For the last 10 minutes of the taxi ride, I debate whether or not to stage a fight about the fare. I decide not to, for the sake of my blood pressure. We aren’t the last tourists to get ripped off by Italian taxi drivers. It turns out to be the only mistake we make on an epic day.
The trail starts high in the mountains behind the church of a small town called Bomerano, two thousand feet above sea-level. Our destination is Positano, the not-so-little-anymore town on the Amalfi coast that is probably it’s most popular tourist destination. Along the way we cross several peaks and gorges, winding west until we hit tiny Nocello, where we descend over 1700 stairs to the beach of the Mediterranean.
The first section is steep above the water and the topography is wild. Up and down it’s nearly vertical in parts. Often the trail is only a few feet wide with a sheer drop off 500 feet to the next tiny ridge. East and West the mountains of the Amalfi coast wind in and out, making numerous valleys that all have little stream and waterfalls.
Up the high sides, the Italians have terraced lemon groves and grape vineyards. Houses are built on what little flat land there is, and the walking paths twist and turn with the contours of the cliffs.
An hour later, at the second pass, we can see Positano off in the distance. It looks deceptively close. We are barely halfway but it looks like we it’s just in front of us a short distance. Far below, we can see the long ‘V’ of the ferryboat we will eventually take back to Amalfi as it skirts the coast. But the only sound up here is the wind and a few birds.
Lunch tastes amazing after two hours of hiking. Even Emma comments on how good her plain bread tastes. (She’s always picky, but she doesn’t complain even when she only gets bread.) Trish and I pose for some pictures – it’s too beautiful to leave without some good shots of ourselves so high up above the Amalfi coast. Trish, perhaps a little oxygen-deprived, thinks the Pringles are so good that they deserve their own portrait as “the food of the gods.”
In our third hour, we begin a slow descent. The scrub turns to shady woods with thousands of newly sprouted ferns, still uncoiling from fiddleheads. En masse, they look like alien lifeforms, and Lily is creeped-out to walk among them.
1700 steps is fun, amazing and damn hard on our calves and quadriceps after a four hour mountain hike. More than once Lily gets moving too fast and takes a small tumble. Down is better than going up but our legs quiver by time we hit the last step.
Positano is crowded. We stop in a touristy café for some coffee and gelato. Everyone needs the break and we don’t really care that the service is terrible. On rubber legs, we shuffle past art galleries around corners until the alleys of Positano open up to the beach. We break into a run and catch the ferry just before it leaves! The ride back in windy and cold, but we see the whole route we just walked high above us.
We eat dinner in a daze. Everyone is thrilled at our day. The hike was exhilarating. But exhaustion has us in its grip. We can barely finish dinner, eat some gelato and pile into bed before we fall asleep. We found the exotic in Italy, high above the Amalfi coast on the Sentiero Deigli Dei. We won’t forget it.