After 5 nights in Napoli, I travelled on to the Amalfi coast to spend three nights here. I was worried about the bus from Napoli to Amalfi but actually it was easy, comfortable, cheap and totally fine. I'm staying in B&B with fabulous sea view on the edge of a small town called San Lazzaro, the region of Agerola. This area is famous for its scenery and hiking trails and my accommodation really helpfully lent me a set of hiking trail maps- they were the most useful thing ever! I discovered that one trail started right by my B&B so my first afternoon I went for a hike along that one from Tuoro to Bomerano. It was along a dirt track / rocks along two sides of a rocky gorge. Lizards skittered out of my way through dried leaves on the path, not going far only to sun themselves on the yellow rocks either side. A "warning rockfalls" sign made me look up to massive overhang that combined with giant boulders scattered across and either side of the path, made me feel a bit nervous! I had sort of planned to hike to Bomerano but unfortunately the trail description advised me to take a road that I could not locate so in the end I turned back at the village of Furore.
Saturday was memorable. I got the 8am bus to Bomerano to walk the famous Sentiero degli Dei or "pathway of the gods", a track that runs from there along the coast to from Bomerano to Nocelle and on to Positano. The going was good at first, beautiful sunshine and spectacular views, a couple of rain showers during which I stood under trees, alternately taking shelter then walking a bit further to the next tree, a few rumbles of thunder but I wasn't worried as the forecast had predicted only fine weather.
How wrong it was! As I stood sheltering under a small tree growing right next to two others just off the side of the gorge next to the path, a moderate shower became a heavier one, then heavier, then torrential and went on and on until it was like a sheet of water falling out of the sky on top of me, there was next to no visibility, the bottom of the gorge was lost in mist & the sheets of water falling on all sides obliterated everything. The tree I stood under no longer provided shelter and I was quickly wet through but I was very glad of the tree when the winds increased, because I was up high on the side of a rocky gorge with a sheer drop beside me and very little shelter, I held on to the tree for some kind of stability. I felt completely alone and so vulnerable to the elements, I thought it could actually happen that I would die up there, probably nobody would miss me for a few days. I had seen other people walking on the trail and presumably they were also out there somewhere getting equally wet but but I couldn't see or hear anybody so I might as well have been alone. A few hikers hiked past me in the deluge, which I though was foolish- it was so high up and exposed, with zero visibility and high winds and slippery underfoot from all the rain it would be easy to miss a step. I was not tempted to join them, felt safer staying put.
Eventually the rain slowed then stopped and I was able to move. Every single thing I owned and was wearing was saturated, from my knickers to my trainers to the contents of my backpack. Luckily I had managed to get my phone and watch into the plastic A5 folder that I carry my passport and travel documents in and my iPad was inside a case that protected it; all of them were wet but thankfully working. Soaking wet, I was now so cold my teeth were chattering so I strode off as soon as the rain eased, hoping to warm up as I was moving. The sun came out eventually and I was able to finish the walk, exchanging wry looks and exclamations with other hikers that had clearly been caught out in it too.
The walk was stunning, views out along the coast with the cloud-capped mountains and Italian houses clinging to the sides, down to the glittering blue sea cross-crossed by the wakes of boats. Unfortunately my enduring memory is of clinging to that tree in the downpour and wind and I didn't take many photos because I was so cold and wet all I could think about was getting to Positano, but I hope I can remember some of the views too.
I accidentally took the way at the end that involved 1,700 steps down (ow my knees) then arrived in Positano around midday. Positano has a reputation for being beautiful, upmarket, stylish etc. It's a very sought after destination. To be honest, I hated it. I'm sure the town was lovely but it was SO BUSY literally seething with tourists shuffling along alleys and streets of shops selling very expensive things. I couldn't bear it. I walked down to the harbour and beach to see if they were any better. They weren't, so I got the next bus out to Amalfi. The SITA bus ride from Positano to Amalfi was also memorable! Literally a series of hairpin bends along the sides of the mountains, swinging out over sheer drops down the cliffs just beside the road. Bus drivers honk at bends to warn drivers to get out of the way as in many places roads are not wide enough for both a car and a bus.
I was worried Amalfi would be as bad as Positano but it wasn't, quite. The streets of shops and gelaterie were packed but I quickly got away from the crowds by climbing up a long flight of stairs to be rewarded by a blissfully tourist-free area with fantastic views over the town and bay and back inland to the mountains so I stayed up there in peace away from the hoards of tourists until it was time for my mad hairpin bend bus back to San Lazzaro.