La Vita Bella: Amalfi & Capri

La Vita Bella: Amalfi & Capri

Day 3: Capri Capri is absolutely beautiful! This morning we took a ferry ride to the island while the sun was shining and the weather was warm. Once we got to the island we bought tickets to take a boat to the Blue Grotto! Once outside the grotto, we took smaller boats (each boat held … Read more

Day 3: Capri

Capri is absolutely beautiful! This morning we took a ferry ride to the island while the sun was shining and the weather was warm.

bluegrotto

Once we got to the island we bought tickets to take a boat to the Blue Grotto! Once outside the grotto, we took smaller boats (each boat held four people) to get inside the cave. We had to all duck down really low to enter the cave. Inside was amazing! The water was an unreal blue color and the sun made the water sparkle. Although it was a bit expensive, I would have definitely regretted it if I missed out. It was the highlight of my day and a once in a lifetime experience!

The rest of the afternoon we took the railway up to the city center and walked around to all of the shops. They were all very ritzy and the city reminded me of a resort area. Capri is the most “high end” location I have been to in Italy. We even saw pictures, near a hotel, of celebrities that have vacationed there, such as Anne Hathaway!

While walking around, we followed our noses and treated ourselves to some gelato after smelling fresh waffle cones from half a mile away. The lady at the gelateria was making waffle cones right on the spot and I got to try bignolata (cookies and cream) gelato for the first time! Yum!

Capri is now my favorite place I have been to in Italy (alongside Florence). It is so beautiful and I am so happy I got to spend the day there.

Day 4: Amalfi Coast

amalfi

I am IN LOVE with Amalfi. It is BEAUTIFUL! Besides the rough winds, the weather was perfect! The sun was shining the entire day.

amalfi2

We had a tour of the city and the cathedral when we first arrived. Then we had a not so fun tour of a paper mill museum before we were free for lunch. Some of us grabbed calzones at a little pizzeria and then walked around the city a bit.

I then ordered a scoop of strawberry (fragola) and banana gelato before hopping on a boat for a ride on the Mediterranean!

The boat ride took us down the coast so we could see Amalfi from a different perspective. It was absolutely gorgeous. It was fun to see celebrity houses, such as Italian actress Sophia Loren, and extravagant hotels along the coast. We also saw the watch towers used in the past to spot invaders or approaching enemies. We learned that the walls of Amalfi are all painted white because of how hot it gets during the summer months. The white walls are meant to reflect the sun, that is reflected off of the sea, away from the city.

coast

The Amalfi Coast was much more than I expected and I am so thankful for the sunshine and beautiful weather.

Pearl of the Orient

Pearl of the Orient

Cheah Clan House When I wrote my introductory post, I mentioned that I would love to tell everyone more about my home. Here it is. I am from Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country located between Singapore and Thailand. Somehow that description works for most people. Yes, we are that big piece of land between those … Read more

Cheah Clan House

When I wrote my introductory post, I mentioned that I would love to tell everyone more about my home. Here it is.

I am from Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country located between Singapore and Thailand. Somehow that description works for most people. Yes, we are that big piece of land between those two nations. My home state, in particular, is called Penang. It is mostly an island with some of its state land being on the mainland (Malaysia) itself. Penang is located in the northwest part of Malaysia.

Living on an island (a really small one, in fact) is one of the best things in life. Penang is one of the most developed states in Malaysia. I would say we are second to the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. That being said, it means that Penang has close to everything you need. Malls, beaches, hangout spots, the airport and anything you can imagine is never more than 20 to 30 minutes away. That is of course without traffic playing its evil hand.

Kapitan Keling Mosque

George Town, Penang’s capital city, is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage City. That means that the buildings and cultural events and craftsmen within the city is considered to be an important cultural treasure to the world and needs to be protected for future generations.

The city features colonial architecture, currently being restored to its former glory. Thanks to the UNESCO endorsement, Penang has been through an extensive transformation. Going back there during the summer break was eye opening for me because after being away for over a year, going back to a restored Penang makes me feel like a tourist.

I had the opportunity to do a “Heritage Trail” when I was back there over the summer. It seems to be a trend these days among youths in my state. The World Heritage status has given us youths a renewed sense of interest in our hometown. More of us are going out to take pictures and just visit the places that were specially shortlisted by UNESCO to be restored.

Master Lee: The last joss-stick maker. Joss-sticks are incense sticks used for Buddhist prayers. Master Lee is the last person in the country to still do it by hand.

If you happen to be in Southeast Asia and are thinking of visiting Penang, do take an entire day (or two) to embark on this Heritage Trail. You’ll find something different every time. I’ve personally been on the trail three separate times and I have always found something new, whether it be a new concept cafe (we have a lot of these), a new heritage building or just an old craftsman working on his artwork. George Town, Penang is full of surprises.