Friday, March 16, 2012

A Walk with the Gods

03/14, Wednesday
There is a train strike today from 9:00 to 13:00. It seems strange to limit the strike to 4 hours, allowing people to get to work in the morning and to get home for "pauza" (lunch and rest) and back to work in the afternoon. Oh well, that's the Italian way. Isn't that really civilized ?

Another bus ride in the hills and down the coast as far as Positano, about an hour. Susan Crawford emailed us about a hike way above the coastal rode, called "A Walk with the Gods" that she and Robert had taken some time in the past. Without Sergio to advise us, we took Susan's suggestion, which turned out to be a grand suggestion. The day couldn't have been better weather wise. It was sunny, clear and a perfect temperature.

To reach the starting point required another spectacular 30 minute bus ride to Nocelle, all up hill. Had a bit of time before the bus so we did a few hundred steps to view Positano, which is very picturesque. When leaving the
the bus, we met a British couple, Harriet and James, who looked like experienced hikers (they had walking poles and sun hats), and they had a map (a critical item). We became fast friends and hiked the entire distance (3- 1/2 hours, 7 km) with them. It was truly a walk to remember - just marvelous. Calling it a walk with the gods is right on. We really felt exhilarated and tired at the same time. What a great day !

The hike itself was a little challenging with lots of steep ups and downs, loose rocks, and enthralling views. We met only a few other hikers headed the opposite direction, one good-sized group of Germans. A few terraced farms, several abandoned dwellings, marvelous crocuses and the beautiful water were always in sight.

More interesting, about 2/3s the way we met a large herd of mountain goats and the goatherder.Lots of munching and bleating. Unbelievable how these goats maneuver the steep terrain. They were so cute and came quite close to us. They were all tagged, lots of different coloring and all with bells. They followed the herder which was something to watch. Also, we encountered an old farmer with his horse Jimmy, carrying a load of wood. He was very excited for us to take pictures. They followed us the remainder of the way to Bomerano, the end point of the hike, at an altitude of 650 m, about 2,000 feet. I think the farmer thought these old people needed help.

While waiting for the bus down to Amalfi , I met a couple, Judy and Steve, from Northfield, MN, where I went to college in the 60s. Steve manages the municipal liquor store there, still the only place in town where you can buy off-sale beer, wine, and liquor. We had fun talking about Northfield, and my school day memories of drinking at the muni. The small world syndrome again.

One more bus ride back to Sorrento at night, another 1-1/2 hours. A total of 4 + bus hours and 3-1/2 hike hours. It was a great day...exercise, reassurance that we can still do some serious hiking, met two nice couples, and we "walked with the gods".

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