“June is bustin’ out all over!” So goes the refrain of the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s tune from the Broadway musical Carousel. For weddings, Father’s Day, high school graduations, and now the annual celebration of emancipation from slavery, June brings the most beautiful weather of the year.
Crew members secure the ferry to Amalfi’s dock and lower the gangplank. I disembark, along with my tour companions, after the 45-minute sail from the town of Positano along Southern Italy’s acclaimed Amalfi Coast. We pass the queue of tourists and locals eager to board the boat and grab our now empty seats for the continued trip farther down the coast to Salerno and beyond.
One of three rocks off the Isle of Capri in the Bay of Naples, the trio are faraglioni, or sea stacks, coastal and oceanic formations eroded over centuries by wind and water. Waves bored a giant hole through the center of mezzo, large enough so that modest-sized pleasure crafts can sail through safely.
I get up early and leave the casa particular (a Cuban version of Air B&B) in Santiago de Cuba on the island’s east end to sit in the Parque Cespedes to write in my journal. The bright sun already begins to heat up the humid mid-summer air. In a short while, three of us will embark on a weeklong cross-country road trip to Havana with our hired driver Umberto at the wheel in his late model Toyota.
This city kid has never been a fan of traditional shopping malls. I like open streets lined with stores where I enter a different environment as I step through a shop’s door. A mall’s artificial atmosphere is a fake experience.
After an eye-opening visit to the incredibly preserved ruins of Pompeii in southern Italy’s Campania region, we decide to climb that city’s destroyer five miles away, Mount Vesuvius. A popular activity for tourists and locals alike, hundreds of climbers make the trek daily to peer into the volcano’s caldera.
Every year I make a calendar with my favorite photos from a recent trip, and 2022’s subject is Southern Italy–the Amalfi Coast, City of Naples, Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. January features the church dome and spire of the town of Vico Equense’s Chiesa dei Santi Ciro e Giovanni.
Standing in the narrow hallway of Lupanar Grande, Pompeii’s once “official” brothel, I feel as if I’m witnessing a 2000-year-old conversation.