Thinking back to our time in Scauri feels like I’m remembering scenes from my favourite Italian film. For those short four days we were living in a dream. What led us to this small forgotten dot on the map? Not much really, we saw an airbnb apartment in a tiny costal town within our price range and it seemed a good distance between Naples and Rome. These were our four final days in Europe before embarking on a new chapter, and what better way to spend it then completely off the grid in the Italian coastal town Scauri, soaking in the sunshine and swimming in the sea? Plus the description (written entirely in Italian, does it get more authentic than that?!) mentioned there were two bikes! We were sold.
Little did we know we were in for something even better than our wildest hopes.
The train ride weaved its way through green fields and mountainous terrain, after our short stay in Naples we were excited to be saying goodbye to the city life again and welcoming the quietness of the countryside. Agnese (our host) and her partner met us at the station and drove us to the house. It was such a warm gesture, they gave us a quick tour of the town and showed us the secluded beach right at the end of the street. My impression of the sleepy little town was that it was slightly deserted and especially peaceful. After briefly showing us the apartment, the two bikes in the courtyard and letting us know to pick and eat as many grapes from the vine as we would like (oh my gosh!), they left us to settle in and discover our new surroundings. The house was two levels and the bottom led to the grapevine covered courtyard. Upstairs there was a simple lounge/kitchen that Agnese had kindly stocked with sweet pastries, condiments, bread, eggs, cheese, deli meets, milk and juice! The lounge opened up to the balcony, with a washing line and spectacular views over the quaint town and mountains in the distance. The bedroom was cosy and welcoming, and the bathroom equip with a washing machine. It had everything we could ever need, it was perfect. With the windows open the breeze softly filtered through with the sweet smell of salt from the nearby ocean. My words just can’t do justice to how magical this place was. I’m not entirely sure my pictures can this time either.
The next three days we settled into a routine. Grab the bikes and ride down the quiet country road until we reached the secluded bay. Spend hours exploring, lying in the sunshine and soaking in the crystal waters to the sounds of waves breaking and wind blowing in the forest above. Ride back to the house with salty skin and sleepy bodies, pick huge handfuls of grapes (the most delicious I’ve ever eaten…) from the over flowing vine in the backyard and lie on the couch eating them with the soft breeze filtering through the window. An evening stroll into town to buy wholesome Italian ingredients, stopping to pat and talk to the neighbourhood bin cats. We cooked simple dinners of fresh pasta and stuffed our faces with pastries for dessert.
One evening we explored further into town. Stumbling upon locals eating ice cream on the main beach front, a market place closing up for the day, abandoned cottages crumbling in the evening sun and ripening olives growing road-side in abundance. It was both fruitful and slightly decaying, it was completely and utterly authentic, not a tourist-y thing in sight. I finally felt like I was living with the locals.
On our final evening it was bitter sweet. We were to travel to Rome the next day, where we would make our way to the airport and board a flight to Malaysia. Signalling the end of our time in Europe, the start of our Asian journey and ultimately the beginning of the end. In a sense, we knew travelling towards Asian meant we were on the way home. We didn’t have a date planned to land home exactly, but we would be on the other side of this Earth, a side much closer to where we started.
I set out that evening for a walk in the fresh air to clear my thoughts. I felt both sad, nervous and excited. I walked through the village, over hills and through fields until I found myself at the ocean. I slipped my feet in the cool waters, watched the waves crash to my knee’s and shed a few happy tears.
I was the strongest person I knew in that moment. I had never been more proud of myself. I had done what I had promised myself at sixteen, despite anxiety, despite money, despite many peoples judgement. Here we were experiencing life freely, honestly, simply, incredibly. Here we were nine months into the biggest thing we had done in our short but meaningful lives and we were about to close the door on one chapter and start an entirely new one. A new culture, country, climate. We had spent nine months in Europe, and they were the best nine months of my life. But we were ready for a new adventure, and with my feet in the ocean, I let go and said my final goodbye.