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Cave de Tirreni aerial view of this mountain town with buildings in the foreground

European Adventure Part Deux Salerno e Cava de’ Tirreni

Salerno e Cava de’ Tirreni

After a quick nap the night before and an equally short flight, I find myself once again back in Italy. The southern part in Salerno to be exact. This would be a quick stopover to visit my friend Enzo in his hometown of Cava de’ Tirreni. Both are equally beautiful cities. They brought back memories of my time on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast from my last trip.

I met up with Enzo at the train station in Salerno. Those who read my previous story will recognize his name. We had talked about visiting each other at some point ever since we met on that trip. A promise made and kept, here I was. It was only going to be for one day and night as the next day I’d be heading out to Rome for the wedding. Yeah, remember the wedding? The thing that pretty much started this whole trip. That part was still coming up.

Enzo had managed to keep himself busy since the last time we met. He started organizing tours of the Amalfi Coast through different website listings. His most popular tour is a hike along the “Path of the Gods” and down to Positano. He really enjoys doing this and lost so much weight doing it. I hardly recognized him. I had no idea he was also a certified environmental guide. As a matter of fact, he received his degree in environmental science from the University of Napoli.

I think he might have gotten his inspiration from hearing my stories about my own tour guiding in San Diego or at least I hope so. It would feel good to know I inspired someone to do something they love even if it’s on the side like I did. If you want to book one of Enzo’s fabulous tours, feel free to look him up. Here is a link to his digital business card… https://www.getsl.ink/vmasullo

After picking me up at the train station, we drove to the coastal part of Salerno. It was great sitting out there and once again enjoying those Southern Italian coastal views I had come to love. The weather was a lot warmer in Italy than it was in Amsterdam. Much, much warmer! Which felt great! It was exactly what I needed to warm up and get rid of all that cold air in my lungs that I had brought along with me.

Just like last time, I remember telling Enzo how spoiled Italians were in getting to enjoy these amazing views all the time. He agreed that it was something that often gets taken for granted. After getting our fill of coastal scenery, we drove over to his home town of Cava de’ Tirreni where I’m treated to even more beautiful views. This time the views are more of the green mountains that surround the area but still equally stunning.

At the very top of one of these mountains lies the impressive Monte Castello. The name literally translates to “Mountain Castle” and it’s a medieval castle that dates all the way back to the 15th century. The area around the castle is full of olive trees and is known to produce some of the best quality olive oils.

Enzo’s home in Cava provided great views of all these surrounding sceneries. It even had a balcony. I spent most of my remaining time just standing out there and enjoying the view. That night Enzo had made plans to go eat at a traditional Napolitano style pizza place. These are only found in the Southern part of Italy and it’s the only way to truly enjoy this famous traditional Italian style pizza. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Obviously, I couldn’t leave Italy without having experienced this but unfortunately for me, I’m both gluten and lactose intolerant. Enzo did not know this about me prior to making dinner plans. I thought he remembered from the nickname I acquired at the Couchsurfing summer camp where we met just two years prior.

They use to refer to me as “Celiaco” which basically means Celiac. They even had a collection of gluten-free snacks stowed away just for me. Yeah, it was tough having a gluten sensitivity in Italy of all places. It’s become more common in recent years and people all throughout Italy have become more aware and sensitive to it.

Fortunately enough for me, however, this was also a place that offered both gluten and lactose-free options. So I ended up getting my traditional Napolitano style pizza after all and I enjoyed every last bite of it. You can see pictures of the pizza and the place in my photo album. The place itself was really cool too. The experience felt like eating at someone’s house. It was the typical spot in Italy that is mostly known and frequented by locals. The real deal!

After getting our fill of tasty pizza, we made sure to leave room for dessert and head out in search of a good Gelato place. Enzo already had one in mind. Of course, I had to have more Gelato. After all, I was in Italy now, the home of great Gelato! This would serve as my first official taste of Gelato in Italy. He picked a good spot. I remember Melone being their best flavor.

That reminds me, Enzo had this quirky knack of asking to try my food after he was already dipping his spoon or fork into it. I thought it was funny, “Puedo?” I also recall him complaining about how it was Monday all throughout my visit about things like traffic or the pizza taking a long time to arrive to which I kindly reminded him that in fact, it was Thursday.

Not exactly sure how you confuse Monday with Thursday but I guess he had a lot on his mind. After getting our fill of wonderful Gelato, we headed back to his home. I had to wake up very early morning once again this time to catch a train to Roma.

I remember Enzo telling me he did not like waking up so early and if there was any way I could change my trip or catch a different train. I thought he was joking because we had discussed this prior to my trip and he even recommended that I leave earlier due to him having one of his tours later that morning. Well, it turned out he wasn’t joking. I tried to wake him up in the morning so he could drive me to the train station but apparently he never actually woke up.

I would knock on his bedroom door and ask if he was awake to which he would reply in the affirmative, “Si! Si!” Always twice so as to add more conviction to his answer. Turns out that wasn’t the case at all. He was either still sleeping or dreaming, I don’t know which.

After he finally woke up, we rushed to the train station with very little time left. In all fairness, he did everything he could to get me there on time but I ended up missing the train anyway. Turns out, I think his plan was to have me catch a local train to the station that morning but there were no trains running that early. This would be the first train I would miss on this trip but not the last.

I ended up getting on a later train so it worked out fine in the end. Of course, that meant having to pay for a new ticket and leaving a little later than I had originally planned but at least I would be heading to Rome and that was the important thing. I needed to be there that day so I could catch my bus to the wedding.

I also had pre-purchased timed tickets for a visit to the Borghese Villa and gallery in Rome. Luckily I made it to Rome with time to spare. And yes, in case you’re wondering Enzo offered to pay for my new ticket but I declined and told him not to worry about it. I was already grateful to him for hosting me.

I got to know a bit more about Enzo on this trip and learn new things about him. Like his degree and the type of work he did. Also, his passion for environmental studies even being involved in monitoring geological disturbances like seismic activity which is a really important thing when you’re living in close proximity to a volcano. In addition to other eccentric nuances and funny things about him. I look forward to spending time with him again someday. Now it’s his turn to visit me and I’ll be more than happy to return the favor.

Onward to Rome

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