A trip of a Lifetime
Amalfi Coast is a place I had been dreaming about for a few years. It was heavily featured in my Pinterest boards and I always found myself looking at pictures of it, completely starry eyed.
I had planned this trip to Europe months ago, before everything changed. Back when I was in a stable relationship with a guy I thought I was going to marry.
I remember the night before the trip… just having this crippling anxiety that I thought would swallow me whole. I didn’t want to go by myself. I was terrified. What if I got attacked? What if something bad happened? I cried a little… and then I told myself that nothing in my life was going to change if I stayed the same. That clicked for me. I was going because I knew I needed this adventure. Somehow, I knew even then… that this would be life changing.
I started my trip in Rome… I remembered the Italian guys being forward and charming, but being alone seemed to amplify it even more. It’s hard not to enjoy the attention when gorgeous Italian guys are practically throwing themselves at you. It, uh… definitely was a big stroke to my confidence. I did a great job of sticking to myself. Sightseeing at The Colosseum and The Forum. Spending a few hours in cafes, reading my book and writing in a journal. Ducking the attention of the very forward and very very charming Italian men who had some of the best pickup lines I’ve everrrr heard, best I could.
After a few days in Rome…I hopped on a train to make my way to the Amalfi Coast.
The train ride itself wasn’t too bad. But the Italian guys on the train were something else. Even with my headphones on, music blasting, and my nose in a book, it didn’t discourage them. I was particularly irritated with this one bold guy who had nonstop compliments for me. At first it was flattering, but after a few hours- I was just done. I wanted to get as far away from them as I could. They made my skin crawl.
When we got to Salerno I practically ran off the train and then did my best to not look lost while trying to find the ferry to Positano. Most of the other tourists were piling onto buses. I felt overwhelmed and nervous. I took a deep breath and followed my gut… going in the direction that I thought the ocean was in. Finally I found the marina and after a few false starts, found the right ferry.
There was an older gentleman who collected my ferry ticket before I boarded the ferry. He had salt and pepper hair, his hands were strong, and he was extremely handsome for his age. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was Davide’s dad. I greeted him in Italian and he smiled. Then he picked up my luggage and guided me onto the ferry. We had a small conversation. Then I settled myself into a bench next to the window while he went back to helping people. You’d never know that humble man was the captain of the boat and owner of the company.
I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and just looking for some peace at this point. I put my head phones in. I took a deep breath and sunk into my seat, closing my eyes and waiting until we took off.
One of the guys from the crew came over to double check my ticket and then started asking me questions about where I was from. He seemed nice enough, but I wasn’t feeling very social. I was sweaty and gross from dragging my luggage around cobblestone streets and I felt like my mind was miles away.
Less than a minute later a second crew member strolled up, asked the first guy if he could do something and then stayed to talk to me. “Sorry about him, it’s not often we have pretty American girls come onboard.”
I found myself feeling annoyed, I was so looking forward to my peace… but he started asking me questions about where I was headed and my trip.
I hadn’t even really looked up at him, when I finally did and he smiled at me, I realized how good looking he was. Butterflies went off in my stomach. He was tall, his smile was wide and contagious. He was the definition of tall, dark, and handsome. But there was something in his eyes that was so kind.
I felt an instant attraction to him. We ended up spending the whole hour and a half ride, talking. He sat down next to me and asked me about California. I asked him about Italy. He began pointing out landmarks along the way and we shared my AirPods and listened to my music together. We laughed a lot.
There was something very different about him from the start. He had this kindness about him that made me feel like I knew him. At the same time, there was this undeniable electricity in the air between us.
Something about him was so different from the other Italian men that had flirted with me. He asked me meaningful questions and it felt like his sparkling eyes pierced right through me, like they really saw me. Not to mention, he was really charming. He told me all about the hotel I was staying in and how awesome the owner was. He drew a map on this napkin to help guide me through the maze of stairs in Positano.
When Positano finally appeared on the horizon, he asked me if I’d like to get dinner with him tonight. He knew a great restaurant with a view that I needed to see.
“Sure” I said with a smile. We exchanged numbers.
He kissed my cheek and went to the back of the ferry with the rest of the crew.
As the crowd exited the ferry I grabbed my luggage. I could pick Davide out of the crowd. Our eyes met and he grinned. I felt butterflies. Then he disappeared. The older kind gentleman made a point to help me off the boat.
I looked around hoping to see Davide and wave bye. Suddenly he appeared behind me. “Hey!” He greeted me with a kiss on the cheek.
“I don’t want you to worry about your luggage. The stairs will be too steep for you.”
He waved a guy over and pointed to my luggage. They spoke in Italian for a minute, it sounded like they were arguing. They were talking so fast, I couldn’t even pick up a word. Finally the guy grabbed my luggage.
“How much do I owe him?” I asked.
“No. I took care of it. I told him your hotel. It’ll be there by the time you make it up the stairs. I have to go back to work. I’ll come pick you up tonight.”
He kissed me on the cheek and ran off to the ferry, that was already departing.
I stood there on the dock, as I watched the guy run away with my luggage. I sighed. “Well. I either got robbed by the cutest guy ever. Orrrr that was the sweetest thing ever.” I thought to myself. Either way, I wouldn’t know until I got to my hotel. Walking away I wasn’t entirely sure I’d see my luggage ever again… but what the hell… trust Monica. Trust.
Positano itself…. was breathtaking. Pictures didn’t do it justice. I literally got goosebumps as I walked up and stared up at the steep cliff stacked with Italian Villas.
I began to follow the rest of the crowd. I stopped for pizza and wine on the way. I hadn’t eaten all day, and the pizza practically melted in my mouth. Afterwards I took out Davide’s napkin map and began to navigate the maze of stairs.
Within minutes I was thankful he had a porter take my luggage. The stairs were steep and endless and without his clear landmarks on the napkin map, I was sure I would’ve been lost.
I climbed the endless maze of steep staircases, pausing to look at the view of the ocean that seemed to get even better with every step. There were painters everywhere. Painting the gorgeous view in front of me. I watched them trying to capture the beauty around every corner.
By the time I made it to my hotel, my legs felt like jello from all the stairs, and my luggage was magically waiting for me in the lobby. I worked out regularly, but even I was exhausted from those stairs.
I explored for a few hours- taking in all the sights and the quiet hustle and bustle of the city. Then I came back to the hotel to clean up for my dinner.
Davide showed up in the lobby promptly at 7:45pm as promised. As I navigated my way down the steep stairwell to the lobby he put his hand over his heart and said something in Italian- I couldn’t make it out entirely, but it was definitely a compliment. Then he kissed me on both cheeks and offered me his arm.
We walked to the restaurant as he expertly navigated the maze of streets. The restaurant we ate at had the most incredible view of the city. The city lights twinkling all around us. Of course the food was nothing short of amazing. We drank a lot of wine and laughed. He told me more about his childhood here in Italy. I told him all about growing up in California. Our childhoods couldn’t have been more different, but we still found things to bond over. We talked about the ocean. I told him how I always felt most at peace in the water, and was convinced as a child that I was a mermaid. He told me the legends of the mermaids from Positano. We shared some tiramisu, and it felt like straight out of a scene from Lady and the Tramp.
After dinner he guided me down the steep stair cases and we ended up sitting on the beach with some gelato. He was…. incredibly romantic. Telling me that I was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen.
His intensity made me nervous. I loved how genuine he was though. We ended up kissing and I just remember feeling breathless… and like my whole body was floating. He was just so… magnetic. I think what drew me in the most was his sincerity and his strength.
In the distance, some street musicians were playing some music. He pulled me into a slow dance on the beach. My heart was pounding. Soon after, things got pretty hot and heavy. I knew without a doubt that this was a summer fling, definitely not something I ever do. But whatever… this version of myself was going to the best yet and wasn’t going to have ANY regrets.
After the beach, he took me to a club called Music on the Rocks. It’s essentially this nightclub inside a cave. We danced the night away there. Laughing and drinking. Our first date was essentially food and dancing, two of my favorite things ever. We ended up having a great dance vibe together, playing off of each other well. That only made the electricity between us even more intense. I even met a few of his friends. When it was time to leave, as soon as we got outside he just instantly lifted me and insisted on carrying me home, up the steep stairs. I wrapped my arms around his neck and realized how much I already trusted him. How was it that I had only met him less than 24hrs ago?
Day 2 – The Best Day Ever
The next day, he dropped everything to take me on a personal tour of Capri Island on his boat. I was a bit nervous about spending all day alone with him on a boat… but I also really wanted to see Capri… and I’m not the biggest fan of doing the whole tourist thing, so it seemed like a good enough idea.
I’m not gonna write every detail… but that day was probably one of the best days of my life. We had each other laughing hysterically. It felt like we could talk for hours. Our chemistry from the start was just pure fireworks and we couldn’t get enough of each other. He took me to The Blue Grotto. One of the natural wonders of the world, and it was pure MAGIC.
Davide says he fell in love with me that day in Capri. For him the exact moment happened when he took me souvenir shopping. I didn’t have any pockets in my dress and the shop was out of bags, so I stuffed my bra with all the limoncello bottles I bought. I’ve asked him to pick another moment, but he refuses. The main thing I remember about that day, was smiling and laughing so much that my cheeks hurt.
We managed to make it back to Positano just as the sea started to get a bit stormy. We fell asleep at my hotel. Then woke up in time to make it to our dinner reservations. We cleaned up and got dressed up.
When we stepped outside…. we realized that is was pouring BUCKETS and BUCKETS of rain. I had never seen rain like that. We had one umbrella, but the wind was strong… and we watched as the wind broke every umbrella in sight.
We were still safe, in the hotel as we looked at each other and laughed. How are we going to do this? The way Positano is set up, there is one main road that runs above most of the city, but you can only access 80% of the city by foot. There was no escaping it, we’d have to brave the storm if we wanted to eat.
I was a little dressed up, but didn’t really care at this point, “Let’s just make a run for it!” I declared. He looked at me, grabbed my hand and together we ran, laughing.
Within 20 seconds we were both completely soaked, as if we had just jumped into a pool. It didn’t matter though. We laughed and danced in the rain. We ran past all the shops where tourists were packed inside, laughing and cheering at us dancing by- completely soaked. We waved back.
When we finally reached the shore, Davide had me jump on his back and he spun us around several times while I shrieked with laughter, before taking a steep uphill pathway along the cliffs. It was a really magical walk with the gorgeous views. It finally stopped pouring buckets and was more of a light drizzle.
When we finally arrived at our restaurant we took one look at each other and laughed hysterically. My cute dress was soaked all the way through, as was his shirt and slacks. I did a little curtsy and he did a mock bow, and we laughed harder. Then we took turns attempting to ring each other’s clothes out. I was just thankful I’m not into heavy makeup, otherwise I for sure would’ve had raccoon eyes.
Then we walked into the fancy restaurant where everyone turned and stared. We just smiled back. One of Davide’s friends owned the restaurant, he appeared and laughed, then gave Davide shit for making me a beautiful girl like me run through the rain. As we walked through the restaurant to our table, our shoes made sloshing noises from how soaked they were and we did our best not to break into a fit of laughter.
When Davide got up for a minute, his friend came and joined me at the table. We drank wine and chatted. He grilled me and I asked him a ton of questions about his restaurant. He ended up taking me on a private tour… into the kitchen and introduced me to the kitchen staff. My Italian is not good, but I somehow managed to pull it off. I got along great with the staff, and after that they kept bringing by different samples for us to try.
Later Davide told me that’s the night he knew he was going to marry me. The fact that I could make pouring rain fun. How even soaking wet, I could still make a good impression on one of his hardest to please friends while simultaneously managing to make his friend’s kitchen staff laugh.
At this point, I knew that I loved us together. If it has been any other date, it would’ve been weird. But this was us. It was the start of something beautiful. Where I laugh too hard and dance in the rain. Where I push him up against a wall and kiss him as hard as I can because I can’t wait a second longer and how I love how his eyes twinkle when he laughs. When we walked into a quiet fancy restaurant SOAKING and still managed pull it off together.
Day 3 – Run Away with Me
The next day, we woke up and the storm had passed, so we decided to spend all day at the beach club. He scored us one of the lounge chairs closer to the ocean. We ordered lemoncello’s and feasted on pizza all day.
I remember floating in the ocean, looking up at the Cliffs filled with gorgeous Italian villas…and pinching myself. How is this my life? How am I even here right now?? I felt like a different person. All the stress and pain from the previous months, were gone. Now, it was just me on this incredible trip, having the time of my life.
Davide was incredibly vocal about his feelings and romantic. Telling me I was the most incredible woman he’s ever met. As we laid out on our chairs, he’d steal my book and start reading to me. I felt drunk, not off the Lemoncellos… but on whatever this was.
He turned on his side and faced me, “I don’t want you to leave in a few days.”
I smiled back at him softly. I didn’t want to think about how I was leaving or how this was just going to be a summer fling.
“I was thinking that you should have a tourist guide in Venice. You can’t go to the most romantic city in the world by yourself. Men will mob you!”
He intertwined our fingers and kissed my hand.
“Let me come with you.” he declared.
“What?” I asked, confused.
“I want to come with you. I can take off work. If you get tired of me, I’ll just come back home. But I don’t think it’s safe for someone so beautiful to travel alone.” he said it all matter of fact.
I flashed back to the train ride from Rome to Salerno, and that was going to be my shortest train ride. He had a point. Also I was having fun with him, but isn’t that too soon? Too crazy? Letting a guy I just met join in on my big adventure? I knew he was a good guy. My heart started beating outside my chest.
I just remember the intensity in his eyes at that moment. The way he carrassed my cheek. I couldn’t believe I was actually considering this, Letting a strange man go with me to Venice. But that was the thing, he wasn’t a stranger. From the get go… my heart recognized something in him.
Finally I said, “Okay.”
He grinned and kissed me hard. We fell into a passionate kiss that left me breathless. When he pulled away he said, “Tonight… I’m taking you home to meet my family.” And that was how it all started.