After a couple of months hiatus from this blog, I’ve taken things international. For a milestone birthday (not mine), we headed off to gorgeous Sorrento for some much needed R&R. And what better way to relax than to head up to what is claimed to be one of the best/steepest hiking trails in the world? No, the irony is not lost on me, but ‘when in Rome’ and all that.
Despite having travelled a decent amount, I freely admit that I am a useless traveller. I get car sick, sea sick, my ears block on planes and I have the sense of direction of a blind donkey. But I don’t like this to stop me getting about – what’s the point of saying ‘when in Rome’ if you can’t get there in the first place?
We had already taken the bus from Naples airport to Sorrento, so I knew that the coastal road to Amalfi was not going to be a straight line. What I was not prepared for, however, was a packed coach filled with locals and tourists all on their way to the same place. I stood the whole two hours wedged between an American family of three and a German couple, while Ross clung on to the sliding door barrier which sprung open at every stop and threatened to take out his knees.
The bus driver hammered the horn with every hairpin bend to make our presence known to the mopeds, Fiat 500’s and completely bonkers cyclists coming in the opposite direction.
As we took every turn, all I remember thinking was: ‘This is the most beautiful coast line and scenery I have ever seen – and I’m going to be sick at any minute.’
By some miracle, I wasn’t. And when we arrived in Amalfi I wanted to kiss the ground and not think about my return journey later that day.
Alas, the start of our hike did not begin in Amalfi but was another 40-minute bus journey inland to Agerola – I can now admit that this news went straight to the solar plexus.
Once we had recovered with some peppermint tea and a wander around the small but stunning Amalfi, we were ready to wait for the next bus.
And wait we did. Italians have a relaxed attitude towards timetables, schedules and actually running the desired mode of transport at all. The bus didn’t show up and nor did the next one. By now, around 60 tourists clearly wanting to embark on this same walk were hot, cranky and trying not to snap at the chilled out bus operators. Thankfully, we clocked some Americans hot footing it to a taxi in exasperation and jumped on that wagon as soon as we realised they had space for two more. The luxury of being able to sit up front with the window open was a true life saver.
A mere five and a half hours after we had started this trip, we got to the starting point in Agerola.
The Path of the Gods took us along magnificent trails from beginning to end and the past journey was soon forgotten. This is not a walk for anyone who suffers from vertigo as the trails ascended high in to the mountains and along edges displaying vast views of the Amalfi Coast and Capri. My words do not really do it justice and even my photos do not give the whole picture of how stunning it was. We had to stop to take it all in regularly or it would have been easy to lose our footing on the steep rocky paths.
Along the three hours of hiking, the scenery transitioned from hills with goats roaming around with bells on their necks, to the more classic Italian views taken straight from a James Bond film. Enough of my ramblings… here are the photos.
Our descent from the walk involved a 1,500 flight of steep steps down in to the village of Positano. The knees and ankles did not appreciate this as I jelly-legged my way down the last of the cobbled streets.
We thought we had an hour to wait for the bus journey back to Sorrento and so I wandered at a more leisurely pace and stopped to chat to a pair of handsome Italian cats having a snooze. ‘Ciao Bella’, I spoke to them, looking like a true maniac tourist who had just been on an eight-hour day trip, slightly sun burnt and definitely dehydrated.
‘AMY!!! There’s a bus!!! HURRY UP!!’, Ross bellowed from the bottom of the street in which he had gone ahead and discovered an earlier coach going straight to our destination – no wait necessary. I was jolted away from my new feline friends and (ankles quivering) trotted down as fast as I could to jump on this bus to sweep me back to Sorrento.
It was packed again and I stood between some more German tourists at the front of the bus trying not to let my legs buckle below me. Mercifully, this was a shorter journey lasting only an hour since we had walked half of the way back along the trails. More prepared this time for the twists and bends, I focused stoically on the horizon, abs braced and fought to keep all nauseous thoughts away.
Practically falling out of the bus in Sorrento, I had to give myself a good hour back at the hotel to settle my stomach and sooth my ankles. But when I looked back on the photos and remembered the stunning views from the top of those mountains and laughed at the thought of being a travel sick sardine trying to keep my breakfast down as the doors swung open and whacked Ross on the legs for the 8th time – I wouldn’t change it – it was an adventure to remember.
For more information and handy tips on this trail and the surrounding area I recommend the following website: www.positano.com/en/e/il-sentiero-degli-dei