif (such as Aperol®)
- 1 slice orange (optional)
Fill a wine glass with ice cubes; pour in Prosecco and carbonated water. Top cocktail with bitter orange aperitif. Garnish with orange slice.