It was very beautiful and very windy

that turned out to be the hardest part of the hike back

I was really surprised that we got back faster than when we left b/c I am a notoriously slow uphill walker.

They said this storm was the biggest they'd seen, but being from the midwest we were used to big storms like this, but it was still very heavy

They thought we were in college and were surprised that we were in our 30's and had kids.

Al was crazy trying to get a view in this Monsoon

Italy II: Sorrento and Rome

Rest Day Means Arduous Hike

Sunday I refused to budge from the hotel all morning. After breakfast we sat by the pool the entire day, and even though the water was probably only in the mid-60s, we enjoyed it, dammit. So what if there were only two other people in the pool. At least the waiter came around with drinks and peanuts. Ahh vacation...

But there must be balance in the world, and since we had relaxed so much in the morning the universe must be set right. So we roused Sal the angry coughing car and drove westward around the coastline to the city of Termini, on the southwestern tip of the peninsula (or the start of the Amalfi coast). I read that there was some nice hiking around here in the cliffs and down to the water, so I actually suggested this hike... much to my chagrin later on.

Hiking down from Termini
The first order of business was to park Sal, but Termini seemed busy this Sunday afternoon, and there were just a couple blue-lined spaces left. We were unable to decipher the Italian describing the sign and were about to say "the hell with it" and start our hike, when a gentlemen came over and explained that we need to pay for the spot..but he wasn't sure where. He motioned over to a nearby tavern. I enquired as to wether or not the bartendress spoke English, and she was all like, Hell No, and I was all like "what about the parking?" and she was all, "Tobacci!" and pointing to the tobacco shop next door. The one that was closed for the afternoon. Sighing, not wanted Sal to get towed away, we drove around town, finally parking behind a car that was parked under what I am SURE was a no parking sign, but he was parked there, it was Sunday afternoon, and the sun was going down, so it was time to get this hike underway.

Getting rougher now... and steeper
Termini was at the top of the cliff/hill, so of course the hike down was not too bad, except on the knees. The hike started in the center of town, and gradually the houses got futher and further apart, and soon we were in olive groves, and further on we are gazing out at Capri, heading down down down towards the sea. But the further we went without reaching the end, the more our sense of dread grew, as we knew that there was only one way back: up! Our paved road gave way to a gravel road. The gravel road became steeper and soon consisted of uneven rock. After each turn we expect to see the end, and are disappointed. Taking a break, we see two guys coming up the trail, obviously exhausted and sweating profusely. However, they do, indeed, speak English and tell us it took them 20 minutes to get to this point from the end of the trail, and it'll probably take us 10 to get down there.

Ancient Fortress with Wife
We're not really ones to turn back even though the way seems futile (see Paestum, Acrocorinth, Rome (ah ha! Foreshadowing!), etc..) so we press on and this time their estimate is spot on (unlike the Cinque Terre). An old fort build to defend against the Saracens,was explored, and then we rested and prepared... we drank some water and ate some yogurt snacks and figured that it took us an hour and a half to get down here... so we have at least three hours to go. It was 4pm, the light was starting to fade, and we had no idea if Sal the angry coughing car was still there, or had been towed away. We were down here, and Sal was up there, and with a 1..2..3 we were off.

The Bonneys were focused on that return hike, friends. We pushed it to the limit, and found that we made it back to spot where we met the other hikers in just 15 minutes. We were totally spent, though, so more provisions were consumed and the wife was rested. Off we set again, and even though the hike up was one of the harder ones we have done in our life, the fear of getting caught out here at night, along with my fear that we'd be just minutes late and see Sal being towed away drove us onward. And holy crap we made it out of there in just over an hour! And we even caught up to a young German couple that had been far ahead of us. And holy crap there was Sal, right in his space, now all alone as the other car had gone. Yeah baby!

That night after freshing up at the hotel we dragged our weary feet into town looking for a nice outdoor spot to have dinner. It started to drizzle a bit, but the place we picked had a nice canopy. It was nice until the monsoon started, and the rain started attacking those of us at the rear of the canopied section. The manager asked if we wanted to go inside, but it was still warm and no one else was moving, so he moved us to a table in the middle next to another young couple.

We actually got a free show out of the deal as we watched the waiters dart in and out of the restaurant with food, trying not to get it wet as they delivered it. When new patrons was come and request to sit outside with us, the owner and waiters would beg them to come inside the restaurant, but the tourists would have none of it.

After joking with our table mates about the rain a bit we started to actually converse and found out they were from Ireland. They were staying in Priano on the Amalfi coast and had taken the train to Sorrento to catch a football (soccer for you cads) match on TV that they couldn't get in the much smaller Priano. They talked about how Ireland was great to visit!...but dreary and not really that interesting, and the more they talked the more you could tell that they were very happy to not be in Ireland right now. When asked where I was from, I stated Green glossy stares...until I mentioned Brett Favre's old team, and oh yes, the Irish guy had heard of him! The guys that kept retiring! Yes, indeed.

I dragged Lin-Wei down to the harbor to gaze at the bay in the rain, but she was freezing so our gazing was brief. Tomorrow: Our grand tour of the Amalfi Coast by Car, as violently opposed by Rick Steves!

An Extended Tour of the Entire Amalfi Coast!

Copyright (c) The Sticklers 2009