We’ve had a few days of inactivity (Katherine: recovery!) after our last walk, and lots of rain and cold (and staying inside in the warm, all cosy!). We continually surprise ourselves with our sometime reluctance to do things that we have dreamed about for years. This time, it was walking along the Amalfi coast (Yeah, I know. Bring on the hate mail.). The thing is, our various projects are so engaging and we have so much passion for them that sometimes it’s hard to find balance! I suppose that’s a good way to be.
Still, we’d decided (after a little procrastination) that it was time to get out again. The forecast wasn’t letting up for several days ahead and we felt it wasn’t really worth waiting for the weather to clear first — we have good wet weather gear and warm layers. Plus, as Katherine said, it feels slightly superhuman to be out walking when it’s freezing and wet. We mock you, weather.
So, we headed out, all bundled up against the chill — I guess we got our winter after all! We were walking to Amalfi, then we planned to climb the path from Amalfi to visit the town of Ravello.
The weather held off beautifully for us, and we were soon removing layers. Needless to say, there were some great views over the coast. Unfortunately, we had only gone about twenty minutes before our cryptic “Ital-grish” walk directions we had on paper were entirely indecipherable. Google Translate is probably to blame for that one, it just can’t cope with Italian-English.
Faced with a choice of steps going town or a path leading up and around the cliffs, with Amalfi a fair way off still, we took the path, which quite quickly turned into a little trail, then little more than an animal track. Not to worry though, we knew where we were headed and soon enough we discovered some stairs leading down past walled groves of lemon trees, tucked away under black shadecloth.
The stairway become increasingly twisted, passing by doors through which wafted tantalising lunch aromas, and a wall with, written in texta, “We thought we would die, lugging our 25kg suitcases up, but then we realised we’d already be halfway to heaven ♥”. We met the road and spent a little time wandering back and forth trying to figure out where to go next, probably looking quite silly to the man sitting by his truck selling vegetables by the road. We got a little way down the windy main road, then we both, separately, nearly got squished against the rail by a truck, and decided that there was no way we were making it down there. So, back we went along a higher road that went through a tunnel and round the hillside.
Soon we saw the town sign, ‘Lone’, and recognised it from our directions! A little further and we saw a chapel which we thought might be the one mentioned in the directions, and headed back and down some more stairs towards it, greeting an excited and friendly Dalmatian who rushed up and down his side of the fence.
Katherine was happy to find some rich textures from flaking paint, and took lots of photos. Then, finding ourselves successfully back on track, we paused to admire the view, then set off on the final leg to Amalfi.
“There’s no way they’ll fit, just no..holy cr…nope, they’re fine. Piece of cake. Never a doubt in my mind.“
The path took us along the side of a cliff rising over the bay, and as we got closer, the left side became vertically-stacked apartments, white and pastel colours, with colourful doors, nestled into the cliffside.
We entered a cavelike warren of little paths leading up and down in all directions, sides of apartments making the canyon walls. It smelled like clean laundry.
A friendly local stopped by to recommended that we take a peek up some stairs at a very old part of the town — we thanked him and walked up to find an area that felt like being at the bottom of a well, a square of daylight at the top, surrounded by four ancient and peeling walls. The area put me in mind of some of the Ksars in Tunisia.
We emerged into a square, found a café and had a very well-deserved and delicious lunch (pizza with fresh tomato and rocket for me, lasagne for Katherine, then a very enjoyable cappuccino!). By this time, it was late afternoon, and there was no way we’d make it up to Ravello. We satisfied ourselves instead by just wandering Amalfi’s pretty streets, in the process discovering a magnificent church in the main piazza, heavily decorated with gold leaf.
We waited out the last few minutes before our bus back to San Lazzaro was due sitting on a bench on the pier, watching the last pink colours fade from the clouds.