Coast of Italy: best end for a great trip

?What was your favorite part of your trip to Europe?? I?ve been asked this question many times since returning from my 12-day tour of Europe in June. My answer? The extension on the coast of Italy.

When signing up for the trip, we were given the option of going on a two-day extension to Pompeii, Sorrento and the Island of Capri. Half of our group left from Rome after 10 days, while the rest of us who signed up for the extension boarded the bus for Pompeii.

It took about two and a half hours to drive from Rome to Pompeii, so we stopped at a convenience store to grab some classic Italian junk food for the trip. My stash included an amazingly creamy Milka chocolate bar and Fonzies, a Cheetos-like snack that Americans are definitely missing out on.

After a very scenic drive, we arrived at Pompeii, home of the largest lemons and oranges I have ever seen in my 19 years on Earth.

We then embarked on a guided tour of Pompeii, an ancient city buried under ash during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Pompeii was incredible. As I walked on the narrow streets and through the desolated rooms, I got chills imagining the final moments of this once lively ancient town.

Through the ash and pumice?s preservation of Pompeii, we were given a glimpse of what life was life for the ancient Romans. We visited their houses, stood in their theater, and walked over their chariot ruts. All the while, Mount Vesuvius hovered in the background, partially covered by a layer of fog.

After taking some time to shop at the entrance of Pompeii, we got back on the bus to head for Sorrento. The 45-minute drive was full of narrow, winding roads high above the Bay of Naples. Our bus driver, Luciano, did an amazing job navigating our large bus along the route. He even pulled over at one point to let us out to take pictures of the breathtaking view.

Once we arrived in Sorrento, we spent some time browsing the street markets and snacking on some fresh cherries.

Then we took a path down the cliff side to our quaint lodgings for the night, Hotel Il Faro. The room I stayed in had a balcony that provided a beautiful view of the bay.

We enjoyed a meal of pasta, meat and lemon cake. I also tried my first sip of wine (after some resistance) and did not find it very appetizing. But I did feel very Italian.

The rest of the evening was relaxed. My friends and I spent some time exploring the hotel. We then went outside to grab some gelato and found a spot to sit on the bay. The chocolate gelato I had that night was some of the best I had on the whole trip.

The next morning, we boarded a boat to the Island of Capri, a picturesque island off the coast of Italy. I?ve said this once of Italy, and I?ll say it again: words can?t describe the beauty I saw.

Our day at Capri was our last day in Europe, and it was the perfect way to end the trip.

We began the day by taking a private boat tour around the island. As our boat floated through the incredibly blue water, we got amazing views of the island?s many caves, grottos, and celebrity villas. We also saw the faraglioni, which are Capri?s iconic rock structures.

Once back on the island, we visited the Gardens of Augustus and then ate a classic Italian lunch of pizza and gelato.

Next we had some time to explore Capri. The Island of Capri is a place where people dream about going, so experiencing it for myself felt surreal.

We strolled the streets, occasionally stopping at shops to buy souvenirs, and dipped our toes in the Mediterranean. A trip to the coast of Italy also wouldn?t have been complete without a freshly squeezed glass of lemon ice.

As we took in the relaxing atmosphere of the island, I had some time to reflect on my adventures in Europe. In only 12 days, I traveled from London to Paris to Florence to Rome to Pompeii to Sorrento to Capri. I experienced different cultures and broadened my view of the world.

As we took off for home from the Rome airport, I felt so thankful for the opportunity I had to travel the world with some of my closest friends. I made memories that I will cherish forever and further ignited my passion for traveling.

If you want to know more about my trip, or want to find out how you can go on a trip like the one I went on, come talk to me or send me an email. I?d love to talk to you about it!

Bailey Kaufman, currently a student at Kansas State University, can be reached at bkaufman01@ksu.edu.